Barton’s return from transportation was sufficient to have brought him to death had he committed nothing besides; but he, whether through necessity, as having no way left of living honestly, or from his own evil inclinations, ventured upon his old trade, and robbing amongst others the Lord Viscount Lisbourn, of the Kingdom of Ireland, and a lady who was with him in the coach, of a silver hilted sword, a snuff-box and about twelve shillings in money, he was for this fact taken, tried and convicted at the Old Bailey.
He immediately laid by all hopes of life as soon as he had received sentence, and with great earnestness set himself to secure that peace in the world to come, which his own vices had hindered him from in this. He got some good books which he read with continual devotion and attention, submitted with the utmost patience to the miseries of his sad condition, and finding his relations would take care of his daughter and that his wife, for whom he never lost the most tender concern, would be in no danger of want, he laid aside the thoughts of temporal matters altogether expressing a readiness to die, and never showing any weakness or impatience of the nearest approach of death.
Much of that firmness with which he behaved in these last moments of his life might probably be owing to natural courage, of which certainly Barton had a very large share. But the remains of virtue and religion, to which the man had always a propensity, notwithstanding that he gave way to passions which brought him to all the sorrows he knew, yet the return he made, when in the shadow of death, to piety and devotion, enabled him to suffer with great calmness, on Friday the 12th of May, 1721, aged about thirty-one years.
ROBERT PERKINS, Thief
I should never have undertaken this work without believing it might in some degree be advantageous to the public. Young persons, and especially those in a meaner state, are, I presume, those who will make up the bulk of my readers, and these, too, are they who are more commonly seduced into practices of this ignominious nature. I should therefore think myself unpardonable if I did not take care to furnish them with such cautions as the examples I am giving of the fatal consequences of vice will allow, at the same time that I exhibit those adventures and entertaining scenes which disguise the dismal path, and make the road to ruin pleasing. They meet here with a true prospect of things, the tinsel splendour of sensual pleasure, and that dreadful price men pay for it—shameful death. I hope it may be of use in correcting the errors of juvenile tempers devoted to their passions, with whom sometimes danger passes for a certain road to honour, and the highway seems as tempting to them as chivalry did to Don Quixote. Such and some other such like, are very unlucky notions in young heads, and too often inspire them with courage enough to dare the gallows, which seldom fails meeting with them in the end.