Mr. Langley, as well as all the rest of the family, being out at church, Butloge was sitting by himself in his master’s room, looking at the drawers, and knowing that there was a good sum of ready money therein. It then came into his head what a figure he might cut if he had all that money. It occurred to him, at the same time, that his master was scarce able to speak any English, and was obliged to go over to France again in a month’s time; so that he persuaded himself that if he could keep out of the way for that month, all would be well, and he should be able to live upon the spoil, without any apprehension of danger. These considerations took up his mind for half an hour; then he put his scheme into execution, broke open the drawers and took from thence twenty-seven guineas, four louis d’ors, and some other French pieces. As soon as he completed the robbery, and was got safe out of town, he went directly to Chester, that he might appear fine (as he himself said) at a place where he was known. His precaution being so little, there is no wonder that he was taken, or that the fact appearing plain, he should be convicted thereon.
After sentence was passed, he laid aside all hopes of life, and without flattering himself as too many do, he prepared for his approaching end. Whatever follies he might have committed in his life, yet he suffered very composedly on the 22nd day of July, 1722, being then about twenty-three years of age.
The Life of NATHANIEL JACKSON, a Highwayman
The various dispositions of men make frequent differences in their progress, either in virtue or vice; some being disposed to cultivate this or that branch of their duty with peculiar diligence, and others, again, plunging themselves in some immoralities they have no taste for.
But as for this unfortunate criminal, Nathaniel Jackson, he seemed to have swept all impurities with a drag net, and to have habituated himself to nothing but wickedness from his cradle. He was the son of a person of some fortune at Doncaster, in Yorkshire, who died when his son Nat was very young, but not, however, till he had given him some education. He was bound by a friend, in whose hands his father left his fortune, to a silk-weaver at Norwich, with whom he lived about three years; but his master restraining his extravagancies, and taking great pains to keep him within the bounds of moderation, Jackson at last grew so uneasy that he ran away from his master, and absconded for some time. But his guardian at last hearing where he was, wrote to him, and advised him to purchase some small place with his fortune, whereon he might live with economy, since he perceived he would do no good in trade. Jackson despised this advice, and instead of thinking of settling, got into the Army, and with a regiment of dragoons went over into Ireland.