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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,040 pages of information about Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences.
I was born of honest parents, bred to the sea, and lived honest, ’till I was led aside by lewd women.  I then robbed on ships, and never robbed on shore.  I had no design to kill the woman who jilted me, and left me for another man, but only to terrify her, for I could have shot her when the loaded pistol was at her breast, but I curbed my passion, and only threw a candle-stick at her.  I confess my cruelty towards my wife, who is a woman too good for me, but I was at first forced to forsake her for debt, and go to sea.  I hope in God none will reflect on her, or my poor innocent children, who could not help my sad passion, and more sad death.  Written by me,

    John Smith

FOOTNOTES: 

   [15] George Byng, later created Viscount Torrington, was sent
        with a fleet for the protection of Sicily against the Spaniards. 
        He found them besieging Messina, whereupon he gave their fleet
        battle and gained a smashing victory at Cape Passaro, 31 July,
        1718.

The Life of JAMES SHAW, alias SMITH, a Highwayman and Murderer

James Shaw, otherwise Smith (for by both these names he went, nor am I able to say which was his true one) was the son of parents both of circumstances and inclination to have given him a very good education if he would have received it.  The unsettledness of his temper was heightened by that indulgence with which he was treated by his relations, who permitted him to make trial of several trades, though he could not be brought to like any.  Indeed, he stayed so long with a forger of gun-locks, as to learn something of his art, which sometimes he practised and thereby got money; but generally speaking he chose rather to acquire it by easier means.

I cannot take upon me to say at what time he began to rob upon the road, or take to any other villainy of that sort, but ’tis certain that if he himself were to be believed, it was in a great measure owing to a bad wife; for when he, by his labour, got nine shillings a week, and used to return home very weary in the evening, he generally found nobody there to receive him, or to get ready his supper, but everything in the greatest confusion, without any person to take care of what little he had.  This, as he would have had it believed, was the source of his misfortunes and necessities, as it was also the occasion of his taking such fatal methods to relieve them.

The Hampstead Road was that in which he chiefly robbed, and he could not be persuaded that there was any great crime in taking away the superfluous cash of those who lavish it in vanity and luxury, or from those who procure it by cheating and gaming; and under these two classes Shaw pretended to rank all who frequented the Wells or Belsize, and it is to be much feared that in this respect he was not very far out.  Amongst the many adventures which befell him in his expeditions on the road, there are one or two which it may not be improper to take notice of.

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Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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