Under conviction, he behaved himself with great penitence, said he had not been guilty of many of those atrocious crimes commonly practised by such as come to that fatal end whither his folly had led him. At the place of execution he, with great fervency, justified the character of a young woman who had lived fellow-servant with him at Mr. Fenwick’s. He declared, as he was a dying man, that she was not in the least privy to the injury done her master, and that he had no other than an acquaintance with her, without either having, or attempting any criminal conversation with her. Having done this justice, he seemed to die with much composure, in the twenty-second year of his age, on the 23rd of December, 1730.
LIVES OF THE CRIMINALS
The Life of JOHN TURNER, alias CIVIL JOHN, a Highwayman
One of the most dangerous passions which can enter the breasts of young people, though at the same time it be one of the most common, is the love of finery and a mean and foolish ambition to appear better dressed than becomes their station, in hopes of imposing upon the world as persons of much higher rank than they really are. This inconsiderate, ridiculous pride brings along with it such a numerous train of bad consequences that of necessity it makes the person inflamed by it unhappy and often miserable for life. In the case now before us a was still more fatal by adding a violent and ignominious death.
John Turner was the son of a person in tolerable circumstances, in the county of Cornwall, where he received an education proper for that condition of life in which he was likely to pass through the world. His father was a man of good sense, and of a behaviour much more courteous and genteel than is usual among persons of ordinary condition in a county so remote from London. He was extremely desirous that his son should be like him in this respect, and therefore he continually cautioned him against falling into that rough boorish manner of behaving which is natural to uneducated clowns, and makes them shocking to everybody but themselves. In this respect John was very compliant with his father’s temper, and being put out apprentice to a peruke-maker, his obliging carriage endeared him so much, not only to his master and the family but also to the gentlemen on whom, as customers to the shop, he sometimes waited, that they took a peculiar liking to the boy and were continually giving him money as a reward for his diligence and assiduity.