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A True and Impartial Account of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words of the Four Malefactors who were executed at Kennington-Common


Printer / Publisher: J. Nicholson 
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No Pages: 16
A True and Impartial Account of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words of the Four Malefactors who were executed at Kennington-Common page 1
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A True and Impartial Account of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words of the Four Malefactors who were executed at Kennington-Common

Date of Article: 01/09/1751
Printer / Publisher: J. Nicholson 
Address: in the Old Baily
Volume Number:     Issue Number: 
No Pages: 16
Sourced from Dealer? No
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A TRUE and IMPARTIAL ACCOUNT OF THE Behaviour9 Confession, and Dying Words OF THEFOUR MALEFACTORS Who were executed at KENNINGTON- COM- MON, on Friday\ September 6, 1751. Published with the Approbation and Consent of the Reverend LEONARD HOWARD, D. D. Rector of St. George the Martyr, in Southwark, who attended them whilst under Sentence of Death, and in their last Moments. 1 II 17' -• L0ND0N: Printed by J. NICHOLSON, in the Old Baily ( Price Four Pence. ) it \ ( 1 ) An Account of the four Malefactors, & c. AT the King's Commission of the Peace, and General: Gaol- Delive- ry for the County of Surry, held at Kingstone- upon- Thames, in and or the said County, from Thursday the' 15th Day of August, to Thursday the 22d Day of the same Month 1751, nine Per- sons were convicted by the Jury of capi tal Crimes, and received Judgment of Death, viz. Henry Bryant, for a Highway Robbery ; Matthias Keys, for another Highway Rob- bery ; Thomas Jones and James Welch, or Murder; John Tonkin ( a Boy) for robbing Biss the Wife of Charles Alexan- der Esq; on the Highway, near Egham , Margaret Lennard, for privately stealing Money and Goods to a considerable Value in the Dwelling House of her Master ; William Gibson, for Felony ; William Dunning, for privately stealing; and David Simpson for Horse- stealing, received Judgment of Death. Henry Bryant, was born in the County of Clare in Ireland, had used the Sea above 20 Years, and in the late war, received, at one Time 560 Pounds and upwards, being Prize Money, for taking a Galleon, with which Money he let up a Publick House in Shoreditch, and gave it the Sign of the Ship to which he belonged, when the aforesaid Prize was taken- That he also was at Sea in several successful Privateers, that he served the King eleven Years, but he basely injured his honest Subjects after- wards by many Robberies and Burglaries. He would have been very particular, but I told him I thought a List of his Robbe- - ies not very material, except he could do my Good to his Country [ by any particu- ar Discovery. He owned himself the Ringleader and Chief in moft of the Robbe- ries and Villanies he committed, but that he had never shed any Man's Blood : Up- on the whole, he seemed a very stout, bold and enterprizing Fellow. He was always very serious, penitent, and much affected with my Prayers and exhortations,' but in private too apt to return to that Behaviour, which from his evil cast of Mind, and used many ludicrous Expressions, which, as I was inform'd of, I reproved him for. He mightily implored a Coffin, and to be buried in the Burying Ground of St_ George, but having no Friends nor Mo- ney for that Purpose, he fell into great Agonies, and Floods of Tears; upon my informing him, that his Desire should be complied with, he was very thankful, and almost transported with Joy. As he de- parted the Room to Execution, he very respectfully wish'd all present much Hap- piness, now and hereafter, and profess'd himself in Charity with the whole World. This Malefactor suffered for robbing Mr. William Bates in Battersea Fields, and was convicted on the Evidence of John Carr, an Accomplice. He had been a very dangerous and reso- lute Man, and was some short Time ago committed to the Poultry Compter for dangerously wounding a Watchman in White- chapel, in the Face with a. Knife, insomuch that his Life was in great Dan- ger, but the Man happily recovering, he , was released from Prison, and was obliged to pay twenty Pounds ; which he was very willing to do, having at that Time a great deal of Money. It is said this Malefactor has been ' 27 Times in the several Gaols of this City, and Suburbs thereof. THOMAS ^ 3 THOMAS JONES AND JAMES WELCH, late of the Parish of St. Mary Newington Butts, in the County of Surry, Labourers, were indicted for that they not having the Fear of God before their Eyes, but being moved and seduced by the Instigation of the Devil, on the 23d Day of July, in the 22d Year of his pre- sent Majesty's Reign, with Force and Arms, in the Parish aforesaid, and County afore- said, in and upon Sarah the Widow of John Green,, in the Peace of God, and our said Lord the King, then and there being, did feloniously, wilfully, and of their Malice afore- thought make an Assault:: And that they the said Thomas Jones and James Welch,. their Hands did thrust into the Body of the said Sarah Green, whereby she the said Sarah received several mortal Wounds and Bruises, of which she languishing liv'd from the said 23d Day of July aforesaid,, until the 13th Day of September following, and then died in the Parish of St. Thomas in Southwark, in great Agonies of the said Wounds and Bruises. So the Jurors for our Sovereign Lord the King say, that the said Thomas Jones and James Welch, the said Sarah Green, in Manner and Form aforesaid, did feloniously kill and murder,, against the King's Peace, his Crown, and Dignity, and the Form of the Statutes in. that Case made and provided.— They, both, pleaded Not Guilly and for their Trials put themselves on God and their County. The learned Council retain'd on the Part of the Crown, ( the Prosecution being carried on at the Expence of the Parish of St. Saviour, Southwark) set forth to the Court and Jury,, the Enormity of the Crime for which the Prisoners were indicted ; and the Evidence they had to produce against them ; and then call'd James Bush, a young Man a Cooper, who depos'd, that the latter End of Sep- tember last: he was invited by the Prisoner Welch, on a Sunday Morning to go to Mr. Stanley's, the Green Man on Kennington- ) Common, to buy some Chickens-, their Discourse turn'd upon unfortunate Per- sons dying wrongfully, particularly one John Roney ( an Irish Lad who was executed last September at Kennington - Common for robbing Mr. John Honeychurch in Deptford Road, for which Robbery the Brother of the said Roney and one Dobbins were hanged at the same Gallows in 1749, all denying the Robbery at the Gallows.) Welch began to swear a great Oath, and said Coleman died wrongfully, for that he himself, Nicholls and Jones were the Persons concerned in that Murder, for which he was innocent- ly hanged, saying, We had been at Sot's- hole drinking, and coming along Kennington- lane I met with a woman, and walked with her till we cam; to the Parson's- walk, New- ington- church- yard ; there Nichols was con- cerned with her Thomas Jones was con- cerned with her afterwards then I went to lie with her and she was all over nothing but blood, the tail of my fhirt was all bloody and I was obliged to wash it, fearing my mother should know any thing of the matter. ( He shewed me the trees betwixt which they lay with the woman.) What makes me think this was the woman which Coleman suffered for is, she said after this there were two brewer's servants along with Coleman, because I believe she took me for Coleman. Q Did he he tell the hour this happen'd ? Bush. He did not, my lord he said,- Jones and Nichols had two white aprons on like brewer's servants. Q from Welch. Ask him, my lord, how many there were in company when I asked him to go out at the Green Man. Bush. There were three or four Persons at the door. We were drinking in the porch with him and another man, one- Wilkerson. I cannot say there was any body in the house ; Stanley was standing under the porch, that is the master of the house. Wilkerson was very much fuddled. - Were ( Q, Were any of them near enough to hear this discourse ? Bush. Stanley was near enough to hear the talk about Roney, but he was not nigh enough when he told me about Coleman ; we were out of the porch then. Welch. I never was out of the porch with him in my life. Thomas Bush, the last witness is my son. I know the prisoners. My son used to keep company with them, and was intimate with them. I never was. I came from Graves- end, and landed at Billingsgate, I don't justly know the time. Coming over London bridge I met my son, he asked me to drink, I said I - did not chuse it, but if he would drink I would treat him with a pint: he said, father, I have not been well, and I am afraid I shall die. I have something to disclose to you, say- ing, Coleman was hanged wrongfully. I was very uneasy, and wanted to know who it was that committed the murder : he told me Nichols and the two prisoners did the fact. I went to the Golden Anchor on Margaret's hill, and called for a tankard of beer, there I saw Jones walking under the piazzas. I beckoned to him, he would not come, then my son went to the door and called him, and he came over. He asked me what I wanted, I told him my son had told me such a terrible thing that it frightened me, which was, that he, Nichols and Welch were concerned in the murder of Sarah Green. He was all of a trembling, and said, what signifies it the man is hanged, and the woman is dead and no body- can hurt us. Q Did he use the word me or us ? Bush. He used the word us. Then he said, we were concerned with a woman, but who can tell that was the woman Coleman died for. After this he always threatened me very hard, saying, he'd have me in a goal. He went to get a note that one Mrs. Arthur had, to arrest me for 40 s. and said, Sopp should serve it on me for scandalizing his son- in- law, James Nichols, who is the chief , witness on this account. 36 ) from Jones. What beer did we drink there ? Bush. We had a full pot. James Nichols. I know Sarah Green be- fore this, and had been in her company, but did not know, her name. The Prisoner and I went to Sot's Hole together a drinking the 23d of July, I had been intimate with them. Af- ter we had three or four pots of ale we came out, intending to come home, I believe I walk'd about twenty yards before them and met a wo- man I ask'd her whether she would please to go and drink, she said she did not care to drink here, but if I would go with her as far as the King's Head she would treat me with a pot of beer. I went, I knew her well by sight. When she came into the House she called for a - pint of beer ; we sat down and drank it Welch and Jones came in and call'd for a quartern of gin, they drank it and went out of the door, and bid me a good night. I saw n0 more of them till I came into Newington church walk ; then the pri- foners came up to me. Q How long did you stay at that ale- house ? Nichols. I believe we staid there about a quarter of an hour. Q. Did she know you ? Nichols. She had known me very welL The Prisoners took her away from me by main force, as she had hold on my arm ; Welch threw her down directly, Jones took hold of her legs and dragg'd her along. I called out and said, for shame, don't go to use the wo- man ill. Said Welch d— n your eyes, what is it to you ? Said /, what are you going to murder the woman ? d— n your eyes you have had to do with her, and I'll have to do with her; no said I, I have not had to do with her, neither fhall you if I can help it. He answer', di d— n your eyes, if you go to med- dle with her, or touch e'er a one of us, I'll stick you. After Welch said this, Jones faid so. I went about 20 yards, and saw Welch He down to her, and thrust his hand up her Coats and I saw his hand and wristband all all bloody she cry'd out O lord, dont use me so barbarous! stick me! kill me! After that, I faW Jones lie down to her, but I did not see him meddle with her in the manner the other did ; he got up and came to me I ask'd them whether they were not asham'd of themselves ? they said, d— n your eyes, if you have a mind to go and have to do with her you may.\ but we have spoil'd her for you ; I'll answer for it she can't follow us. No, said I you have done her too much da- mage so I said a good night to youi and went home to bed. What time was this ? Nichols. It was between 11 and 12 o'clock ; the moon was in a cloud. from Welch. What time did we set out from Sot's hole-? Nichols. We went about six or seven o'clock for Sot's hole ; they came into How- ard's about five or six minutes after we were in; this was about half an hour after ten. What day of the week was the 23d of July? Nichols. It was on a Saturday ; there was a bean feast at Mr. Howard's that night; it is three years ago last July. Did you know Richard Coleman ? Nichols, I did. Was he there with you ? Nichols. No, he was not. Was he at Howard's with you ? Nichols. No he was not. Q Did Sarah Green know you by name ? Nichols. Yes, she did. Q Did she know Coleman ? Nichols. I don't know that she did. Welch. Ask him what month July is next to, for he is so ignorant he can't tell. How long was this after midsummer ? Nichols. I don't know when midsummer is. How came you to remember this was the 23d of July ? ) Nichols. I remember it by the bean feast: She said she was going there after her master ; she told me she liv'd in Bandy leg walk. Samuel Pearce. I am apothecary to St. Thomas's hospital; I remember Sarah Green's coming into the Hospital the 4th of August 1748 ; I inspected her private parts ; the lips of her body. were very much lacerated swelled and inflamed, and discharged a fetid matter: she was in a very weak condition, having been ill many days, and had a fever in consequence of these wounds; she was weak also as to her mind. Q. What did you imagine this came from ? Pierce. I imagined it came from some vio- lent usage of these parts : they appeared to' to me as if they had been torn by hands, or by some weapon. She died the 19th of Sep- tember, and I always believed it was by that ill treatment she had received, and she always declared she had been used ill by three men in Newington Churchyard, to which she con-' stantly laid her death ; she told me one of them walked with her, and two Ruffians rush'd on her in the Church- yard, and used her ill, and that the young man that used her civilly, was the Brewer's clerk, and the other two were dressed like brewer's servants. Q to Nichols. How were you all dressed ? Nichols. I was in my waistcoat, with a white apron on ; Jones was in a white apron, and a thin frock ; Welch in a light- coloured cloth coat, and no apron. Q to the apothecary. How was the wo- man for memory ? Pierce. She was not of sound mind and memory, so as to be depended upon ; I always thought her so in the general. Q. Was you there when Richard Cole- man was before her ? Pierce. I was; she said he was the young man that was civil to her, in company with two other men. Coleman said he was not there and knew nothing of the matter ; she described him as one wearing his own hair, ' but ( 6 ) but he then had a Wig on, standing before her she said she had often passed by the brew- house where he was clerk but did not pre- tend to have had any acquaintance with him before. to Nichols. Did you wear a wig at that time ? Nichols. I did. to the apothecary. Is there any resem- blance between Coleman and this evidence ? Pierce. No , he is very unlike Richard Coleman ; he is likewise taller than Coleman was. to Nichols. Did any of the prisoners wear their own hair then ? Nichols. Welch at that time did to the best of my knowledge. John Girle, Esq; I am a surgeon, and did belong to St. Thomas's hospital I remember Sarah Green's coming to the hospital the 4th of August. Mr. Pierce has already given an account of the condition she was in then, both the lips of her body rotted and came off and that, no doubt, was the Occasion of her death j how she came by that violence, I can't tell; it could not be by any use of her as a Woman ; neither could her disorder be that, of a Woman who had prostituted herself. Thomas Howard. I keep the King's head in Kennington- lane : I remember Sa- rah Green and her master Wynn. He is since dead] I remember Mrs. Green's being at my house the 23d of July ( 1748) we had three companies dined there that day. Sarah Green went home with an old man and some children belonging to some of the workmen, in the evening betwixt seven and eight o' clock, and return'd about ten. I never knew Coleman ' till he was appre- rehended; and I said then, when they came to me to see if I knew him, that I never * had seen him in my life to my knowledge ; I always said the three men were taller men than he, that were with her. There, was one man came in first with her, the other two came in afterwards ; I served them with a quartern of Gin myself I can't re- member what the first call'd for one of the men had a leather thong about his hat, they had on coarse Frocks and coarse A- prons, as brewers servants commonly wear: The first man that came with her went out of the house with her. Q. Was she fuddled when she went out of your house the last time ? Mr. Howard. I did not apprehend any thing of that, my Lord. Thomas Tyler. I knew Sarah Green ; I was at Mr. Howard's that time, the day of the month I don't know ; my ground faces his door. I came out of my ground with my gun in my hand,, and saw three men with Sarah Green, at the bench at the door ; this was about half an hour after ten,, and a dark rainy night. I cannot swear to the prisoners ; I knew Coleman after he was before Justice Clark ; the three men I saw were men taller than he was, Upon my oath he was not one of the men I saw with her that night. I went home with my gun lock under my coat to keep the rain, from it; one of the three men had a white thong about his hat, which was flapped. Nichols I had a thong in my. hat. WELCH'S DEFENCE. I always wore a dark brown coat, and have not worn my own hair these five years I lived at this Time with Mr. Marryot he is out of town, and I cannot tell where I was at this time.. JONES's DEFENCE.. The first Time I heard of this was at the Globe in St. Mary Overy's Church- yard j I saw Bush come in ; he said, how do. you do, Tom ? I want to speak with you. We then went to the door : He said, what do you think James Nicholls says ; he tells me, that you, he, and Welch, did the murder that Coleman died for, Said I, he can never say so to my face, then I said To- morrow I shall see him and I will bring him to you. I asked him where.' he lived and he told me. Nicholls came to me on the Monday morning, and said, let us go to ( 7 ) to Bush in Nightingale- lane. I went to him, and he denied he ever said such a word; I said he ought to be licked, he then catched up a thing, and said, if I offered to med- dle with him, he'd cleave me down. An- other time I was sitting on a Bag of Hops, when I saw young Bush over the way he called me, saying, he wanted to speak with me. I told him he had raised scandalous reports of me, says he, my father wants to speak with you. I went over for a Pint of Beer; his father said, my son has been telling me, that Welch told him, that you Welch, and Nichols, did the murder that Coleman died for ; said I, your son told me so before, and that James Nichols would be here presently, and shall hear what he says. Said he, I'll be d— d if I stay, for I'll go to Justice Clark ; he said if you can make any thing of the matter, there is a hundred and twenty pounds, besides the reward Richard Coleman's brothers will give, because of the scandal it has brought upon the family. I told him I should be a great rogue if I did. He said he would be in the city if you will come down to me, I'll be d d if I speak a word to any bo- dy about it. I then told him, I should be a rogue, and a fool indeed, to let my life lie in your hands. I went out and saw a stump handed fellow, and told him what Bush had said. He said, go to Mr. Ham- mond ; said I, I will trouble him ; he re- plyed, it was only suing a beggar and catch- ing a louse. Then I heard the Justice sat on the morrow ; I said I'd go and complain there : I went, and the bench was. over. I never was at Mr. Howard's House but once, and that was. at Peckham Fair time ; we drank a tankard of beer or two in an arbour there, Nichols swore he had a Lea- ther thong in his hat that night ; I am sure he had, not ; and they say I had, a white coarse frock on ; I have not worn a frock these eight years. to Nichols-. When did you discover this affair ? Nichols. I never discovered it to any bod ' till after they were taken up ; my father ha tax'd me with it many times, but I neve would tell it. Q. As you knew when Coleman was taken up for the fact, why did not you dis- cover it then, knowing he was innocent? Nichols. Because we always went, to school together, and they were continually threatning me, that if I did, they would do me a mis- chief; and they used to say, the woman is dead, and the man taken up, and no body can hurt us. Alice Thompson. I was examined before the Coroner : I was nurse in Anne's ward in the hospital : When Sarah Green came in, she was very much flush'd in her senses, always trembling, and betwixt whiles very delirious. She was in a such a condition, that I could not depend upon what she said , she said that after she was used so ill, that one of them went away, and said, d n you, come along, for I think you have used the bitch bad enough. Both Guilty. DEATH. AT the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, held in and for the Coun- ty of Surry at St. Margaret's Hill, South- wark, in January last: The Chairman and Justices assembled, with a charitable and humane Regard to the deplorable State of those whom the offended Laws of our Country have appointed to die, were pleased to make an Order of Court, whereby I was requested, as Minister of the Parish, to visit the unfortunate Persons under Sentence of Death in the New Gaol, Southwark. I took the first Opportunity of obeying their Commands, and at the same Time of com- plying with my own Inclinations to per- form so necessary and important a Part of my Ministerial Office. The great Reason I conceive why Criminals are allow,' d the Favour of, a little Time after Sentence, is, that ' they may endeavour to make their Peace Peace with God, and prepare for Eternity; if so, the Assistance of a Minister is ex- treamly requisite to inform such as are for the most part Ignorant and Illiterate, and to soften those Hearts which are often har- den'd by frequent Confinement, an aban- doned Life, and long Course of Vice and Immortality. The Sight of our Fellow Creatures, Men like wild and destructive Beasts, with Shackles and Fetters those Badges of Slavery in a free Country, and committing Crimes so atrocious as to de- serve Death in a Christian one tho' they have the just Reward of their Deeds, and much Severity is absolutely necessary for the Safety of the Community, yet to the tender Sentiments of Humanity, they are far from pleasing Objects; and to convince and bring such Wretches to a Sense of their Crimes, so as to acknowledge and repent of them, is an Office of great Labour and Fatigue; but it has its comfortable and joyous Reflexions! And where a Parish is so circumftanc'd as mine, with a County Goal placed in it, and such Cases often pre- ferring themselves, I can't help thinking it a- Duty incumbent on the Minister to com- miserate the Case of such unhappy Persons, and imploy the Abilities which God hath given him in assisting them ; and, who may be justly rank'd by their Confinement in his Parish, amongst the Souls within his cure. I shall therefore be regardless of any Censures on the Meaness of such an Office, thinking it not below any Degree or Dig- nity, or any ReCtor or Vicar soever of a Parish, to visit and do all the Good he can- to such Objects of Misery and Distress. One Thing indeed I cannot well come into, and avoided it after the former Execu- tion, which is the Publication of Dying Speeches, & V. thinking it of very little Service to take up the Time of Men,. and Trouble and lay a Sort of Tax upon the World, by acquainting them with the wicked and filthy Transactions of poor- profligate Wretches, whose Punishments are a sufficient Example to avoid them, and which to publish in their geunine and vulgar Deformity may be detrimental there are cant Terms made use of by those Wretches, and some Archnesses practis'd in their Villanies, which the Description of may make wrong Impressions on weak Minds. Temptations to Wickedness comes too foon, without such Helps and Infor- mations. People cannot be too long in an; innocent Ignorance, if I may so call it, of Lewdnefs and wicked Cunning. I shall perform my Office to such Malefactors whilft they live, to the best of my poor Capacity; but I am persuaded the Press will be seldom set by my Order for any of their Accounts, Speeches, Births, Pa- rentages, or Education. After what I have said, the Publication of these Sheets may appear somewhat strange and unaccount- able, but the Event is so very extraordinary that occasions it, and the World has been fo long desirous of Satisfaction, as to the Innocence or Guilt of Richard Coleman, who suffered for the Act of these inhuman Wretches, that I could not avoid this Op- portunity of clearing up a Matter so long doubtful, and which the Hand of Provi- dence has so wonderfully brought to Light, For the Information of such of the Readers of this Account as have not been acquainted with it. I shall premise, that one Sarah Green,. on Saturday the 23d of July,- 1748, was most barbarously and un- naturally treated and murdered by three Men, whereof this Richard Coleman ap- peared to be guilty, from the Circum- stances and Evidence then produced against him, and accordingly was convicted. and executed. But as an uncommon; Boldness and wanton Triumph in Iniquity very often follow a Commission of it ; so- it appeaed in these Criminals now executed, who thinking the Affair, long since past, and themselves in no Danger, disclosed, as it has been said, the villainous Transaction by which the Memory of Mr. Coleman received ( 9 ) received the Credit of Innocence, and these Malefactors were so disappointed as to be committed for the Offence ; Thomas Jones and James Welch, upon the Evidence of one of their Companions in that horrid Act, were convicted and received Sentence of Death. I, under their Sentence, have con- stantly attended them, but could not pre vail with them for some time to make any Confession, but they stood it out boldly, and persisted in their Innocence ; nay, one of them at first greatly insulted me; but as Death made its nearer and more shocking Approach, Conscience performed an Office which was not still in my Power, and fearing, to die with, a Lie in their Mouths, they at length, with great Open- ness, though with too little Concern, made their Confession in the following Man- ner ; and which I took in Writing from Thomas Jones who signed it before Wit- ness, and declared, upon his Hopes- of Mercy, the same to be true. He Thomas Jones confessed that upon a Saturday in the Afternoon, ( the Day and Year he could not exactly recollect) but at the Time as has been mentioned, N s s and James Welch came to him, then sit-, ting at St. Margaret's Hill, and asked him to take a Walk with them, that they went together to a Place called Sot's Hole, and coming back, between Sir Abraham Shard's and the White Hart in Kennington Lane, they met with a Woman in a Striped Cot- ton Gown, that Nicholls catched hold of her, and asked her to drink, upon which the Woman said she was going to the King's Head, there being a Bean Feast : That N s. wou'd go with her, and they ( Jones and Welch) followed him : They ( the Woman and Nicholls) had by them- selves some Beer, and Welch and Jones called for a Dram or Pint of Beer he ( Jones), could not recollect which; that then they came from the King's Head, behind N— s and the Woman, till they came to the Par- ton's Walk, near Newington Church, upon which Nicholls threw her down, and used her very rudely, then they ( Jones and Welch; came up, and then he ( Thomas Jones) attempted to lay with her, upon which Nicholls and Welch pull'd him away, and would not let him ; Then Welch at- tempted to lay with her, and then they all came away, and the Woman went away by herself. Jones, for his own Part, declared as a dying Man that he did not use her ill, otherwise than by attempting to lye With her, nor did he know of any Body's using her in the Manner as has been related, but that N s was the first Person that pul- led her about and used her rudely, but could not say he did it in the Manner as has been mentioned. He said they were all in Liquor, and he believed none of them had any Design to murder the Woman, and did not think of any such fatal Con- sequence as hath happened. That he ( Tho- mas Jones) never knew Coleman and did aver and declare, that Coleman was not. with them in that Affair. Upon the best of his ( Jones's) Memory, Nicholls cal- led himself COLEMAN, and altered, his own Name before they went with the Woman, that is their first Meeting with, the Woman, he ( N s) said to them ( Jones and Welch) call me by the Name of COLEMAN. The Woman, after it was. over, went by herself towards London, and Nicholls, Jones and Welch cross'd the . Fields to Walworth,, into a Barn to other loose Women, and they continued all together ' till Morning.-— This is all he then own'd of the whole. Affair, as he was a dying Man, and hoped for Mercy from his Saviour, Jesus Christ. Witness my Hand this 2d Day of Sep- tember, 1751. THOMAS JONES. Upon my desiring him to recollect him- self, and if any thing further occur'd to his Memory to let me know it, he gave me a Letter afterwards which varied a little in some Expressions and Circumstances, and is as follows ; SIR, ( " 0 ) SIR ON Saturday Evening, as I sat at St. Margaret's Hill, N s and James Welch came to me, and asked me if we . should go and take a Walk, on which I went - with them to Sot's Hole coming back from Sot's Hole, between Sir Abra- ham Shard's and the White Hart, meeting with the Woman going to the King's Head for her Master, being gone to a Bean- Feast, when Nicholls catching hold of the Woman, swearing she should go and drink with him ; which he when to the King's Head with the Woman; he a alter'd his Name to the Name of COLEMAN •, and that Nicholl's and the Woman had a Pint of Beer at the Door ; which Welch and Jones coming after, had a Dram or Beer, I can't possibly say which ; when coming back, they came together to the Parson's Walk, where N s threw the Woman down, and used her in that barbarous Man- ner. That he ( Jones; was the second Man which went with an Attempt to lye with her ; with that Welch and N s tore me off, and Welch, went to lay with her, but the Woman being so bad after N s's laying with her, that he could not , after which the Woman went away, and we went to a Barn, at Walworth, and continued there ' till Morning. From your dying Friend, . THOMAS JONES. P. S. Coleman was not in Company with us that Night nor ever was in our Company, that I never saw him nor knew him, I declare to God, to the best of my Knowledge. This Malefactor was born in the Parish of St. Saviour in Southwark, was only 22 Years old lasl May, and ply'd at St. Mar- garet's Hill as a Porter ; and was intrusted by Gentlemen with Goods of Value. A Copy of a Letter to Thomas Jones from his Sister. Dear Brother, YOU may easily guess the great Af- fliction I am under, upon ' Account of your unhappy Situation, and I have done all in my Power to procure your Sen- tence to be altered to Tranfportation, but your Crime ( if you're guilty of it) is fo great^ that all my Attempts have been in vain, and I beg for God Almighty's Sake, you would refign yourfelf to him, and pre- pare for Eternity, for there is not the lead Hopes of your Sentence being reverfed.— I would mod willingly have comply'd with your Rcqueft, and have come to you •, but you know I am but a Servant, and my Mafler and Miftrels both difap- prove of it, faying, I am now almoft unfit for Bufinefs on your Account, and if I was to fee you, I lhould be worfe •, therefore, what can I do in the cafe, You fliall have my Prayers, and if you wanted any Thing in my Power to give more, I would not deny, and I will always be a Friend to your Family; but hope you will, for the Rea- fons above, excule my coming to jou, and you'll oblige Your affiled Sifter, Ricliimnd, Aug.*,, .7,.. ELIZ. JONES. A Copy of a Letter from Thomas Jones to his Sifter. Dear Sifter, T^ FIESE Lines I write to you, being the laft you will ever have from me ; hoping you are as well im Health as pof- fibly can be expedbed from the Dread you mult have upon your Spirits, lor me your unfortunate Brother, now in a very unfor- tunate and unhappy Station. I hope all good Chriftians will not caft new Afflidbions on you, as you know no- thing of this unhappy Affair, which has happened from your loving and dying Brother, Sept. 6, 1751. THOMAS JONES. P. S. If you would be fo good as to ask your Matter and Midrefs, the Favour of letting you come to my Funeral, I fhould take it as a great Favour. An < 1 An authentic Account vf the Life and Rob- beries of Matthias Keys, a Confederate of William Russel, the famous Highwayman, who was executed at Tyburn, in Friday the 1oth Day of June, 1746. MATTHIAS, KEYS, WAS INDICTED for assaulting the Rev. David Turner Clerk, on the King's Highway, in the Parish of Cam- berwell, putting him in corporal fear and Danger of his Life, and against the Will of the said Turner, did feloni- ously take And carry away one Silver Watch, value three pounds, one Steel Chain, value four Shillings, one Cor- nelian seal, value two Shillings, and one Guinea in Gold, on the 28th Day of March last. This Malefactor was born at Billericay, in the County of Essex, and war about 31 yearS of Age ; his Father Kept an Inn in that Town, and gave his Son very good Education ; and when of proper Age he bred him up to the Business of a Vintner. He was, from his Youth a very gay Spark, fond of Company, and grand Living ; very much addicted to Women, and a constant Resorter to all Places of public Entertainment; tho he could very ill support this Way of Lite ; but, being a young Fellow of good Address he soon found out some of his own Stamp, who encourag'd and carress'd him. He was sure to be of the Number at Horse Races, Cock- Matches, & c. which soon reduc'd him. He might have liv'd exceeding well at Bristol, had not his Itch to Gaming, and other lawless Pleasures, been so predominant; so that he was obliged to leave that Place. Soon after this, Keys was arrested for Debt, and was close confined in the King's Bench Prison, Southwark; this was in the latter end of the Year, 1745, and at that time there was confined in the same Prison one James Russel, with whom Keys became very intimate, so that they both lay in one Bed. The Brother of Russel, whose Name was William, ( and who was a Writer to an Attorney in Air- Street, Pic cadilly) came almost daily to the Prifon, and in a short Time Keys and he became very intimate; and by the Assistance of Russel, and some of his own Friends, he got his Enlargement from Prison ; but had no Way to subsist him, being too much of the Gentleman to get his Bread by honest Labour. He applied to Will Russel, at his Lodgings, and after some Discourse on their Misfortunes and Poverty, they agreed to go on the Highway, and swore Fidelity to each other, the Circumstances of Russel being as desperate as those of Keys. They had several Meetings at the Red Cow be- hind St. Clement's Church; at the Angel Inn, near the same Place, and at the Coach and Horses in the Strand, where they came to a final Resolution. And on Saturday, the 16th of December, 1745, they hir'd Horses of a Sta- ble- Keeper in St. Martin's- Lane, near Charing- Cross, in- tending to set out for the Barnet Road, and were deter- mined, at all Events, to rob the first Person they met, notwithstanding they were so ill provided with Arms, having only an old Pistol and a Hanger. They met with nothing worth their Notice, till they Came to Mims- Wash, about four Miles from Barnet, where Mr. William M'Combe, and Mr. M'Dore, two Scotch Factors, fell a VictiM to them. They gave them the Word, To stand and deliver. The Gentlemen did not at all like this Sa- lute, and Were loth to part with their Money.; but on Russel's brandishing his Hanger, and swearing he would cut their Heads ofF, and at the same Time calling out to Keys to shoot them, the Scotsmen thought proper to com- ply ; so the Robbers got one Silver Watch, and about three Guineas in Money. On the 27th of December they pawn'd the Watch to Mr. Abraham Bibby, a Pawnbroker in the same Street where Russel liv'd, for two Guineas, and divided the Mo- ney equally; the Watch was made by Mr. Jonathan Hol- lier for Mr. Thomas Nightingale, who sold it to Mr. M' COmbe, who was robb'd of it. After the Commission of this Robbery, they returned to London, first telling the Gentlemen robbed,, that if they attempted to pursue them, or raise the Country their Lives should pay for their Temerity 0n this the Gentlemen rode away, and the Robbers got safe to; Town put up their Horses, and divided their pLunder. The next Day they bought two Pair of Pistols in a Place called Harp Alley, near the Fleet- Market; and being now pro. vided with Arms, they set out on the Hertford Road on the 18th of December, and robbed a Countryman of a- bout three Pounds, and a Woman of about 16 Shillings j and before Christmas Day they committed above twenty Robberies in Middlesex, Surry, and Kent; but none that are worth relating: They just made shift to pay for their Horses and their Whores, ( Keys having three and Russel two) and to maintain themselves like Gentlemen, in gaudy Cloaths, lac'd Waistcoats, and good linnen. The next Robbery they did was in Kent; they rode to Dartford, . and put up at the White Swan Inn, and un- derstanding Mr. Strong, an eminent Dealer at Maidstone, had a great deal of Money about him, they resolvcd to at- tack and rob him; and when he set out in the Morning in his Chaise, they mounted their Horses, and rode after him, and overtook him about a Mile beyond Dartford, where they gave him the Word, To Deliver, which great- ly surprised him, and he desired them to take their Pistols away, which they comply'd with; he then gave them his Watch, eight Guineas in Gold, two Rings, and some Silver; they expected a much greater Booty, but were so well satisfy'd with what they got, that they return'd Mr. Strong six Shillings to bear his Expences to Maidstone, telling him at parting, He was an honest Cock for not bilk- ing them. — They had a very narrow Escape in commit- ting this Robbery, being pursued by several Men on Horseback, well armed; but they got rid of their Pur- suers, by riding into the Woods; and was in such Fear and Hurry, that Russel lost his Hanger. A Day or two after this, they concluded to rob the Camberwell Stage Coaches, as they were going and re- turning from that Town; in one of these Coaches was Justice Booth of Peckham they demanded his Watch but were told he had none ; they never got 10 1. by all their Visits to these Coaches, nor did they ever meet with the least Molestation. They waited a great many cold Nights on Barnes Com- mon, to rob the Richmond Stage, but they were always disappointed ; for the People about Barnes took Notice of them; and some Women told them they Were Rogues,, and had missed their Prey Keys could hardly be prevent- ed by his Companion from firing a Pistol among the Wo- men. The Beginning of February they committed many Rob- D beries « ) beries in Essex, particularly on Epping Forest, and made a pretty good Collection. In committing these Robberies, Russel appeared as a Gentleman, and Keys, as his Servant, in a Livery Coat, and a Portmanteau behind him. About the Middle of February, they put up at an Inn in Epping, and ordered the best End of a Loin of Veal to be roasted for their Dinner; in the mean Time whilst they were eating, came in, on Foot, a Maltster, who was going for London, and they invited him to dine with them, which invitation he readily accepted when Dinner was over, the old Man paid only Six- pence, and in pulling out his Bag, they discovered both Gold and silver; so that they thought he was a very proper Person to speak with, as they called it. The Malster little imagined they were Highwaymen, for the Discourse that passed at Din- ner, turned chiefly on Horse- dealing, Russel telling the old Gentleman, that he belonged to Mr. Arnold, of St. Martin's- Lane, who contracted wi. h the Government for Horses to draw heavy Carriages, and that h was come into the Country to purchase some with ready Money; the old Man was pleased to hear this, having a Horse to sell that was fit for the Purpose; and which they promi- mised to call and see in three or four DayS Time. The old Gentleman set out for London, wishing them a good Day ; they very complaisantly took their Leave of him, and wished him a good Journey; on which he told them, he hoped to be f on in London, for he intended to walk five Miles an Hour. They were now determined to lose no Time, and having paid their Reckoning, they mounted, and when they got into the Road, they chang'd Coats, and riding on, they overtook the Malster on the Forest and riding up to him, Keys asked him, How his Dinner agreed with him? He said, I don't know yet. but I think, Gentlemen, you have changed Coats. Then Keys told him, he must have the Bag that was in hij He ches Side Pocket. The Malster laugh'd, and told them, they were merry young Gentlemen-, but Keys presenting a Pi- stol, swore, if he did not immediately deliver, he would make a Hole in his Head The Malster changed his Tone, and, with great Reluctancy, delivered the Bag; the Contents of which was eight Guinas in Gold, some Silver, and Half- pence, which last they returned him, and wished him well. He told them, he should lie at his Brother's in Shoreditch, and could go to Bed without his Supper, for he had paid dearer for his Dinner than ever he had done in his Life. They stopped a young Wo- man in about a Quarter of an Hour after; but she plead- ing great Poverty, and that she was only a poor Servant going to see a Place, they gave her a Kiss, and civily dismissed her, at the same Time Russel giving her Half a Crown to drink their Healths. On Sunday Afternoon they robbed Mr. Alderman Gas- coigne's Coach near his Country seat in Essex, as some of the Family were returning from Church ; in the Coach was one Gentleman and three Ladies, with the Coachman and Footman; from them they took about three Pounds in Money, three Rings, and a Snuff Box. The Alderman meeting Keys and Russel on the Essex Road that Day, he suspected them, as he had some Knowledge of Russel, and his Character not standing the fairest, he apply'd to Rus- sel's Mother, in the Apparel of a sea Captain, to know where he might find her Son, for that he was willing to go to sea with him, but wanted ten Guineas Advance- Money, which he should have paid him, if Mr. Wardin, the Attorney, would give him a Character; and the Al- derman desired it might be sent in a Letter to the Rain- bow Coffee- house, Fleet- ditch. Russel never would let his Mother know where he might be found, so escapcd. for this Time. They twice robbed the Stratford Stage Coaches between Mile End Turnpike and Bow, but never got any Booty to make them Amends for their Waiting; for the Weather at that Time was excessive cold. As a Collar- Maker of Stratford was taking his Leave of some of his Acquaint- ance, after they had robbed the Coaches, Russel dismount- ed, and told him, he must have his Watch ; and the Man gave it him accordingly, and desired they would send it to his House at Stratford; they promised him they would, but, however, that slip'd their Memories. The next Robbery was done near Billericay in Essex, where they stopt a Shoemaker, who also keeps a Publick house there, and robb'd him of his Watch and some Money. On the 25th of January, 1745, they stopp'd 3 Coaches one after the other, in the Road leading from Stratford to Ruckholt House, and robbed the Gentlemen and Ladies ( who were going to see the Diversions of rhat Place) of three gold Watches, about ten Guineas in Gold, and some Silver, and got ofF undiscovered.. There was a very curi- ous Seal of Sir Isaac Newton's Head, belonging to one of the Watches. They committed Abundance of Robberies in the Bye- Roads in Essex, and had always the Caution to cross the Country for fear of a Pursuit. On the 7th of February following, they attacked John Lewis. Esq; ( a Gentleman who lived the Corner of the Old Bailey near Newgate) in the Hackney Road, and took from him a plain gold Watch, ( made bv Graham) with an enamell'd Dial- plate, with the Box and Case in one, two Gold seals, and about eight Guineas in Gold. They read next Day in the News of a Reward of 15 Guineas to be paid, if it was brought to a Goldsmith's in Newgate- street, but they did not think proper to carry it, and the Gen- tleman never had it again, for they destroy'd the Inside, and sold the Gold for about 7 or 8 Guineas to a Woman who keeps a Shop in Russel- Court. Drury- Lane. A Night or two after this, they stopped two Coaches that were going to Hackney. In the first Coach was 3 Men, one of whom put out his Cane, which they took to be a Blunderbuss, because of the Darkress of the Night; but his did not a all dismay them, for they robb'd the Pas- sengers of two Watches, one of which was Pinchbeck and the other Silver; and some Money. In the second Coac' was a Woman, from whom they took 6 . and then rode off, wishing the Passengers good Night. On the Shoreditch Road they stopped Ogburne Chur- chill, Esq; and robbed him of a Gold Watch, three Rings, and about a Guinea in Cash. In the Coach was two Wo- men like Servants, whose Money they demanded; but they had no more than two Shillings : They took from them a Basket, in which was a Pot of Butter, and a Roll of Wax Tapers, and about half a Pound of small Cakes for Children. They thought the Basket contained some- thing of more Value in it. Russel, when in Newgate, in- formed Mr. Churchill where he might find his Watch, and by his Directions he had it again. Soon afer this they attacked Captain Browne, ( Son to Commissioner Brown_ of Chatham) 011 Black- heath, and robbed him of 11 Guineas. They took a Diamond Ring from the Captain's Finger, but at his Request generously returned it. The (* 3 ' The same Day they stopped two elderly Gentlemen in a small Berlin, and took from than about i£ s. After they had made a handsome Collection in Kent, they went into Hertfordshire; and in a Cross Road about seven Miles from Hertford ( but knew not the Name of the Place) they stop- ped two Men in a Coach, from whom they took three Guineas and a Watch. The Gentlemen said very merrily, it was all their Money, but if they had given them a Meet- ing the Day before, they would have got a fine Booty, for they had been to pay 500 Guineas, ready Cash, to a Gen- tleman in the Neighbourhood. They thanked them civil- ly for what they had got, and rode away in search of fur- ther Prey. Near Shepherd's Bush they robbed Henry William Wil- son, Esq; and another Gentleman, ( both Officers in the1 Army) of two gold Watches and two Shillings in Silver. It was reported that these Gentlemen had Servants with Fire Arms to guard them, but that is false, for they had not one Attendant; nor did any Sign of Cowardice ap- pear in them, as was at that Time falsly reported. In the Right Hand Road leading from Pancrass Church they stopped a Coach, and robbed a Gentleman of a Gold Watch and about a Guinea. The Person robbed is a very eminent Attorney in Chancery- Lane. About this Time they met with a third very narrow Escape, for having robbed an old Gentlewoman in her Chariot of a Guinea, they crossed the Country, and were pursued by two Men, who luckily lost sight of them ; but to their great Surprize, when they came to Hammersmith Turnpike, they saw the Men paying the Toll, and were enquiring if two such People ( describing Keys and Russel) had not gone thro' that Evening ? The Turnpike Man said, He believed there was two such Men gone thro' a- bout half an Hour before. They took no Notice, but rode on with their Pursuers, someimes behind, sometimes be- fore, that they might not suspect them, till they came to Hyde- Park, and all of them rode thro' the Park, and Keys and his Companion got safe into Town, and glad they were to be rid of such troublesome Companions. They sent their Horses that Night to the Black Horse in Duke- street, Piccadilly, and the next Morning set out on new Adven- tures. The Road they took was that leading to Kingston- upon- Thames, bet met with no Chance there, so was o- bliged to return to Town; and crossing Putney- Bridge, came jogging along the Road without meeting any Body, and were both mighty uneasy to think they must go home empty- handed; but when they came thro' Hyde- Park Turnpike, as they rode into Town, saw a Coach going gently by the Wall, in which was a Gentleman and Lady, whom they attack'd and robb'd of a gold Watch in a Sha- green- case, and some Silver. The Robbery that Mr. Smart the Attorney's Clerk, was try'd for in the Lent Assizes 1746, at Kingston- upon- Thames, Russel and Keys committed. It was on one Mr. Akerman, a Chinaman in Cornhill: They stopped his Coach near Battersea- Wick, on this Side of Wandsworth ; he himself was in the Coach, with two Women, one of whom had a Child in her Lap. As soon as they had given the Word to deliver, a Boy who was behind the Coach jump'd down, and ran down the Hill, crying out Murder, Thieves, See. They took from them between 20 and 30s. fome old Silver Coin and Medals, particularly one Medal, with a Crucifix a- top; but no Watch, or Rings. This unfortunate young Man, notwithstanding he was acquitted of this Robbery, yet his Friends were apt to be- ) lieve he was guilty, and he Was sent abroad in Exile from his native Country, for a Crime that he was as innocent of as a sucking Babe. The last Robbery that Keys and, Russel ever committed in Company together, was near Chelsea, on the 25th Day at March 1745- 6, in the Evening they set out on Horse- back together, ( for they never robbed on Foot' and be- tween the Fire- Engine and Chelsea Watch- house, they attacked the Coach of Jofeph Danvers, Esq; Russel or- dered the Coachman to stop, and Keys rode up on the Right Hand Side of the Coach, and presenting a Pistol to Mr. Danvers, demanding his Watch, or he would shoot him : The Gentleman said he had no Watch, nor did he ever wear any; in the mean Time, Will Russel was ri- fling Mr. Danvers's Neice, who was in the Coach with him. William Spear, the Footman, looking pretty ear- nestly at them. Keys told him, if he did not turn his Head another way, he would shoot him; Spear was only fum- bling with the Chain of his own Watch, to get it into his Fob before they could see it, but Keys, who had a Hawk's Eye, perceiving the Seals of the Watch, rode up to Spear, and said, Friend if your Master has no Watch, I perceive that you have one, and immediately ordered him to put it into his Hat, which Mr. Spear was obliged to comply with, for fear of being shot, or very roughly handled, which they threaten'd to do, if he refused to deliver. This Robbery was committed on a Saturday Night, and they having finished their Week's Work, came to Town, and put up their Horses. That very same Night, about two Hours after the Com- mission of the Robbery, they being short of Cash, both agreed to pledge the Watch, and accordingly apply'd to Mr. Edward Reynolds in Frith- street, Soho; but Mr. Reynolds not being in the Way, his Apprentice, Thomas Browne, being in the Shop, Keys and Russel tendered the Watch, and asked two Guineas and a Half on it; but the young Man ( to whom they had before pawned a gold Watch that was advertised) knowing them both, pretend- ed that he could not lend so much Money without consult- ing his Master who was two or three Doors off, but that he would carry the Watch, that his Master might see it, and return again in a Minute or two. They did not in in the least suspect Brown's Intention, who instead of go- ing to his Master, went to one Mr. Pardy, and told him the Case, who got some Assistance. When the Lad re- turned, Keys was standing at the Door, and began to smell a Rat, and damn'd Brown's Blood, demanding the Watch ; at the same Time putting his Hand to his Pocket in order to pull out a Pistol to shoot Brown; but he whipt across the way, and Keys ran off, having just time to call Russell out of the Shop, and as he come out a Per- son caught him in his Arms; he was carried that Night to Prison. On Monday Morning he was brought before the late Sir Thomas Deveil, and Mr. Spear appearing a- gainst him, he was committed to the Gate- house, and at the Sessions removed to Newgate, but could not take his Trial then, being greatly indisposed ; but the next Sessions, he being recovered, w? s trv'd, convicted, and executed, dying friendless, and deserted . by all his gay Companions, except an only Wife, whose Poverty was so great, that she was incapable of doing much for him ; he went, greatly pitied by the Multitude, to Tyburn, in a Mourning Coach, and three Days after his Execution, was decently interred in the Burial Ground in Chick- Lane, belonging tO St. Sepulchre's Parish. No sooner did Keys understand how hard Matters went with ( with Russel than he left the Town. and skulk'd up and down the Countries, now and then committing Robberies to support himself; and when he returned to Town, he used to be secreted by the Ladies, with whom he was a great Favourite, and hardly any Reword would have tempted them to betray him; for he reign'd in his Ro- guery about a Year after Russel suffered. The next Time we find our Hero on the Stage of Ac- tion was in the Year 1747; he could not leave his dear County of Essex, which he said was always lucky to him; so he ventured down there, and committed several Rob- beries on the Harwich Road; but being taken Notice of by the Stage Coachmen, he was obliged to shift his Quar- ters into the Hundreds. Nay. the Essex Gentlemen were so angry with all the Stage Coachmen, that they began to think that these Sons of the Whip connived at lug Villainies; which made a great Stir in the County, and the Name of Keys was as much dreaded all over Essex, as the Name of the famous Turpin had been. However, several stout Fellows endeavoured to take him after he had committed a Robbery near Woodford - Bridge, and Keys unluckily getting drunk, they catch'd him napping, at the Bells, an Alehouse, and seizing him, carried him before a Magistrate, who committed him to Chelmsford Goal; and, at the Assizes held at the said Town, the 7th of August, 1747, he was try'd and con- victed for the above Robbery, the Gentleman swearing positively to his Person, And being brought to the Bar to receive Judgment of Death, he made a very moving and melancholy Speech before the Lord Chief Justice Lee, who passed the Sentence on him and two more, viz. one William Giles, whu went by the Name of Chambers ( who then kept the Green Man and French Horn in New Bond- street) and the unfortunate young Man who robbed Mr, Rowell, the King of Sardinia's Messenger, as he was bringing an express from the Court of Turin to his Ma- jesty King George, it being the Time we were at War with France and Spain. Great Interest was made for Keys to the Judge, by some of the most honourable and substantial Roman Catholick Families in the County of Essex; but his Lordship not in- clining to reprieve so vile a Miscreant, who had been a Terror to his Country, and justly convicted by the Laws of it; Key's Friends made their Application to his Ma. jesty, who is the Fountain of Mercy; and such powerful Interest was daily made at Court for him; that at last his trusty Friends succeeded so well, that they obtained not only a Reprieve for him, that his Life might be sav'd, but also an Order that he might transport himself to any Parts beyond the Seas, and never more to be seen in his Majesty's British Dominions. At the Request of his Friends and Relations, Keys con- sented to go on board the Fleet that was at that Time lying at Portsmouth, and bound to the East- Indies, under the Command of the Hon. Admiral BoscaWen; but this was all Flattery, for he was not inclined to leave his na- tive Country and wicked Companions, having often de- clared at Chelmsford, that he had much rather lie in Goal than go Abroad: However, he was obliged to submit, and all Things was made ready for his Voyage, and what was necessary his Friends procured him, that he could reason- ably wish for or expect. He went from Chelmsford Prison, under a Guard of Soldiers, and watched all Opportunities to get away from them, but they brought him safe forward to Kingston- upon Thames, in their Way to Portsmouth, where , the * > - Fleet lay. He was lodged in the Stock- house Prison till the Morning, and the Soldiers marching on with him, he was put on board the Fleet under the Command of the Hon. Admiral Boscawen, which sailed from Spithead the 14th of November,, 1747. He Was at the Siege of Pondi- cherry, where he lost an Eye. ... Whilst he was under Confinement, he said, I have seen many a brave Fel- " low die, and wish I had gone the same Way; but it's " my Fate to come home to be hang'd like a Dog." On his Return from the East- Indies, he got into the Country amongst his old Haunts, and committed Robbe- ries, sometimes residing in Town, and sometimes in the- Country ; and always living in a gay Manner, being a fa- vourite Companion for tHe principal Gamblers, and other Persons of ill Fame in this Metropolis. To give an Accounr of all the Robberies committed by Keys and his Companions, would contain a huge Volume, for it is certain, that not one Highwayman in this King- dom, for many Years, has reign'd so long as he has done ; not even the famous William Gordon the Butcher, ( executed at Tyburn about 18 Years ago for robbing the Treasurer of the Inner Temple) who was reputed to be a Highwayman upwards of 12 Years; was taken up several Times, and once try'd at Chelmsford for robbing Mr. Tanner, late Clerk of the Fishmonger's Company, and the Court of Assistants of the same, on Epping- Forest who, after a Trial of 16 Hours, was acquitted before the late Right Hon. the Lord Chief Justice Raymond. Keys, indeed, may be said, having received a most gra- cious Reprieve, after a Condemnation., to be a very extra- ordinary Man, not to have made a proper Use of the Royal Clemency ; but so infatuated was he to a dissolute. and irregular Life, that all the Indulgence that was shewn could not reclaim him. As to the Robbery of which he was conviCted, and justly suffered, there could be no Plainer Proof than ap- peared on his Trial. In the Month of March, laft he ap- plied himself several Times to one Mr. Jeremiah Claridge, who keeps a Livery Stable in Bedfordbury, Covent- Gar- den, and lets out Horses for Hire, and particularly on the 27th Day of the same Month, Keys applied himself to Mr. Claridge for a Horse, to be let out to go to Hatfield, with which he was accommodated ; but instead of going thi- ther that Day, he took Mr. Claridge's Horse, and brought him to the White- Lyon Inn in Lambeth, where he lay that Night, and desired the Hostler to call him up before three the next Morning, which the Hostler accordingly did, but found him ready dressed; and just as the Clock struck three at Lambeth Church, he then mounted his Horse, and set out from that Place, after having drank a Quartern of Rum. About four o'Clock in the Morning, beng Thursday the 28th Day of the said Month of March, the Canter- bury Stage Coach, which was drove by one Henry Potter, set out exactly at four o'Clock from the Sprcad- Eagle Inn in Grace- church- street, London, and arrived at Peckham Gap, which is about two Miles and a Half from the said Inn, a little before five o'Clock, at which Time and Place Keys stopt the said Coach, and presented a Pistol at the Passengers therein, and took from them several Sums of Money, and particularly from his Prosecutor, Mr. Turner, as before mentioned ; after which he stopped two other Coaches, travelling the Kentish Road, and robbed the Persons in the same. Keys, when he compleated his Morning Collection, rode away for Vauxhall and put up at the Vine about Five o' Clock; Clock; Mr. Jordan, the Hostler, seeing some Pistols un- der his Coat, suspected him to be a Highwayman-, but, it being To early in the Morning, he would not attempt to apprehend him ; he told Mr Jordan, that he would fend for his Horse, by the Name of Jones, order a Shilling for him [ Jordan] and pay for the Horse's Keeping. After this, Keys took a Sculler to cross the Water, but Mr. Jordan, who acted as every honest Man ought to do, en- deavoured to prevent his getting off; but before he had an ' Opportunity to apprize the Waterman what sort of a Fare he had got, the Boar was near got in o the Middle of the River; and so Keys had the good Luck of being safely landed on the Westminster Shoar. About Seven the same Evening came one Macdonald, a Porter, with a Note, in the ficticious name of Jones, de- siring the Hostler to deliver the Horse to the Porter, on paying the Charges Mr. Jordan did so; and, to come at the Bottom of the Affair, if possible, he sent the Horse away with a wrong Bridle. Keys, who was waiting at Whitehall for the Porter's Return, no sooner saw. him, than he challenged the Bridle, and said it did not belong to him; and ordered the - Porter to ride away directly to the Vine and bring him his own Bridle. Macdonald obey'd his Orders, and went to the Vine to claim the Bridle; but when he came there, he was stopt. The Porter having a Note to deli- ver the Horse to Mr. Claridge, went to his House, and informed him the Horse was stop'd at Vaux- hall. On this Mr. Claridge found out where Keys lodged, and was directed. by his Landlady, to go to King's Coffee- house ' near Golden square ; there he found Keys, , and told him what had happened of the Horse being stop ; Keys seem'd ready to go with him, but said he must first call at his Lodgings, which Mr. Claridge readily permitted. When Keys came to his Lodgings, he . went up Stairs, _ and open'd a Trunk, from which he took two Pistols, and * presenting one of them to Mr. Claridge, damn'd his . Blood, and bid him keep oft Poor Macdonald the Porter, was so terrify'd, that he jumped down all the stairs at once. Mr. Claridge pulling too Keys's Chamber Door in a Hurry, the Brass Knob on the Inside broke, so that he was shut into the Room, and obliged to get out of the Win- dow, and falling down, he lay stun'd in the Yard for a Minute or two, then got up, and ran away with a Pistol in each Hand, bidding his Pursuers Defiance; but at last he was knocked down, and being seized, was carried be- fore Mr. Fielding, who sent him to Clerkenwell Bridewell, it not being then known that he was a Highwayman. The stopping of the Horse at Vauxhall, the robbing of the Canterbury Coach, and Key's being in Custody, being soon known, Mr. Jordan, then Hoftler at the Vine, wenc to Clerkenwell bridewell to view Keys,' and as foon as he saw him, declared he was the Man that brought the Horse to the Vine. And there is not the least Dispute but he committed the Robbery, because Mr. Orton and Mr. Powell found Mr. Turner's Watch in a Trunk in the Pri- soner's Room. Notwithstanding all that has been said of this Malefactor, after the Jury had found him guilty of the Robbery, and was carrying him from the Court- House at Kingston to the Stock house Prison, he told his Fellow Prisoners he was a Gentleman of too much Honour to com- mit a Robbery, or injure any Man. -— Most consummate Assurance! Henry Potter, the Canterbury Stage Coach, man knew Keys perfectly well when he was under Con- demnation in Chelmsford Goal in 1747, and knew him at the Red- Lion at Hounslow, before he lost his Eye. Notwithstanding Keys's Friends were so cunning as to cook up an Aliby Evidence, as it is called at the Old Baily, and to swear that he was at another Place at the Time the Robbery was sworn to be committed, yet this had no Weight with the Count or JUry; for they were not to be deceived, and gave no Credit to what was sworn in tie Behalf of Keys.- And notwithstanding all base Acts were used to get him off, yet none of them succeeded; so watchful was the Eye 0f Justice over this notorious and dangerous Malefactor. Notwithstanding' Mr. Potter was so positive to Keys, yet they had the Assurance to bring a Man, who swore he was a Barber and Perriwig: Maker, in Grace- Church street, and that he heard Potter say, it a Club of above twenty People, that he did not know the Person that rob- bed the Coach. No sooner had the Jury found him guilty of the In- dictment, than several Fellows, who were lurking about ( the Court- house, were taken into Custody for threatening to shoot those Persons who were concerned in the Prose- cution and the Judge being informed of this, he wrote_ a Committment with his own Hand to the Keeper of the County Gaol to detain them in his custody; but on their Submission, and asking Pardon,_ they were released from their Confinement when the Assizes ended. When Keys was called to the Bar to. receive Sentence of Death, wirh the other Convict, he did not seem in the least dismay'd, but stood undaunted and resolute, without ever changing Countenance; and when thev came from the Court- house to the Gaol, Tonkin, ( repriev'd the Evening before Execution) with whom he was very intimate ask'd him, How he could stand at the Bar so unmov'd, when the awful Sentence was passing upon them ?. He reply'd, I do n0t much mind it, for I have been us'd to it; and spoke thus seemingly. wirhout any Concern. It being apprehended, that some of his Friends intended a Rescue, as he was bringing from Kingston to the New- Goal the Keeper applied for a Guard, but that not being to be had, few Soldiers being in the Country; the Ja- veling Men belonging to the Sheriff, his Bailiffs, and the Keeper's Assistants brought them safe to Town, and Keys and John Tonkin ( who was condemn'd for robbing squire Alexander's Lady near Egham were both confined in one Room together, where they continued till Execution. All the Time, from the Day of his Condemnation to the Day of Execution, he behaved very regular, sedate and reserved, conversing only with Mr. Tonkin; and mak- ing a proper Use of the Time that the Law allowed him for making his Peace with his offended Creator. He was a well- bred, active, and very personable Man, and might, in common Conversation, be far from being suspected what he really was. Gaming, Women, Wine, and bad Company brought him to Ruin : and it is very probable, had his Majesty's Mercy been extended to him this Time, as it was before at Chelmsford, he might have made as bad Use of it. But, as he has now suffered the Law, which was due to satisfy the Justice of his Country, it is needless to say more relating to him. He dy'd very penitent, greatly lamenting his mispent and wicked Life; and after the Execution was ended, his Body was taken Care of by his Friends, in order that he might have a de- cent Funeral. Thus ended the Life of Matthias Keys, who, it is thought, had committed more Highway Rob- beries, and other enormous Crimes, than perhaps any Criminal that has suffered in the three Kingdoms for many Years past. ( x6 ) the Crime laid to his Charge by the Wo- man ; sure then he is happy ! I cannot say that I ever knew him, nor was he with us that Day ; I cannot remember where we went after we left the woman, but N s went with us, and left the woman in the Parsonage walk. Signed JAMES WELCH. N. B. There is some Part of his Letter which I do not insert, it containing some Revilings and Abuses. of N , which I told Welch was improper and inconsistent with that forgiving Temper, which it be- comes a Christian and a true Penitent to die in, and not at all material as I appre- hended, upon which, he left it. to my Di- rection.. A Copy of a Letter from James Welch to Coleman's Brother. Condemn'd Room, Sept. 6, 1751. Mr. COLEMAN, According to my Promise which I made to you, in order to give you an Ac- count in a few Lines, for I cannot go out of the World with a Lie in my Mouth; and in Conscience Sake to you and your Family, as well as to your Brother's dying innocent; for his Death was occasioned by N s, Jones declaring that he heard N s tell the Woman, that his Name was Coleman : So I hope this will suffice you of your Brother's Innocence, and hop- ing that none of your Family bears me any Ill- will, or any that belongs to me. I should have been glad, had N s saved your Brother's Life, but he was the more V n, and undoubtedly he will meet his Reward at his latter End. I heartily for- give all your Family, because they have done me no Wrong, and am, Dear SIR, Your most humble Servant, JAMES WELCH, These four Malefactors were carried to the Place of Execution in one Cart, where they behaved de- cently; and after some Time spent in Prayer, they resigned their Lives to the Justice of their Country. The Confession of James Welch, in a Let- ter, wrote and signed with his own Hand. SIR, New Gaol, Sept. 6, 1751. ACcording to my Promise which I made to you, before I departed this Life, of making a full Confession of every Thing that I know in Regard to this hor- rid and most villainous Crime-, I cannot take upon me to say where it was that we three met, but it is true that we went to Sot's Hole together, and stayed drinking there sometime. When we went away from that Place, just as we all got into Kenning- ton- Lane, we met with this Woman ; N s was the first that laid hold of her, and went back with her to the King's Head in Kennington- Lane, we folLowing them at a little Distance, ana after they had got there, and calling for a Pint of Beer, I and Jones came in after them, and calling for a Quartern of Gin. Then we all went a- way, and just as we came into the Parso- nage Walk, near two of the Trees, N - s threw the Woman down, and used her ia a very barbarous Manner, dragging her along the Ground in such an inhuman Manner, that I told him for God's Sake, let the Woman alone; but I could prevail nothing with him, and if any Person was guilty of that horrid Crime, it was N s. As Jones attempted to lay with her next, who did lay with her but a very short Space of Time, so that it cannot be ' thought it was him ; and I being the last that lay " with her, though not the Space of a Moment. And' as I shall answer for the Truth of which I have wrote here in a short Time, before God Almighty, I heartily forgive N s for falsely swearing a- gainst me, that I run my Hand up the Woman's Body, which I declare to God and Man, that I never used any Woman Ill in my Life, to put their Life in danger. I cannot help expressing my great Concern for Coleman going out of the World in the Manner he did, as he appears innocent of
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