Colonel Jack

The Life of Colonel Jacque

Volume I

Daniel Defoe

SEEING my life has been such a chequer-work of nature, and that I am able now to look back upon it from a safer distance than is ordinarily the fate of the clan to which I once belonged, I think my history may find a place in the world as well as some who I see are every day read with pleasure, though they have in them nothing so diverting or instructing as I believe mine will appear to be.

My original may be as high as anybody’s for aught I know, for my mother kept very good company; but that part belongs to her story more than to mine. All I know of it is by oral tradition, thus: My nurse told me my mother was a gentlewoman, that my father was a man of quality, and she (my nurse) had a good piece of money given her to take me off his hands, and deliver him and my mother from the importunities that usually attend the misfortune of having a child to keep that should not be seen or heard of.

My father, it seems, gave my nurse something more than was agreed for, at my mother’s request, upon her solemn promise that she would use me well and let me be put to school; and charged her, that if I lived to come to any bigness, capable to understand the meaning of it, she should always take care to bid me remember that I was a gentleman; and this, he said, was all the education he would desire of her for me; for he did not doubt, he said, but that, some time or other, the very hint would inspire me with thoughts suitable to my birth, and that I would certainly act like a gentleman, if I believed myself to be so.

But my disasters were not directed to end as soon as they began. It is very seldom that the unfortunate are so but for a day; as the great rise by degrees of greatness to the pitch of glory in which they shine, so the miserable sink to the depth of their misery by a continued series of disasters, and are long in the tortures and agonies of their distressed circumstances, before a turn of fortune, if ever such a thing happens to them, gives them a prospect of deliverance.

My nurse was as honest to the engagement she had entered into as could be expected from one of her employment, and particularly as honest as her circumstances would give her leave to be; for she bred me up very carefully with her own son, and with another son of shame like me, whom she had taken upon the same terms.

My name was John, as she told me, but neither she or I knew anything of a surname that belonged to me; so I was left to call myself Mr. Anything, what I pleased, as fortune and better circumstances should give occasion.

It happened that her own son (for she had a little boy of her own, about one year older than I) was called John too; and about two years after she took another son of shame, as I called it above, to keep as she did me, and his name was John too.

As we were all Johns, we were all Jacques, and soon came to be called so; for at that part of the town where we had our breeding, viz., near Goodman’s Fields, the Johns are generally called Jacque; but my nurse, who may be allowed to distinguish her own son a little from the rest, would have him called captain, because, forsooth, he was the eldest.

I was provoked at having this boy called captain, and I cried, and told my nurse I would be called captain; for she told me I was a gentleman, and I would be a captain, that I would. The good woman, to keep the peace, told me, ay, ay, I was a gentleman, and therefore I should be above a captain, for I should be a colonel, and that was a great deal better than a captain; “for, my dear,” says she, “every tarpauling, if he gets but to be lieutenant of a press smack, is called captain, but colonels are soldiers, and none but gentlemen are ever made colonels. Besides,” says she, “I have known colonels come to be lords and generals, though they were bastards at first, and therefore you shall be called colonel.”

Well, I was hushed indeed with this for the present, but not thoroughly pleased, till, a little while after, I heard her tell her own boy that I was a gentleman, and therefore he must call me colonel; at which her boy fell a-crying, and he would be called colonel. That part pleased me to the life, that he should cry to be called colonel, for then I was satisfied that it was above a captain: so universally is ambition seated in the minds of men that not a beggar-boy but has his share of it.

So here was Colonel Jacque and Captain Jacque. As for the third boy, he was only plain Jacque for some years after, till he came to preferment by the merit of his birth, as you shall hear in its place.

We were hopeful boys, all three of us, and promised very early, by many repeated circumstances of our lives, that we would be all rogues; and yet I cannot say, if what I have heard of my nurse’s character be true, but the honest woman did what she could to prevent it.

Before I tell you much more of our story, it would be very proper to give you something of our several characters, as I have gathered them up in my memory, as far back as I can recover things, either of myself or my brother Jacques, and they shall be brief and impartial.

Captain Jacque was the eldest of us all, by a whole year. He was a squat, big, strong-made boy, and promised to be stout when grown up to be a man, but not to be tall. His temper was sly, sullen, reserved, malicious, revengeful; and, withal, he was brutish, bloody, and cruel in his disposition. He was, as to manners, a mere boor, or clown, of a carman-like breed; sharp as a street-bred boy must be, but ignorant and unteachable from a child. He had much the nature of a bull-dog, bold and desperate, but not generous at all. All the schoolmistresses we went to could never make him learn—no, not so much as to make him know his letters; and as if he was born a thief, he would steal everything that came near him, even as soon almost as he could speak; and that not from his mother only, but from anybody else, and from us too that were his brethren and companions. He was an original rogue, for he would do the foulest and most villainous things, even by his own inclination; he had no taste or sense of being honest—no, not, I say, to his brother rogues, which is what other thieves make a point of honour of; I mean that of being honest to one another.

The other, that is to say, the youngest of us Johns, was called Major Jacque, by the accident following: The lady that had deposited him with our nurse had owned to her that it was a major of the Guards that was the father of the child, but that she was obliged to conceal his name, and that was enough. So he was at first called John the Major, and afterwards the Major; and at last, when we came to rove together, Major Jacque, according to the rest, for his name was John, as I have observed already.

Major Jacque was a merry, facetious, pleasant boy, had a good share of wit, especially off-hand-wit, as they call it; was full of jests and good humour, and, as I often said, had something of a gentleman in him. He had a true manly courage, feared nothing, and could look death in the face without any hesitation; and yet, if he had the advantage, was the most generous and most compassionate creature alive. He had native principles of gallantry in him, without anything of the brutal or terrible part that the captain had; and, in a word, he wanted nothing but honesty to have made him an excellent man. He had learned to read, as I had done; and as he talked very well, so he wrote good sense and very handsome language, as you will see in the process of his story.

As for your humble servant, Colonel Jacque, he was a poor, unhappy, tractable dog, willing enough, and capable too, to learn anything, if he had had any but the devil for his schoolmaster. He set out into the world so early, that when he began to do evil, he understood nothing of the wickedness of it, nor what he had to expect for it. I remember very well that when I was once carried before a justice, for a theft which indeed I was not guilty of, and defended myself by argument, proving the mistakes of my accusers, and how they contradicted themselves, the justice told me it was a pity I had not been better employed, for I was certainly better taught; in which, however, his worship was mistaken, for I had never been taught anything but to be a thief; except, as I said, to read and write, and that was all, before I was ten years old; but I had a natural talent of talking, and could say as much to the purpose as most people that had been taught no more than I.

I passed among my comrades for a bold, resolute boy, and one that durst fight anything; but I had a different opinion of myself, and therefore shunned fighting as much as I could, though sometimes I ventured too, and came off well, being very strong made and nimble withal. However, I many times brought myself off with my tongue, where my hands would not have been sufficient, and this as well after I was a man as while I was a boy.

I was wary and dexterous at my trade, and was not so often catched as my fellow-rogues—I mean while I was a boy, and never after I came to be a man; no, not once for twenty-six years, being so old in the trade, and still unhanged, as you shall hear.

As for my person, while I was a dirty glass-bottle-house boy, sleeping in the ashes, and dealing always in the street dirt, it cannot be expected but that I looked like what I was, and so we did all; that is to say, like a “black-your-shoes-your-honour,” a beggar-boy, a blackguard-boy, or what you please, despicable and miserable to the last degree; and yet I remember the people would say of me, “That boy has a good face; if he was washed and well dressed, he would be a good, pretty boy. Do but look; what eyes he has; what a pleasant, smiling countenance! ’Tis a pity. I wonder what the rogue’s father and mother was,” and the like. Then they would call me, and ask me my name, and I would tell them my name was Jacque. “But what’s your surname, sirrah?” says they. “I don’t know,” says I. “Who is your father and mother?” “I have none,” said I. “What, and never had you any?” said they. “No,” says I, “not that I know of.” Then they would shake their heads and cry, “Poor boy!” and “’Tis a pity,” and the like; and so let me go. But I laid up all these things in my heart.

I was almost ten years old, the captain eleven, and the major about eight, when the good woman my nurse died. Her husband was a seaman, and had been drowned a little before in the Gloucester frigate, one of the king’s ships which was cast away going to Scotland with the Duke of York in the time of King Charles II., and the honest woman dying very poor, the parish was obliged to bury her; when the three young Jacques attended her corpse, and I, the colonel (for we all passed for her own children), was chief mourner; the captain, who was the eldest son, going back very sick.

The good woman being dead, we, the three Jacques, were turned loose to the world. As to the parish providing for us, we did not trouble ourselves much about that; we rambled about all three together, and the people in Rosemary Lane and Ratcliff, and that way, knowing us pretty well, we got victuals easily enough and without much begging.

For my particular part, I got some reputation for a mighty civil, honest boy; for if I was sent off an errand, I always did it punctually and carefully, and made haste again; and if I was trusted with any thing, I never touched it to diminish it, but made it a point of honour to be punctual to whatever was committed to me, though I was as arrant a thief as any of them in all other cases.

In like case, some of the poorer shopkeepers would often leave me at their door, to look after their shops till they went up to dinner, or till they went over the way to an alehouse, and the like, and I always did it freely and cheerfully, and with the utmost honesty.

Captain Jacque, on the contrary, a surly, ill-looking, rough boy, had not a word in his mouth that savoured either of good manners or good humour; he would say “Yes” and “No,” just as he was asked a question, and that was all, but nobody got any thing from him that was obliging in the least. If he was sent off an errand he would forget half of it, and it may be go to play, if he met any boys, and never go at all, or if he went, never come back with an answer, which was such a regardless, disobliging way that nobody had a good word for him, and everybody said he had the very look of a rogue, and would come to be hanged. In a word, he got nothing of anybody for goodwill, but was, as it were, obliged to turn thief for the mere necessity of bread to eat; for if he begged, he did it with so ill a tone, rather like bidding folks give him victuals than entreating them, that one man, of whom he had something given, and knew him, told him one day, “Captain Jacque,” says he, “thou art but an awkward, ugly sort of a beggar, now thou art a boy; I doubt thou wilt be fitter to ask a man for his purse than for a penny when thou comest to be a man.”

The major was a merry, thoughtless fellow, always cheerful; whether he had any victuals or no, he never complained; and he recommended himself so well by his good carriage that the neighbours loved him, and he got victuals enough, one where or other. Thus we all made a shift, though we were so little, to keep from starving; and as for lodging, we lay in the summer-time about the watch-houses and on bulkheads and shop-doors, where we were known. As for a bed, we knew nothing what belonged to it for many years after my nurse died; and in winter we got into the ash-holes and nealing-arches in the glass-house, called Dallow’s Glass-house, in Rosemary Lane, or at another glass-house in Ratcliff Highway.

In this manner we lived for some years; and here we failed not to fall among a gang of naked, ragged rogues like ourselves, wicked as the devil could desire to have them be at so early an age, and ripe for all the other parts of mischief that suited them as they advanced in years.

I remember that one cold winter night we were disturbed in our rest with a constable and his watch crying out for one Wry-neck, who, it seems, had done some roguery, and required a hue-and-cry of that kind; and the watch were informed he was to be found among the beggar-boys under the nealing-arches in the glass-house.

The alarm being given, we were awakened in the dead of the night with “Come out here, ye crew of young devils; come out and show yourselves;” so we were all produced. Some came out rubbing their eyes and scratching their heads, and others were dragged out; and I think there was about seventeen of us in all, but Wry-neck as they called him, was not among them. It seems this was a good big boy, that used to be among the inhabitants of that place, and had been concerned in a robbery the night before, in which his comrade, who was taken, in hopes of escaping punishment, had discovered him, and informed where he usually harboured; but he was aware, it seems, and had secured himself, at least for that time. So we were allowed to return to our warm apartment among the coal-ashes, where I slept many a cold winter night; nay, I may say, many a winter, as sound and as comfortably as ever I did since, though in better lodgings.

In this manner of living we went on a good while, I believe two years, and neither did or meant any harm. We generally went all three together; for, in short, the captain, for want of address, and for something disagreeable in him, would have starved if we had not kept him with us. As we were always together, we were generally known by the name of the three Jacques; but Colonel Jacque had always the preference, upon many accounts. The major, as I have said, was merry and pleasant, but the colonel always held talk with the better sort—I mean the better sort of those that would converse with a beggar-boy. In this way of talk I was always upon the inquiry, asking questions of things done in public, as well as in private; particularly, I loved to talk with seamen and soldiers about the war, and about the great sea-fights or battles on shore that any of them had been in; and, as I never forgot anything they told me, I could soon, that is to say, in a few years, give almost as good an account of the Dutch war, and of the fights at sea, the battles in Flanders, the taking of Maestricht, and the like, as any of those that had been there; and this made those old soldiers and tars love to talk with me too, and to tell me all the stories they could think of, and that not only of the wars then going on, but also of the wars in Oliver’s time, the death of King Charles I., and the like.

By this means, as young as I was, I was a kind of an historian; and though I had read no books, and never had any books to read, yet I could give a tolerable account of what had been done and of what was then a-doing in the world, especially in those things that our own people were concerned in. I knew the names of every ship in the navy, and who commanded them too, and all this before I was fourteen years old, or but very soon after.

Captain Jacque in this time fell into bad company, and went away from us, and it was a good while before we ever heard tale or tidings of him, till about half a year, I think, or thereabouts. I understood he was got among a gang of kidnappers, as they were then called, being a sort of wicked fellows that used to spirit people’s children away; that is, snatch them up in the dark, and, stopping their mouths, carry them to such houses where they had rogues ready to receive them, and so carry them on board ships bound to Virginia, and sell them.

This was a trade that horrid Jacque, for so I called him when we were grown up, was very fit for, especially the violent part; for if a little child got into his clutches, he would stop the breath of it, instead of stopping its mouth, and never troubled his head with the child’s being almost strangled, so he did but keep it from making a noise. There was, it seems, some villainous thing done by this gang about that time, whether a child was murdered among them, or a child otherwise abused; but it seems it was a child of an eminent citizen, and the parent somehow or other got a scent of the thing, so that they recovered their child, though in a sad condition, and almost killed. I was too young, and it was too long ago, for me to remember the whole story, but they were all taken up and sent to Newgate, and Captain Jacque among the rest, though he was but young, for he was not then much above thirteen years old.

What punishment was inflicted upon the rogues of that gang I cannot tell now, but the captain, being but a lad, was ordered to be three times soundly whipped at Bridewell, my Lord Mayor, or the Recorder, telling him it was done in pity to him, to keep him from the gallows, not forgetting to tell him that he had a hanging look, and bid him have a care on that very account; so remarkable was the captain’s countenance, even so young, and which he heard of afterwards on many occasions. When he was in Bridewell I heard of his misfortune, and the major and I went to see him; for this was the first news we heard of what became of him.

The very day that we went he was called out to be corrected, as they called it, according to his sentence; and as it was ordered to be done soundly, so indeed they were true to the sentence; for the alderman who was the president of Bridewell, and whom I think they called Sir William Turner, held preaching to him about how young he was, and what pity it was such a youth should come to be hanged, and a great deal more; how he should take warning by it, and how wicked a thing it was that they should steal away poor innocent children, and the like; and all this while the man with a blue badge on lashed him most unmercifully, for he was not to leave off till Sir William knocked with a little hammer on the table.

The poor captain stamped and danced, and roared out like a mad boy; and I must confess I was frighted almost to death; for though I could not come near enough, being but a poor boy, to see how he was handled, yet I saw him afterwards with his back all wealed with the lashes, and in several places bloody, and thought I should have died with the sight of it; but I grew better acquainted with those things afterwards.

I did what I could to comfort the poor captain when I got leave to come to him. But the worst was not over with him, for he was to have two more such whippings before they had done with him; and indeed they scourged him so severely that they made him sick of the kidnapping trade for a great while; but he fell in among them again, and kept among them as long as that trade lasted, for it ceased in a few years afterwards.

The major and I, though very young, had sensible impressions made upon us for some time by the severe usage of the captain, and it might be very well said we were corrected as well as he, though not concerned in the crime; but it was within the year that the major, a good-conditioned, easy boy, was wheedled away by a couple of young rogues that frequented the glass-house apartments, to take a walk with them, as they were pleased to call it. The gentlemen were very well matched; the major was about twelve years old, and the oldest of the two that led him out was not above fourteen. The business was to go to Bartholomew Fair, and the end of going to Bartholomew Fair was, in short, to pick pockets.

The major knew nothing of the trade, and therefore was to do nothing; but they promised him a share with them for all that, as if he had been as expert as themselves. So away they went. The two dexterous young rogues managed it so well that by eight o’clock at night they came back to our dusty quarters at the glass-house, and, sitting them down in a corner, they began to share their spoil, by the light of the glass-house fire. The major lugged out the goods, for as fast as they made any purchase they unloaded themselves, and gave all to him, that, if they had been taken, nothing might be found about them.

It was a devilish lucky day to them, the devil certainly assisting them to find their prey, that he might draw in a young gamester, and encourage him to the undertaking, who had been made backward before by the misfortune of the captain. The list of their purchase the first night was as follows:—

1. A white handkerchief from a country wench, as she was staring up at a jack-pudding; there was 3s. 6d. and a row of pins tied up in one end of it.

2. A coloured handkerchief, out of a young country fellow’s pocket as he was buying a china orange.

3. A riband purse with 11s. 3d. and a silver thimble in it, out of a young woman’s pocket, just as a fellow offered to pick her up.

N.B.—She missed her purse presently, but, not seeing the thief, charged the man with it that would have picked her up, and cried out, “A pickpocket!” and he fell into the hands of the mob, but, being known in the street, he got off with great difficulty.

4. A knife and fork, that a couple of boys had just bought and were going home with; the young rogue that took it got it within the minute after the boy had put it in his pocket.

5. A little silver box with 7s. in it, all in small silver, 1d., 2d., 3d., 4d. pieces.

N.B.—This, it seems, a maid pulled out of her pocket, to pay at her going into the booth to see a show, and the little rogue got his hand in and fetched it off, just as she put it up again.

6. Another silk handkerchief, out of a gentleman’s pocket.

7. Another.

8. A jointed baby and a little looking-glass, stolen off a toy-seller’s stall in the fair.

All this cargo to be brought home clear in one afternoon, or evening rather, and by only two little rogues so young, was, it must be confessed, extraordinary; and the major was elevated the next day to a strange degree.

He came very early to me, who lay not far from him, and said to me, “Colonel Jacque, I want to speak with you.” “Well,” said I, “what do you say?” “Nay,” said he, “it is business of consequence; I cannot talk here;” so we walked out. As soon as we were come out into a narrow lane by the glass-house, “Look here,” says he, and pulls out his little hand almost full of money.

I was surprised at the sight, when he puts it up again, and, bringing his hand out, “Here,” says he, “you shall have some of it;” and gives me a sixpence and a shilling’s worth of the small silver pieces. This was very welcome to me, who, as much as I was of a gentleman, and as much as I thought of myself upon that account, never had a shilling of money together before in all my life, not that I could call my own.

I was very earnest then to know how he came by this wealth, for he had for his share 7s. 6d. in money, the silver thimble, and a silk handkerchief, which was, in short, an estate to him, that never had, as I said of myself, a shilling together in his life.

“And what will you do with it now, Jacque?” said I. “I do?” says he. “The first thing I do I’ll go into Rag Fair and buy me a pair of shoes and stockings.” “That’s right,” says I, “and so will I too;” so away we went together, and we bought each of us a pair of Rag Fair stockings in the first place for fivepence; not fivepence a pair, but fivepence together; and good stockings they were too, much above our wear, I assure you.

We found it more difficult to fit ourselves with shoes; but at last, having looked a great while before we could find any good enough for us, we found a shop very well stored, and of these we bought two pair for sixteenpence.

We put them on immediately, to our great comfort, for we had neither of us had any stockings to our legs that had any feet to them for a long time. I found myself so refreshed with having a pair of warm stockings on, and a pair of dry shoes—things, I say, which I had not been acquainted with a great while—that I began to call to my mind my being a gentleman, and now I thought it began to come to pass. When we had thus fitted ourselves I said, “Hark ye, Major Jacque, you and I never had any money in our lives before, and we never had a good dinner in all our lives. What if we should go somewhere and get some victuals? I am very hungry.”

“So we will, then,” says the major; “I am hungry too.” So we went to a boiling cook’s in Rosemary Lane, where we treated ourselves nobly, and, as I thought with myself, we began to live like gentlemen, for we had three pennyworth of boiled beef, two pennyworth of pudding, a penny brick (as they call it, or loaf), and a whole pint of strong beer, which was sevenpence in all.

N.B.—We had each of us a good mess of charming beef-broth into the bargain; and, which cheered my heart wonderfully, all the while we were at dinner, the maid and the boy in the house, every time they passed by the open box where we sat at our dinner, would look in and cry, “Gentlemen, do you call?” and “Do ye call, gentlemen?” I say, this was as good to me as all my dinner.

Not the best housekeeper in Stepney parish, not my Lord Mayor of London, no, not the greatest man on earth, could be more happy in their own imagination, and with less mixture of grief or reflection, than I was at this new piece of felicity; though mine was but a small part of it, for Major Jacque had an estate compared to me, as I had an estate compared to what I had before; in a word, nothing but an utter ignorance of greater felicity, which was my case, could make anybody think himself so exalted as I did, though I had no share of this booty but eighteenpence.

That night the major and I triumphed in our new enjoyment, and slept with an undisturbed repose in the usual place, surrounded with the warmth of the glass-house fires above, which was a full amends for all the ashes and cinders which we rolled in below.

Those who know the position of the glass-houses, and the arches where they neal the bottles after they are made, know that those places where the ashes are cast, and where the poor boys lie, are cavities in the brickwork, perfectly close, except at the entrance, and consequently warm as the dressing-room of a bagnio, that it is impossible they can feel any cold there, were it in Greenland or Nova Zembla, and that therefore the boys lie there not only safe, but very comfortably, the ashes excepted, which are no grievance at all to them.

The next day the major and his comrades went abroad again, and were still successful; nor did any disaster attend them, for I know not how many months; and, by frequent imitation and direction, Major Jacque became as dexterous a pickpocket as any of them, and went on through a long variety of fortunes, too long to enter upon now, because I am hastening to my own story, which at present is the main thing I have to set down.

The major failed not to let me see every day the effects of his new prosperity, and was so bountiful as frequently to throw me a tester, sometimes a shilling; and I might perceive that he began to have clothes on his back, to leave the ash-hole, having gotten a society lodging (of which I may give an explanation by itself on another occasion); and which was more, he took upon him to wear a shirt, which was what neither he or I had ventured to do for three years before, and upward.

But I observed all this while, that though Major Jacque was so prosperous and had thriven so well, and notwithstanding he was very kind, and even generous, to me, in giving me money upon many occasions, yet he never invited me to enter myself into the society or to embark with him, whereby I might have been made as happy as he; no, nor did he recommend the employment to me at all.

I was not very well pleased with his being thus reserved to me. I had learned from him in general that the business was picking of pockets, and I fancied that though the ingenuity of the trade consisted very much in sleight-of-hand, a good address, and being very nimble, yet that it was not at all difficult to learn; and, especially, I thought the opportunities were so many, the country people that come to London so foolish, so gaping, and so engaged in looking about them, that it was a trade with no great hazard annexed to it, and might be easily learned, if I did but know in general the manner of it, and how they went about it.

The subtle devil, never absent from his business, but ready at all occasions to encourage his servants, removed all these difficulties, and brought him into an intimacy with one of the most exquisite divers, or pickpockets, in the town; and this, our intimacy, was of no less a kind than that, as I had an inclination to be as wicked as any of them, he was for taking care that I should not be disappointed.

He was above the little fellows who went about stealing trifles and baubles in Bartholomew Fair, and ran the risk of being mobbed for three or four shillings. His aim was at higher things, even at no less than considerable sums of money, and bills for more.

He solicited me earnestly to go and take a walk with him as above, adding that after he had shown me my trade a little, he would let me be as wicked as I would; that is, as he expressed it, that after he had made me capable, I should set up for myself, if I pleased, and he would only wish me good luck.

Accordingly, as Major Jacque went with his gentlemen only to see the manner, and receive the purchase, and yet come in for a share; so he told me, if he had success, I should have my share as much as if I had been principal; and this he assured me was a custom of the trade, in order to encourage young beginners, and bring them into the trade with courage, for that nothing was to be done if a man had not the heart of the lion.

I hesitated at the matter a great while, objecting the hazard, and telling the story of Captain Jacque, my elder brother, as I might call him. “Well, colonel,” says he, “I find you are faint-hearted, and to be faint-hearted is indeed to be unfit for our trade, for nothing but a bold heart can go through stitch with this work; but, however, as there is nothing for you to do, so there is no risk for you to run in these things the first time. If I am taken,” says he, “you have nothing to do in it; they will let you go free; for it shall easily be made appear, that whatever I have done, you had no hand in it.”

Upon these persuasions I ventured out with him; but I soon found that my new friend was a thief of quality, and a pickpocket above the ordinary rank, and that aimed higher abundantly than my brother Jacque. He was a bigger boy than I a great deal; for though I was now near fifteen years old, I was not big of my age; and as to the nature of the thing, I was perfectly a stranger to it. I knew indeed what at first I did not, for it was a good while before I understood the thing as an offence. I looked on picking pockets as a kind of trade, and thought I was to go apprentice to it. It is true this was when I was young in the society, as well as younger in years, but even now I understood it to be only a thing for which, if we were catched, we ran the risk of being ducked or pumped, which we call soaking, and then all was over; and we made nothing of having our rags wetted a little; but I never understood, till a great while after, that the crime was capital, and that we might be sent to Newgate for it, till a great fellow, almost a man, one of our society, was hanged for it; and then I was terribly frighted, as you shall hear by-and-by.

Well, upon the persuasions of this lad, I walked out with him; a poor innocent boy, and (as I remember my very thoughts perfectly well) I had no evil in my intentions. I had never stolen anything in my life; and if a goldsmith had left me in his shop, with heaps of money strewed all round me, and bade me look after it, I should not have touched it, I was so honest; but the subtle tempter baited his hook for me, as I was a child, in a manner suited to my childishness, for I never took this picking of pockets to be dishonesty, but, as I have said above, I looked on it as a kind of trade that I was to be bred up to, and so I entered upon it, till I became hardened in it beyond the power of retreating. And thus I was made a thief involuntarily, and went on a length that few boys do, without coming to the common period of that kind of life—I mean to the transport-ship, or to the gallows.

The first day I went abroad with my new instructor, he carried me directly into the city, and as we went first to the water-side, he led me into the long-room at the custom-house. We were but a couple of ragged boys at best, but I was much the worse. My leader had a hat on, a shirt, and a neckcloth; as for me, I had neither of the three, nor had I spoiled my manners so much as to have a hat on my head since my nurse died, which was now some years. His orders to me were to keep always in sight, and near him, but not close to him, nor to take any notice of him at any time till he came to me; and if any hurly-burly happened, I should by no means know him, or pretend to have anything to do with him.

I observed my orders to a tittle. While he peered into every corner and had his eye upon everybody, I kept my eye directly upon him, but went always at a distance, and on the other side of the long-room, looking as it were for pins, and picking them up out of the dust as I could find them, and then sticking them on my sleeve, where I had at last gotten forty or fifty good pins; but still my eye was upon my comrade, who, I observed, was very busy among the crowds of people that stood at the board doing business with the officers who pass the entries and make the cockets, &c.

At length he comes over to me, and stooping as if he would take up a pin close to me, he put some thing into my hand, and said, “Put that up, and follow me downstairs quickly.” He did not run, but shuffled along apace through the crowd, and went down, not the great stairs which we came in at, but a little narrow staircase at the other end of the long-room. I followed, and he found I did, and so went on, not stopping below, as I expected, nor speaking one word to me, till, through innumerable narrow passages, alleys, and dark ways, we were got up into Fenchurch Street, and through Billiter Lane into Leadenhall Street, and from thence into Leadenhall Market.

It was not a meat-market day, so we had room to sit down upon one of the butchers’ stalls, and he bid me lug out. What he had given me was a little leather letter-case, with a French almanac stuck in the inside of it, and a great many papers in it of several kinds.

We looked them over, and found there was several valuable bills in it, such as bills of exchange and other notes, things I did not understand; but among the rest was a goldsmith’s note, as he called it, of one Sir Stephen Evans, for £300, payable to the bearer, and at demand. Besides this, there was another note for £12, 10s., being a goldsmith’s bill too, but I forget the name. There was a bill or two also written in French, which neither of us understood, but which, it seems, were things of value, being called foreign bills accepted.

The rogue, my master, knew what belonged to the goldsmiths’ bills well enough, and I observed, when he read the bill of Sir Stephen, he said, “This is too big for me to meddle with;” but when he came to the bill £12, 10s., he said to me, “This will do. Come hither, Jacque;” so away he runs to Lombard Street, and I after him, huddling the other papers into the letter-case. As he went along he inquired the name out immediately, and went directly to the shop, put on a good, grave countenance, and had the money paid him without any stop or question asked. I stood on the other side the way looking about the street, as not at all concerned with anybody that way, but observed that when he presented the bill he pulled out the letter-case, as if he had been a merchant’s boy, acquainted with business, and had other bills about him.

They paid him the money in gold, and he made haste enough in telling it over, and came away, passing by me, and going into Three King Court, on the other side of the way; then we crossed back into Clement’s Lane, made the best of our way to Cole Harbour, at the water-side, and got a sculler for a penny to carry us over the water to St. Mary Overy’s stairs, where we landed, and were safe enough.

Here he turns to me; “Colonel Jacque,” says he, “I believe you are a lucky boy; this is a good job. We’ll go away to St. George’s Fields and share our booty.” Away we went to the Fields, and sitting down in the grass, far enough out of the path, he pulled out the money. “Look here, Jacque,” says he, “did you ever see the like before in your life?” “No, never,” says I; and added very innocently, “Must we have it all?” “We have it!” says he, “who should have it?” “Why,” says I, “must the man have none of it again that lost it?” “He have it again!” says he. “What d’ye mean by that?” “Nay, I don’t know,” says I. “Why, you said just now you would let him have the t’other bill again, that you said was too big for you.”

He laughed at me. “You are but a little boy,” says he, “that’s true, but I thought you had not been such a child neither;” so he mighty gravely explained the thing to me thus: that the bill of Sir Stephen Evans was a great bill for £300, “and if I,” says he, “that am but a poor lad, should venture to go for the money, they will presently say, how should I come by such a bill, and that I certainly found it or stole it; so they will stop me,” says he, “and take it away from me, and it may bring me into trouble for it too; so,” says he, “I did say it was too big for me to meddle with, and that I would let the man have it again, if I could tell how. But for the money, Jacque, the money that we have got, I warrant you he should have none of that. Besides,” says he, “whoever he be that has lost this letter-case, to be sure, as soon as he missed it, he would run to the goldsmith and give notice that if anybody came for the money they would be stopped; but I am too old for him there,” says he.

“Why,” says I, “and what will you do with the bill? Will you throw it away? If you do, somebody else will find it,” says I, “and they will go and take the money.” “No, no,” says he; “then they will be stopped and examined, as I tell you I should be.” I did not know well what all this meant, so I talked no more about that; but we fell to handling the money. As for me, I had never seen so much together in all my life, nor did I know what in the world to do with it, and once or twice I was a-going to bid him keep it for me, which would have been done like a child indeed, for, to be sure, I had never heard a word more of it, though nothing had befallen him.

However, as I happened to hold my tongue as to that part, he shared the money very honestly with me; only at the end he told me, that though it was true he promised me half, yet as it was the first time, and I had done nothing but look on, so he thought it was very well if I took a little less than he did; so he divided the money, which was £12, 10s., into two exact parts, viz., £6, 5s. in each part; then he took £1, 5s. from my part, and told me I should give him that for hansel. “Well,” says I, “take it, then, for I think you deserve it all:” so, however, I took up the rest, and “What shall I do with this now,” says I, “for I have nowhere to put it?” “Why, have you no pockets?” says he. “Yes,” says I; “but they are full of holes.” I have often thought since that, and with some mirth too, how I had really more wealth than I knew what to do with; for lodging I had none, nor any box or drawer to hide my money in; nor had I any pocket, but such as I say was full of holes. I knew nobody in the world that I could go and desire them to lay it up for me; for, being a poor naked, ragged boy, they would presently say I had robbed somebody, and perhaps lay hold of me, and my money would be my crime, as they say it often is in foreign countries. And now, as I was full of wealth, behold I was full of care, for what to do to secure my money I could not tell; and this held me so long, and was so vexatious to me the next day, that I truly sat down and cried.

Nothing could be more perplexing than this money was to me all that night. I carried it in my hand a good while, for it was in gold, all but 14s.; and that is to say, it was in four guineas, and that 14s. was more difficult to carry than the four guineas. At last I sat down and pulled off one of my shoes, and put the four guineas into that; but after I had gone a while, my shoe hurt me so I could not go, so I was fain to sit down again and take it out of my shoe, and carry it in my hand. Then I found a dirty linen rag in the street, and I took that up and wrapped it all together, and carried it in that a good way. I have often since heard people say, when they have been talking of money that they could not get in, “I wish I had it in a foul clout;” in truth, I had mine in a foul clout; for it was foul, according to the letter of that saying, but it served me till I came to a convenient place, and then I sat down and washed the cloth in the kennel, and so then put my money in again.

Well, I carried it home with me to my lodging in the glass-house, and when I went to go to sleep I knew not what to do with it. If I had let any of the black crew I was with know of it, I should have been smothered in the ashes for it, or robbed of it, or some trick or other put upon me for it; so I knew not what to do, but lay with it in my hand, and my hand in my bosom. But then sleep went from my eyes. Oh, the weight of human care! I, a poor beggar-boy, could not sleep so soon as I had but a little money to keep, who before that could have slept upon a heap of brick-bats, or stones, or cinders, or anywhere, as sound as a rich man does on his down bed, and sounder too.

Every now and then dropping asleep, I should dream that my money was lost, and start like one frighted; then, finding it fast in my hand, try to go to sleep again, but could not for a long while; then drop and start again. At last a fancy came into my head that if I fell asleep I should dream of the money, and talk of it in my sleep, and tell that I had money, which if I should do, and one of the rogues should hear me, they would pick it out of my bosom, and of my hand too, without waking me; and after that thought I could not sleep a wink more; so that I passed that night over in care and anxiety enough; and this, I may safely say, was the first night’s rest that I lost by the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches.

As soon as it was day I got out of the hole we lay in, and rambled abroad in the fields towards Stepney, and there I mused and considered what I should do with this money, and many a time I wished that I had not had it; for, after all my ruminating upon it, and what course I should take with it, or where I should put it, I could not hit upon any one thing, or any possible method to secure it, and it perplexed me so that at last, as I said just now, I sat down and cried heartily.

When my crying was over the case was the same; I had the money still, and what to do with it I could not tell. At last it came into my head that I would look out for some hole in a tree, and seek to hide it there till I should have occasion for it. Big was this discovery, as I then thought it. I began to look about me for a tree; but there were no trees in the fields about Stepney or Mile End that looked fit for my purpose; and if there were any that I began to look narrowly at, the fields were so full of people that they would see if I went to hide any thing there; and I thought the people eyed me as it was, and that two men in particular followed me to see what I intended to do.

This drove me farther off, and I crossed the road at Mile End, and in the middle of the town went down a lane that goes away to the Blind Beggar’s at Bethnal Green. When I came a little way in the lane I found a footpath over the fields, and in those fields several trees for my turn, as I thought. At last one tree had a little hole in it, pretty high out of my reach, and I climbed up the tree to get it, and when I came there I put my hand in, and found (as I thought) a place very fit, so I placed my treasure there, and was mighty well satisfied with it; but, behold, putting my hand in again to lay it more commodiously, as I thought, of a sudden it slipped away from me, and I found the tree was hollow, and my little parcel was fallen in quite out of my reach, and how far it might go in I knew not; so that, in a word, my money was quite gone, irrecoverably lost. There could be no room so much as to hope ever to see it again, for ’twas a vast great tree.

As young as I was, I was now sensible what a fool I was before, that I could not think of ways to keep my money, but I must come thus far to throw it into a hole where I could not reach it. Well, I thrust my hand quite up to my elbow, but no bottom was to be found, or any end of the hole or cavity. I got a stick of the tree, and thrust it in a great way, but all was one. Then I cried, nay, roared out, I was in such a passion. Then I got down the tree again, then up again, and thrust in my hand again till I scratched my arm and made it bleed, and cried all the while most violently. Then I began to think I had not so much as a halfpenny of it left for a halfpenny roll, and I was hungry, and then I cried again. Then I came away in despair, crying and roaring like a little boy that had been whipped; then I went back again to the tree, and up the tree again, and thus I did several times. The last time I had gotten up the tree I happened to come down not on the same side that I went up and came down before, but on the other side of the tree, and on the side of the bank also; and, behold, the tree had a great open place in the side of it close to the ground, as old hollow trees often have; and looking into the open place, to my inexpressible joy, there lay my money and my linen rag, all wrapped up just as I had put it into the hole; for the tree being hollow all the way up, there had been some moss or light stuff, which I had not judgment enough to know was not firm, and had given way when it came to drop out of my hand, and so it had slipped quite down at once.

I was but a child, and I rejoiced like a child, for I halloed quite out loud when I saw it; then I ran to it, and snatched it up, hugged and kissed the dirty rag a hundred times; then danced and jumped about, ran from one end of the field to the other, and, in short, I knew not what; much less do I know now what I did, though I shall never forget the thing, either what a sinking grief it was to my heart when I thought I had lost it, or what a flood of joy overwhelmed me when I had got it again.

While I was in the first transport of my joy, as I have said, I ran about, and knew not what I did; but when that was over I sat down, opened the foul clout the money was in, looked at it, told it, found it was all there, and then I fell a-crying as savourly as I did before, when I thought I had lost it.

It would tire the reader should I dwell on all the little boyish tricks that I played in the ecstasy of my joy and satisfaction when I had found my money; so I break off here. Joy is as extravagant as grief, and since I have been a man I have often thought, that had such a thing befallen a man, so to have lost all he had, and not have a bit of bread to eat, and then so strangely to find it again, after having given it so effectually over—I say, had it been so with a man, it might have hazarded his using some violence upon himself.

Well, I came away with my money, and having taken sixpence out of it, before I made it up again I went to a chandler’s shop in Mile End and bought a halfpenny roll and a halfpenny worth of cheese, and sat down at the door after I bought it, and ate it very heartily, and begged some beer to drink with it, which the good woman gave me very freely.

Away I went then for the town, to see if I could find any of my companions, and resolved I would try no more hollow trees for my treasure. As I came along Whitechapel I came by a broker’s shop over against the church, where they sold old clothes, for I had nothing on but the worst of rags; so I stopped at the shop, and stood looking at the clothes which hung at the door.

“Well, young gentleman,” says a man that stood at the door, “you look wishfully. Do you see any thing you like, and will your pocket compass a good coat now, for you look as if you belonged to the ragged regiment?” I was affronted at the fellow. “What’s that to you,” says I, “how ragged I am? If I had seen anything I liked, I have money to pay for it; but I can go where I shan’t be huffed at for looking.”

While I said thus pretty boldly to the fellow comes a woman out. “What ails you,” says she to the man, “to bully away our customers so? A poor boy’s money is as good as my Lord Mayor’s. If poor people did not buy old clothes, what would become of our business?” And then turning to me, “Come hither, child,” says she; “if thou hast a mind to anything I have, you shan’t be hectored by him. The boy is a pretty boy, I assure you,” says she to another woman that was by this time come to her. “Ay,” says the t’other, “so he is, a very well-looking child, if he was clean and well dressed, and may be as good a gentleman’s son, for anything we know, as any of those that are well dressed. Come, my dear,” says she, “tell me what is it you would have.” She pleased me mightily to hear her talk of my being a gentleman’s son, and it brought former things to my mind; but when she talked of my being not clean and in rags, then I cried.

She pressed me to tell her if I saw anything that I wanted. I told her no, all the clothes I saw there were too big for me. “Come, child,” says she, “I have two things here that will fit you, and I am sure you want them both; that is, first, a little hat, and there,” says she (tossing it to me), “I’ll give you that for nothing. And here is a good warm pair of breeches; I dare say,” says she, “they will fit you, and they are very tight and good; and,” says she, “if you should ever come to have so much money that you don’t know what to do with it, here are excellent good pockets,” says she, “and a little fob to put your gold in, or your watch in, when you get it.”

It struck me with a strange kind of joy that I should have a place to put my money in, and need not go to hide it again in a hollow tree, that I was ready to snatch the breeches out of her hands, and wondered that I should be such a fool never to think of buying me a pair of breeches before, that I might have a pocket to put my money in, and not carry it about two days together in my hand, and in my shoes and I knew not how; so, in a word, I gave her two shillings for the breeches, and went over into the churchyard and put them on, put my money into my new pockets, and was as pleased as a prince is with his coach and six horses. I thanked the good woman too for the hat, and told her I would come again when I got more money, and buy some other things I wanted; and so I came away.

I was but a boy, ’tis true, but I thought myself a man, now I had got a pocket to put my money in, and I went directly to find out my companion by whose means I got it; but I was frighted out of my wits when I heard that he was carried to Bridewell. I made no question but it was for the letter-case, and that I should be carried there too; and then my poor brother Captain Jacque’s case came into my head, and that I should be whipped there as cruelly as he was, and I was in such a fright that I knew not what to do.

But in the afternoon I met him; he had been carried to Bridewell, it seems, upon that very affair, but was got out again. The case was thus: having had such good luck at the custom-house the day before, he takes his walk thither again, and as he was in the long-room, gaping and staring about him, a fellow lays hold of him, and calls to one of the clerks that sat behind, “Here,” says he, “is the same young rogue that I told you I saw loitering about t’other day, when the gentleman lost his letter-case and his goldsmiths’ bills; I dare say it was he that stole them.” Immediately the whole crowd of people gathered about the boy, and charged him point-blank; but he was too well used to such things to be frighted into a confession of what he knew they could not prove, for he had nothing about him belonging to it, nor had any money but six pence and a few dirty farthings.

They threatened him, and pulled and hauled him, till they almost pulled the clothes off his back, and the commissioners examined him; but all was one; he would own nothing, but said he walked up through the room, only to see the place, both then and the time before, for he had owned he was there before; so, as there was no proof against him of any fact, no, nor of any circumstances relating to the letter-case, they were forced at last to let him go. However, they made a show of carrying him to Bridewell, and they did carry him to the gate to see if they could make him confess anything; but he would confess nothing, and they had no mittimus; so they durst not carry him into the house; nor would the people have received him, I suppose, if they had, they having no warrant for putting him in prison.

Well, when they could get nothing out of him, they carried him into an alehouse, and there they told him that the letter-case had bills in it of a very great value; that they would be of no use to the rogue that had them, but they would be of infinite damage to the gentleman that had lost them; and that he had left word with the clerk, whom the man that stopped this boy had called to, and who was there with him, that he would give £30 to any one that would bring them again, and give all the security that could be desired that he would give them no trouble, whoever it was.

He was just come from out of their hands when I met with him, and so he told me all the story. “But,” says he, “I would confess nothing, and so I got off, and am come away clear.” “Well,” says I, “and what will you do with the letter-case and the bills? Will you not let the poor man have his bills again?” “No, not I,” says he; “I won’t trust them. What care I for their bills?” It came into my head, as young as I was, that it was a sad thing indeed to take a man’s bills away for so much money, and not have any advantage by it neither; for I concluded that the gentleman who owned the bills must lose all the money, and it was strange he should keep the bills, and make a gentleman lose so much money for nothing. I remember that I ruminated very much about it, and though I did not understand it very well, yet it lay upon my mind, and I said every now and then to him, “Do let the gentleman have his bills again; do, pray do;” and so I teased him, with “Do” and “Pray do,” till at last I cried about them. He said, “What, would you have me be found out and sent to Bridewell, and be whipped, as your brother Captain Jacque was?” I said, “No, I would not have you whipped, but I would have the man have his bills, for they will do you no good, but the gentleman will be undone, it may be.” And then I added again, “Do let him have them.” He snapped me short. “Why,” says he, “how shall I get them to him? Who dare carry them? I dare not, to be sure, for they will stop me, and bring the goldsmith to see if he does not know me, and that I received the money, and so they will prove the robbery, and I shall be hanged. Would you have me be hanged, Jacque?”

I was silenced a good while with that, for when he said, “Would you have me be hanged, Jacque?” I had no more to say. But one day after this he called to me. “Colonel Jacque,” says he, “I have thought of a way how the gentleman shall have his bills again; and you and I shall get a good deal of money by it, if you will be honest to me, as I was to you.” “Indeed,” says I, “Robin”—that was his name—“I will be very honest; let me know how it is, for I would fain have him have his bills.”

“Why,” says he, “they told me that he had left word at the clerk’s place in the long-room that he would give £30 to any one that had the bills, and would restore them, and would ask no questions. Now, if you will go, like a poor innocent boy, as you are, into the long-room and speak to the clerk, it may do. Tell him if the gentleman will do as he promised, you believe you can tell him who has it; and if they are civil to you, and willing to be as good as their words, you shall have the letter-case, and give it them.”

I told him ay, I would go with all my heart. “But, Colonel Jacque,” says he, “what if they should take hold of you and threaten to have you whipped? Won’t you discover me to them?” “No,” says I; “if they would whip me to death I won’t.” “Well, then,” says he, “there’s the letter-case; do you go.” So he gave me directions how to act and what to say; but I would not take the letter-case with me, lest they should prove false, and take hold of me, thinking to find it upon me, and so charge me with the fact; so I left it with him. And the next morning I went to the custom-house, as was agreed. What my directions were will, to avoid repetition, appear in what happened; it was an errand of too much consequence indeed to be entrusted to a boy, not only so young as I was, but so little of a rogue as I was yet arrived to the degree of.

Two things I was particularly armed with, which I resolved upon: 1. That the man should have his bills again; for it seemed a horrible thing to me that he should be made to lose his money, which I supposed he must, purely because we would not carry the letter-case home. 2. That whatever happened to me, I was never to tell the name of my comrade Robin, who had been the principal. With these two pieces of honesty, for such they were both in themselves, and with a manly heart, though a boy’s head, I went up into the long-room in the custom-house the next day.

As soon as I came to the place where the thing was done, I saw the man sit just where he had sat before, and it ran in my head that he had sat there ever since; but I knew no better; so I went up, and stood just at that side of the writing-board that goes upon that side of the room, and which I was but just tall enough to lay my arms upon.

While I stood there one thrust me this way, and another thrust me that way, and the man that sat behind began to look at me. At last he called out to me, “What does that boy do there? Get you gone, sirrah! Are you one of the rogues that stole the gentleman’s letter-case a Monday last?” Then he turns his tale to a gentleman that was doing business with him, and goes on thus: “Here was Mr.——had a very unlucky chance on Monday last. Did not you hear of it?” “No, not I,” says the gentleman. “Why, standing just there, where you do,” says he, “making his entries, he pulled out his letter-case, and laid it down, as he says, but just at his hand, while he reached over to the standish there for a penful of ink, and somebody stole away his letter-case.”

“His letter-case!” says t’other. “What, and was there any bills in it?”

“Ay,” says he, “there was Sir Stephen Evans’s note in it for £300, and another goldsmith’s bill for about £12; and which is worse still for the gentleman, he had two foreign accepted bills in it for a great sum—I know not how much. I think one was a French bill for 1200 crowns.”

“And who could it be?” says the gentleman.

“Nobody knows,” says he; “but one of our room-keepers says he saw a couple of young rogues like that,” pointing at me, “hanging about here, and that on a sudden they were both gone.”

“Villains!” says he again. “Why, what can they do with them? They will be of no use to them. I suppose he went immediately and gave notice to prevent the payment.”

“Yes,” says the clerk, “he did; but the rogues were too nimble for him with the little bill of £12 odd money; they went and got the money for that, but all the rest are stopped. However, ’tis an unspeakable damage to him for want of his money.”

“Why, he should publish a reward for the encouragement of those that have them to bring them again; they would be glad to bring them, I warrant you.”

“He has posted it up at the door that he will give £30 for them.”

“Ay; but he should add that he will promise not to stop or give any trouble to the person that brings them.”

“He has done that too,” says he; “but I fear they won’t trust themselves to be honest, for fear he should break his word.”

“Why? It is true he may break his word in that case, but no man should do so; for then no rogue will venture to bring home anything that is stolen, and so he would do an injury to others after him.”

“I durst pawn my life for him, he would scorn it.”

Thus far they discoursed of it, and then went off to something else. I heard it all, but did not know what to do a great while; but at last, watching the gentleman that went away, when he was gone I ran after him to have spoken to him, intending to have broke it to him, but he went hastily into a room or two full of people at the hither end of the long-room; and when I went to follow, the doorkeepers turned me back, and told me I must not go in there; so I went back, and loitered about near the man that sat behind the board, and hung about there till I found the clock struck twelve, and the room began to be thin of people; and at last he sat there writing, but nobody stood at the board before him, as there had all the rest of the morning. Then I came a little nearer, and stood close to the board, as I did before; when, looking up from his paper, and seeing me, says he to me, “You have been up and down here all this morning, sirrah! What do you want? You have some business that is not very good, I doubt.”

“No, I han’t,” said I.

“No? It is well if you han’t,” says he. “Pray, what business can you have in the long-room, sir? You are no merchant.”

“I would speak with you,” said I.

“With me!” says he. “What have you to say to me?”

“I have something to say,” said I, “if you will do me no harm for it.”

“I do thee harm, child! What harm should I do thee?” and spoke very kindly.

“Won’t you indeed, sir?” said I.

“No, not I, child; I’ll do thee no harm. What is it? Do you know anything of the gentleman’s letter-case?”

I answered, but spoke softly that he could not hear me; so he gets over presently into the seat next him, and opens a place that was made to come out, and bade me come in to him; and I did.

Then he asked me again if I knew anything of the letter-case.

I spoke softly again, and said folks would hear him.

Then he whispered softly, and asked me again.

I told him I believed I did, but that, indeed, I had it not, nor had no hand in stealing it, but it was gotten into the hands of a boy that would have burned it, if it had not been for me; and that I heard him say that the gentleman would be glad to have them again, and give a good deal of money for them.

“I did say so, child,” said he; “and if you can get them for him, he shall give you a good reward, no less than £30, as he has promised.”

“But you said too, sir, to the gentleman just now,” said I, “that you was sure he would not bring them into any harm that should bring them.”

“No, you shall come to no harm. I will pass my word for it.”

Boy. Nor shan’t they make me bring other people into trouble?

Gent. No; you shall not be asked the name of anybody, nor to tell who they are.

Boy. I am but a poor boy, and I would fain have the gentleman have his bills; and indeed I did not take them away, nor I han’t got them.

Gent. But can you tell how the gentleman shall have them?

Boy. If I can get them, I will bring them to you to-morrow morning.

Gent. Can you not do it to-night?

Boy. I believe I may if I knew where to come.

Gent. Come to my house, child.

Boy. I don’t know where you live.

Gent. Go along with me now, and you shall see.

So he carried me up into Tower Street, and showed me his house, and ordered me to come there at five o’clock at night; which accordingly I did, and carried the letter-case with me.

When I came the gentleman asked me if I had brought the book, as he called it.

“It is not a book,” said I.

“No, the letter-case; that’s all one,” says he.

“You promised me,” said I, “you would not hurt me,” and cried.

“Don’t be afraid, child,” says he. “I will not hurt thee, poor boy; nobody shall hurt thee.”

“Here it is,” said I, and pulled it out.

He then brought in another gentleman, who, it seems, owned the letter-case, and asked him if that was it, and he said, “Yes.”

Then he asked me if all the bills were in it.

I told him I heard him say there was one gone, but I believed there was all the rest.

“Why do you believe so?” says he.

“Because I heard the boy that I believe stole them say they were too big for him to meddle with.”

The gentleman then that owned them said, “Where is the boy?”

Then the other gentleman put in, and said, “No, you must not ask him that; I passed my word that you should not, and that he should not be obliged to tell it to anybody.”

“Well, child,” says he, “you will let us see the letter-case opened, and whether the bills are in it?”

“Yes,” says I.

Then the first gentleman said, “How many bills were there in it?”

“Only three,” says he. “Besides the bill of £12, 10s., there was Sir Stephen Evans’s note for £300 and two foreign bills.”

“Well, then, if they are in the letter-case, the boy shall have £30, shall he not?” “Yes,” says the gentleman; “he shall have it very freely.”

“Come, then, child,” says he, “let me open it.”

So I gave it him, and he opened it, and there were all three bills, and several other papers, fair and safe, nothing defaced or diminished; and the gentleman said, “All is right.”

Then said the first man, “Then I am security to the poor boy for the money.” “Well, but,” says the gentleman, “the rogues have got the £12, 10s.; they ought to reckon that as part of the £30.” Had he asked me, I should have consented to it at first word; but the first man stood my friend. “Nay,” says he, “it was since you knew that the £12, 10s. was received that you offered £30 for the other bills, and published it by the crier, and posted it up at the custom-house door, and I promised him the £30 this morning.” They argued long, and I thought would have quarrelled about it.

However, at last they both yielded a little, and the gentleman gave me £25 in good guineas. When he gave it me he bade me hold out my hand, and he told the money into my hand; and when he had done he asked me if it was right. I said I did not know, but I believed it was. “Why,” says he, “can’t you tell it?” I told him no; I never saw so much money in my life, nor I did not know how to tell money. “Why,” says he, “don’t you know that they are guineas?” No, I told him, I did not know how much a guinea was.

“Why, then,” says he, “did you tell me you believed it was right?” I told him, because I believed he would not give it me wrong.

“Poor child,” says he, “thou knowest little of the world, indeed. What art thou?”

“I am a poor boy,” says I, and cried.

“What is your name?” says he. “But hold, I forgot,” said he; “I promised I would not ask your name, so you need not tell me.”

“My name is Jacque,” said I.

“Why, have you no surname?” said he.

“What is that?” said I.

“You have some other name besides Jacque,” says he, “han’t you?”

“Yes,” says I; “they call me Colonel Jacque.”

“But have you no other name?”

“No,” said I.

“How came you to be Colonel Jacque, pray?”

“They say,” said I, “my father’s name was Colonel.”

“Is your father or mother alive?” said he.

“No,” said I; “my father is dead.”

“Where is your mother, then?” said he.

“I never had e’er a mother,” said I.

This made him laugh. “What,” said he, “had you never a mother? What, then?”

“I had a nurse,” said I; “but she was not my mother.”

“Well,” says he to the gentleman, “I dare say this boy was not the thief that stole your bills.”

“Indeed, sir, I did not steal them,” said I, and cried again.

“No, no, child,” said he, “we don’t believe you did. This is a very clever boy,” says he to the other gentleman, “and yet very ignorant and honest; ’tis pity some care should not be taken of him, and something done for him. Let us talk a little more with him.” So they sat down and drank wine, and gave me some, and then the first gentleman talked to me again.

“Well,” says he, “what wilt thou do with this money now thou hast it?”

“I don’t know,” said I.

“Where will you put it?” said he,

“In my pocket,” said I.

“In your pocket!” said he. “Is your pocket whole? Shan’t you lose it?”

“Yes,” said I, “my pocket is whole.”

“And where will you put it when you get home?”

“I have no home,” said I, and cried again.

“Poor child!” said he. “Then what dost thou do for thy living?”

“I go of errands,” said I, “for the folks in Rosemary Lane.”

“And what dost thou do for a lodging at night?”

“I lie at the glass-house,” said I, “at night.”

“How, lie at the glass-house! Have they any beds there?” says he.

“I never lay in a bed in my life,” said I, “as I remember.”

“Why,” says he, “what do you lie on at the glass-house?”

“The ground,” says I; “and sometimes a little straw, or upon the warm ashes.”

Here the gentleman that lost the bills said, “This poor child is enough to make a man weep for the miseries of human nature, and be thankful for himself; he puts tears into my eyes.” “And into mine too,” says the other.

“Well, but hark ye, Jacque,” says the first gentleman, “do they give you no money when they send you of errands?”

“They give me victuals,” said I, “and that’s better.”

“But what,” says he, “do you do for clothes?”

“They give me sometimes old things,” said I, “such as they have to spare.”

“Why, you have never a shirt on, I believe,” said he, “have you?”

“No; I never had a shirt,” said I, “since my nurse died.”

“How long ago is that?” said he.

“Six winters, when this is out,” said I.

“Why, how old are you?” said he.

“I can’t tell,” said I.

“Well,” says the gentleman, “now you have this money, won’t you buy some clothes and a shirt with some of it?”

“Yes,” said I, “I would buy some clothes.”

“And what will you do with the rest?”

“I can’t tell,” said I, and cried.

“What dost cry for, Jacque?” said he.

“I am afraid,” said I, and cried still.

“What art afraid of?”

“They will know I have money.”

“Well, and what then?”

“Then I must sleep no more in the warm glass house, and I shall be starved with cold. They will take away my money.”

“But why must you sleep there no more?”

Here the gentlemen observed to one another how naturally anxiety and perplexity attend those that have money. “I warrant you,” says the clerk, “when this poor boy had no money he slept all night in the straw, or on the warm ashes in the glass-house, as soundly and as void of care as it would be possible for any creature to do; but now, as soon as he has gotten money, the care of preserving it brings tears into his eyes and fear into his heart.”

They asked me a great many questions more, to which I answered in my childish way as well as I could, but so as pleased them well enough. At last I was going away with a heavy pocket, and I assure you not a light heart, for I was so frighted with having so much money that I knew not what in the earth to do with myself. I went away, however, and walked a little way, but I could not tell what to do; so, after rambling two hours or thereabout, I went back again, and sat down at the gentleman’s door, and there I cried as long as I had any moisture in my head to make tears of, but never knocked at the door.

I had not sat long, I suppose, but somebody belonging to the family got knowledge of it, and a maid came and talked to me, but I said little to her, only cried still. At length it came to the gentleman’s ears. As for the merchant, he was gone. When the gentleman heard of me he called me in, and began to talk with me again, and asked me what I stayed for.

I told him I had not stayed there all that while, for I had been gone a great while, and was come again.

“Well,” says he, “but what did you come again for?”

“I can’t tell,” says I.

“And what do you cry so for?” said he. “I hope you have not lost your money, have you?”

No, I told him, I had not lost it yet, but was afraid I should.

“And does that make you cry?” says he.

I told him yes, for I knew I should not be able to keep it, but they would cheat me of it, or they would kill me and take it away from me too.

“They?” says he. “Who? What sort of gangs of people art thou with?”

I told him they were all boys, but very wicked boys; “thieves and pickpockets,” said I, “such as stole this letter-case—a sad pack; I can’t abide them.”

“Well, Jacque,” said he, “what shall be done for thee? Will you leave it with me? Shall I keep it for you?”

“Yes,” said I, “with all my heart, if you please.”

“Come, then,” says he, “give it me; and that you may be sure that I have it, and you shall have it honestly again, I’ll give you a bill for it, and for the interest of it, and that you may keep safe enough. Nay,” added he, “and if you lose it, or anybody takes it from you, none shall receive the money but your self, or any part of it.”

I presently pulled out all the money, and gave it to him, only keeping about 15s. for myself to buy some clothes; and thus ended the conference between us on the first occasion, at least for the first time. Having thus secured my money to my full satisfaction, I was then perfectly easy, and accordingly the sad thoughts that afflicted my mind before began to vanish away.

This was enough to let any one see how all the sorrows and anxieties of men’s lives come about; how they rise from their restless pushing at getting of money, and the restless cares of keeping it when they have got it. I that had nothing, and had not known what it was to have had anything, knew nothing of the care, either of getting or of keeping it; I wanted nothing, who wanted everything; I had no care, no concern about where I should get my victuals or how I should lodge; I knew not what money was, or what to do with it; and never knew what it was not to sleep till I had money to keep, and was afraid of losing it.

I had, without doubt, an opportunity at this time, if I had not been too foolish, and too much a child to speak for myself—I had an opportunity, I say, to have got into the service, or perhaps to be under some of the care and concern, of these gentlemen; for they seemed to be very fond of doing some thing for me, and were surprised at the innocence of my talk to them, as well as at the misery (as they thought it) of my condition.

But I acted indeed like a child; and leaving my money, as I have said, I never went near them for several years after. What course I took, and what befell me in that interval, has so much variety in it, and carries so much instruction in it, that it requires an account of it by itself.

The first happy chance that offered itself to me in the world was now over. I had got money, but I neither knew the value of it or the use of it; the way of living I had begun was so natural to me, I had no notion of bettering it; I had not so much as any desire of buying me any clothes—no, not so much as a shirt; and much less had I any thought of getting any other lodging than in the glass-house, and loitering about the streets, as I had done; for I knew no good, and had tasted no evil; that is to say, the life I had led being not evil in my account.

In this state of ignorance I returned to my really miserable life; so it was in itself, and was only not so to me because I did not understand how to judge of it, and had known no better.

My comrade that gave me back the bills, and who, if I had not pressed him, designed never to have restored them, never asked me what I had given me, but told me if they gave me anything it should be my own; for, as he said he would not run the venture of being seen in the restoring them, I deserved the reward if there was any; neither did he trouble his head with inquiring what I had, or whether I had anything or no; so my title to what I had got was clear.

I went now up and down just as I did before. I had money indeed in my pocket, but I let nobody know it. I went of errands cheerfully as before, and accepted of what anybody gave me with as much thankfulness as ever. The only difference that I made with myself was, that if I was hungry, and nobody employed me, or gave me anything to eat, I did not beg from door to door, as I did at first, but went to a boiling-house, as I said once before, and got a mess of broth and a piece of bread, price a halfpenny; very seldom any meat; or if I treated myself, it was a halfpennyworth of cheese; all which expense did not amount to above twopence or three pence a week; for, contrary to the usage of the rest of the tribe, I was extremely frugal, and I had not disposed of any of the guineas which I had at first; neither, as I said to the custom-house gentleman, could I tell what a guinea was made of, or what it was worth.

After I had been about a month thus, and had done nothing, my comrade, as I called him, came to me one morning. “Colonel Jacque,” says he, “when shall you and I take a walk again?” “When you will,” said I. “Have you got no business yet?” says he. “No,” says I; and so one thing bringing on another, he told me I was a fortunate wretch, and he believed I would be so again, but that he must make a new bargain with me now; “for,” says he, “colonel, the first time we always let a raw brother come in for full share to encourage him; but afterwards, except it be when he puts himself forward well and runs equal hazard, he stands to courtesy; but as we are gentlemen, we always do very honourably by one another; and if you are willing to trust it or leave it to me, I shall do handsomely by you, that you may depend upon.” I told him I was not able to do anything, that was certain, for I did not understand it, and therefore I could not expect to get anything, but I would do as he bade me; so we walked abroad together.

We went no more to the custom-house; it was too bold a venture. Besides, I did not care to show myself again, especially with him in company. But we went directly to the Exchange, and we hankered about in Castle Alley, and in Swithin’s Alley, and at the coffee-house doors. It was a very unlucky day, for we got nothing all day but two or three handkerchiefs, and came home to the old lodgings at the glass-house; nor had I had anything to eat or drink all day but a piece of bread which he gave me, and some water at the conduit at the Exchange Gate. So when he was gone from me, for he did not lie in the glass-house, as I did, I went to my old broth-house for my usual bait, and refreshed myself, and the next day early went to meet him again, as he appointed me.

Being early in the morning, he took his walk to Billingsgate, where it seems two sorts of people make a great crowd as soon as it is light, and at that time a-year rather before daylight; that is to say, crimps and the masters of coal-ships, whom they call collier-masters; and, secondly, fishmongers, fish-sellers, and buyers of fish.

It was the first of these people that he had his eye upon. So he gives me my orders, which was thus: “Go you,” says he, “into all the alehouses as we go along, and observe where any people are telling of money; and when you find any, come and tell me.” So he stood at the door, and I went into the houses. As the collier-masters generally sell their coals at the gate, as they call it, so they generally receive their money in those alehouses; and it was not long before I brought him word of several. Upon this he went in and made his observations, but found nothing to his purpose. At length I brought him word that there was a man in such a house who had received a great deal of money of somebody, I believed of several people, and that it lay all upon the table in heaps, and he was very busy writing down the sums and putting it up in several bags. “Is he?” says he; “I’ll warrant him I will have some of it;” and in he goes. He walks up and down the house, which had several open tables and boxes in it, and he listened to hear, if he could, what the man’s name was; and he heard somebody call him Cullum, or some such name. Then he watches his opportunity, and steps up to him, and tells him a long story, that there was two gentlemen at the Gun tavern sent him to inquire for him, and to tell him they desired to speak with him.

The collier-master had his money lay before him, just as I had told him, and had two or three small payments of money, which he had put up in little black dirty bags, and lay by themselves; and as it was hardly broad day, he found means in delivering his message to lay his hands upon one of those bags, and carry it off perfectly undiscovered.

When we had got it he came out to me, who stood but at the door, and pulling me by the sleeve, “Run, Jacque,” says he, “for our lives;” and away he scours, and I after him, never resting, or scarce looking about me, till we got quite up into Fenchurch Street, through Lime Street into Leadenhall Street, down St. Mary Axe to London Wall, then through Bishopsgate Street and down Old Bedlam into Moorfields. By this time we were neither of us able to run very fast; nor need we have gone so far, for I never found that anybody pursued us. When we got into Moorfields and began to take breath, I asked him what it was frighted him so. “Fright me, you fool!” says he; “I have got a devilish great bag of money.” “A bag!” said I. “Ay, ay,” said he; “let us get out into the fields where nobody can see us, and I’ll show it you.” So away he had me through Long Alley, and cross Hog Lane and Holloway Lane, into the middle of the great field, which since that has been called the Farthing Pie-House Fields. There we would have sat down, but it was all full of water; so we went on, crossed the road at Anniseed Cleer, and went into the field where now the great hospital stands; and finding a by-place, we sat down, and he pulls out the bag. “Thou art a lucky boy, Jacque,” says he; “thou deservest a good share of this job, truly; for it is all along of thy lucky news.” So he pours it all out into my hat; for, as I told you, I now wore a hat.

How he did to whip away such a bag of money from any man that was awake and in his senses I cannot tell; but there was a great deal in it, and among it a paperful by itself. When the paper dropped out of the bag, “Hold,” says he, “that is gold!” and began to crow and hollow like a mad boy. But there he was baulked; for it was a paper of old thirteenpence-halfpenny pieces, half and quarter pieces, with ninepences and fourpence-halfpennies—all old crooked money, Scotch and Irish coin; so he was disappointed in that. But as it was there was about £17 or £18 in the bag, as I understood by him; for I could not tell money, not I.

Well, he parted this money into three; that is to say, into three shares—two for himself and one for me, and asked if I was content. I told him yes, I had reason to be contented. Besides, it was so much money added to that I had left of his former adventure that I knew not what to do with it, or with myself, while I had so much about me.

This was a most exquisite fellow for a thief; for he had the greatest dexterity at conveying anything away that he scarce ever pitched upon anything in his eye but he carried it off with his hands, and never that I know of missed his aim or was caught in the fact.

He was an eminent pickpocket, and very dexterous at ladies’ gold watches; but he generally pushed higher at such desperate things as these; and he came off the cleanest and with the greatest success imaginable; and it was in these kinds of the wicked art of thieving that I became his scholar.

As we were now so rich, he would not let me lie any longer in the glass-house, or go naked and ragged as I had done, but obliged me to buy two shirts, a waistcoat, and a greatcoat; for a greatcoat was more for our purpose in the business we was upon than any other. So I clothed myself as he directed, and he took me a lodging in the same house with him, and we lodged together in a little garret fit for our quality.

Soon after this we walked out again, and then we tried our fortune in the places by the Exchange a second time. Here we began to act separately, and I undertook to walk by myself; and the first thing I did accurately was a trick I played that argued some skill for a new beginner; for I had never seen any business of that kind done before. I saw two gentlemen mighty eager in talk, and one pulled out a pocket-book two or three times, and then slipt it into his coat-pocket again, and then out it came again, and papers were taken out and others were put in; and then in it went again, and so several times; the man being still warmly engaged with another man, and two or three others standing hard by them. The last time he put his pocket-book into his pocket, he might be said to throw it in rather than put it in with his hand, and the book lay end-way, resting upon some other book or something else in his pocket; so that it did not go quite down, but one corner of it was seen above his pocket.

This careless way of men putting their pocket-books into a coat-pocket, which is so easily dived into by the least boy that has been used to the trade, can never be too much blamed. The gentlemen are in great hurries, their heads and thoughts entirely taken up, and it is impossible they should be guarded enough against such little hawk’s-eyed creatures as we were; and, therefore, they ought either never to put their pocket-books up at all, or to put them up more secure, or to put nothing of value into them. I happened to be just opposite to this gentleman in that they call Swithin’s Alley, or that alley rather which is between Swithin’s Alley and the Exchange, just by a passage that goes out of the alley into the Exchange, when, seeing the book pass and repass into the pocket and out of the pocket as above, it came immediately into my head, certainly I might get that pocket-book out if I were nimble, and I warrant Will would have it, if he saw it go and come to and again as I did. But when I saw it hang by the way, as I have said, “Now it is mine,” said I to myself, and, crossing the alley, I brushed smoothly but closely by the man, with my hand down flat to my own side, and, taking hold of it by the corner that appeared, the book came so light into my hand, it was impossible the gentleman should feel the least motion, or anybody else see me take it away. I went directly forward into the broad place on the north side of the Exchange, then scoured down Bartholomew Lane, so into Tokenhouse Yard, into the alleys which pass through from thence to London Wall, so through Moorgate, and sat down on the grass in the second of the quarters of Moorfields, towards the middle field; which was the place that Will and I had appointed to meet at if either of us got any booty. When I came thither Will was not come; but I saw him coming in about half-an-hour.

As soon as Will came to me I asked him what booty he had gotten. He looked pale, and, as I thought, frighted; but he returned, “I have got nothing, not I; but, you lucky young dog,” says he, “what have you got? Have not you got the gentleman’s pocket-book in Swithin’s Alley?” “Yes,” says I, and laughed at him; “why, how did you know it?” “Know it!” says he. “Why, the gentleman is raving and half distracted; he stamps and cries and tears his very clothes. He says he is utterly undone and ruined, and the folks in the alley say there is I know not how many thousand pounds in it. What can be in it?” says Will. “Come, let us see.”

Well, we lay close in the grass in the middle of the quarter, so that nobody minded us; and so we opened the pocket-book, and there was a great many bills and notes under men’s hands; some goldsmiths’, and some belonging to insurance offices, as they call them, and the like. But that which was, it seems, worth all the rest was that, in one of the folds of the cover of the book, where there was a case with several partitions, there was a paper full of loose diamonds. The man, as we understood afterward, was a Jew, who dealt in such goods, and who indeed ought to have taken more care of the keeping of them.

Now was this booty too great, even for Will himself, to manage; for though by this time I was come to understand things better than I did formerly, when I knew not what belonged to money, yet Will was better skilled by far in those things than I. But this puzzled him too, as well as me. Now were we something like the cock in the fable; for all these bills, and I think there was one bill of Sir Henry Furness’s for £1200, and all these diamonds, which were worth about £150, as they said—I say, all these things were of no value to us: one little purse of gold would have been better to us than all of it. “But come,” says Will, “let us look over the bills for a little one.”

We looked over all the bills, and among them we found a bill under a man’s hand for £32. “Come,” says Will, “let us go and inquire where this man lives.” So he went into the City again, and Will went to the post-house, and asked there. They told him he lived at Temple Bar. “Well,” says Will, “I will venture. I’ll go and receive the money; it may be he has not remembered to send to stop the payment there.”

But it came into his thoughts to take another course. “Come,” says Will, “I’ll go back to the alley, and see if I can hear anything of what has happened, for I believe the hurry is not over yet.” It seems the man who lost the book was carried into the King’s Head tavern at the end of that alley, and a great crowd was about the door.

Away goes Will, and watches and waits about the place; and then, seeing several people together, for they were not all dispersed, he asks one or two what was the matter. They tell him a long story of a gentleman who had lost his pocket-book, with a great bag of diamonds in it, and bills for a great many thousand pounds, and I know not what; and that they had been just crying it, and had offered £100 reward to any one who would discover and restore it.

“I wish,” said he to one of them that parleyed with him, “I did but know who has it; I don’t doubt but I could help him to it again. Does he remember nothing of anybody, boy or fellow, that was near him? If he could but describe him, it might do.” Somebody that overheard him was so forward to assist the poor gentleman that they went up and let him know what a young fellow, meaning Will, had been talking at the door; and down comes another gentleman from him, and, taking Will aside, asked him what he had said about it. Will was a grave sort of a young man, that, though he was an old soldier at the trade, had yet nothing of it in his countenance; and he answered that he was concerned in business where a great many of the gangs of little pickpockets haunted, and if he had but the least description of the person they suspected, he durst say he could find him out, and might perhaps get the things again for him. Upon this he desired him to go up with him to the gentleman, which he did accordingly; and there, he said, he sat leaning his head back to the chair, pale as a cloth, disconsolate to a strange degree, and, as Will described him, just like one under a sentence.

When they came to ask him whether he had seen no boy or shabby fellow lurking near where he stood, or passing, or repassing, and the like, he answered, “No, not any.” Neither could he remember that anybody had come near him. “Then,” said Will, “it will be very hard, if not impossible, to find them out. However,” said Will, “if you think it worth while, I will put myself among those rogues, though,” says he, “I care not for being seen among them. But I will put in among them, and if it be in any of those gangs, it is ten to one but I shall hear something of it.”

They asked him then if he had heard what terms the gentleman had offered to have it restored; he answered, “No” (though he had been told at the door). They answered, he had offered £100. “That is too much,” says Will; “but if you please to leave it to me, I shall either get it for you for less than that, or not be able to get it for you at all.” Then the losing gentleman said to one of the other, “Tell him that if he can get it lower, the overplus shall be to himself.” William said he would be very glad to do the gentleman such a service, and would leave the reward to himself. “Well, young man,” says one of the gentlemen, “whatever you appoint to the young artist that has done this roguery (for I warrant he is an artist, let it be who it will), he shall be paid, if it be within the £100, and the gentleman is willing to give you £50 besides for your pains.”

“Truly, sir,” says Will very gravely, “it was by mere chance that, coming by the door, and seeing the crowd, I asked what the matter was. But if I should be instrumental to get the unfortunate gentleman his pocket-book and the things in it again, I shall be very glad; nor am I so rich neither, sir, but £50 is very well worth my while too.” Then he took directions who to come to, and who to give his account to if he learned anything, and the like.

Will stayed so long that, as he and I agreed, I went home, and he did not come to me till night; for we had considered before that it would not be proper to come from them directly to me, lest they should follow him and apprehend me. If he had made no advances towards a treaty, he would have come back in half-an-hour, as we agreed; but staying late, we met at our night rendezvous, which was in Rosemary Lane.

When he came he gave an account of all the discourse, and particularly what a consternation the gentleman was in who lost the pocket-book, and that he did not doubt but we should get a good round sum for the recovery of it.

We consulted all the evening about it, and concluded he should let them hear nothing of them the next day at all; and that the third day he should go, but should make no discovery; only that he had got a scent of it, and that he believed he should have it, and make it appear as difficult as possible, and to start as many objections as he could. Accordingly, the third day after he met with the gentleman, who, he found, had been uneasy at his long stay, and told him they were afraid that he only flattered them to get from them, and that they had been too easy in letting him go without a further examination.

He took upon him to be very grave with them, and told them that if that was what he was like to have for being so free as to tell them he thought he might serve them, they might see that they had wronged him, and were mistaken by his coming again to them; that if they thought they could do any thing by examining him, they might go about it, if they pleased, now; that all he had to say to them was, that he knew where some of the young rogues haunted who were famous for such things; and that by some inquiries, offering them money, and the like, he believed they would be brought to betray one another, and that so he might pick it out for them; and this he would say before a justice of peace, if they thought fit; and then all that he had to say further to them was to tell them he had lost a day or two in their service, and had got nothing but to be suspected for his pains, and that after that he had done, and they might seek their goods where they could find them.

They began to listen a little upon that, and asked him if he could give them any hopes of recovering their loss. He told them that he was not afraid to tell them that he believed he had heard some news of them, and that what he had done had prevented all the bills being burnt, book and all; but that now he ought not to be asked any more questions till they should be pleased to answer him a question or two. They told him they would give him any satisfaction they could, and bid him tell what he desired.

“Why, sir,” says he, “how can you expect any thief that had robbed you to such a considerable value as this would come and put himself into your hands, confess he had your goods, and restore them to you, if you do not give them assurance that you will not only give them the reward you agreed to, but also give assurance that they shall not be stopped, questioned, or called to account before a magistrate?”

They said they would give all possible assurance of it. “Nay,” says he, “I do not know what assurance you are able to give; for when a poor fellow is in your clutches and has shown you your goods, you may seize upon him for a thief, and it is plain he must be so. Then you go, take away your goods, send him to prison, and what amends can he have of you afterward?”

They were entirely confounded with the difficulty; they asked him to try if he could get the things into his hands, and they would pay him the money before he let them go out of his hand, and he should go away half-an-hour before they went out of the room.

“No, gentlemen,” says he, “that won’t do now. If you had talked so before you had talked of apprehending me for nothing, I should have taken your words; but now it is plain you have had such a thought in your heads, and how can I, or any one else, be assured of safety?”

Well, they thought of a great many particulars, but nothing would do. At length the other people who were present put in, that they should give security to him, by a bond of £1000, that they would not give the person any trouble whatsoever. He pretended they could not be bound, nor could their obligation be of any value, and that their own goods being once seen, they might seize them. “And what would it signify,” said he, “to put a poor pick pocket to sue for his reward?” They could not tell what to say, but told him that he should take the things of the boy, if it was a boy, and they would be bound to pay him the money promised. He laughed at them, and said, “No, gentlemen; as I am not the thief, so I shall be very loth to put myself in the thief’s stead and lie at your mercy.”

They told him they knew not what to do then, and that it would be very hard he would not trust them at all. He said he was very willing to trust them and to serve them, but that it would be very hard to be ruined and charged with the theft for endeavouring to serve them.

They then offered to give it him under their hands that they did not in the least suspect him; that they would never charge him with anything about it; that they acknowledged he went about to inquire after the goods at their request; and that if he produced them, they would pay him so much money, at or before the delivery of them, without obliging him to name or produce that person he had them from.

Upon this writing, signed by three gentlemen who were present, and by the person in particular who lost the things, the young gentleman told them he would go and do his utmost to get the pocket-book and all that was in it.

Then he desired that they would in writing, beforehand, give him a particular of all the several things that were in the book, that he might not have it said, when he produced it, that there was not all; and he would have the said writing sealed up, and he would make the book be sealed up when it was given to him. This they agreed to; and the gentleman accordingly drew up a particular of all the bills that he remembered, as he said, was in the book, and also of the diamonds, as follows:—

One bill under Sir Henry Furness’s hand for £1200.

One bill under Sir Charles Duncomb’s hand for £800, £250 endorsed off = £550.

One bill under the hand of J. Tassel, goldsmith, £165.

One bill of Sir Francis Child, £39.

One bill of one Stewart, that kept a wager-office and insurance, £350.

A paper containing thirty-seven loose diamonds, value about £250.

A little paper containing three large rough diamonds, and one large one polished and cut, value £185.

For all these things they promised, first, to give him whatever he agreed with the thief to give him, not exceeding £50, and to give him £50 more for himself for procuring them.

Now he had his cue, and now he came to me, and told me honestly the whole story as above. So I delivered him the book, and he told me that he thought it was reasonable we should not take the full sum, because he would seem to have done them some service, and so make them the easier. All this I agreed to; so he went the next day to the place, and the gentlemen met him very punctually.

He told them at the first word he had done their work, and, as he hoped, to their mind; and told them, if it had not been for the diamonds, he could have got all for £10; but that the diamonds had shone so bright in the boy’s imagination that he talked of running away to France or Holland, and living there all his days like a gentleman; at which they laughed. “However, gentlemen,” said he, “here is the book;” and so pulled it out, wrapt up in a dirty piece of a coloured handkerchief, as black as the street could make it, and sealed with a piece of sorry wax, and the impression of a farthing for a seal.

Upon this, the note being also unsealed, at the same time he pulled open the dirty rag, and showed the gentleman his pocket-book; at which he was so over-surprised with joy, notwithstanding all the preparatory discourse, that he was fain to call for a glass of wine or brandy to drink, to keep him from fainting.

The book being opened, the paper of diamonds was first taken out, and there they were every one; only the little paper was by itself; and the rough diamonds that were in it were loose among the rest, but he owned they were all there safe.

Then the bills were called over one by one, and they found one bill for £80 more than the account mentioned, besides several papers which were not for money, though of consequence to the gentleman; and he acknowledged that all was very honestly returned. “And now, young man,” said they, “you shall see we will deal as honestly by you;” and so, in the first place, they gave him £50 for himself, and then they told out the £50 for me.

He took the £50 for himself, and put it up in his pocket, wrapping it in paper, it being all in gold; then he began to tell over the other £50. But when he had told out £30, “Hold, gentlemen,” said he, “as I have acted fairly for you, so you shall have no reason to say I do not do so to the end. I have taken £30, and for so much I agreed with the boy; and so there is £20 of your money again.”

They stood looking one at another a good while, as surprised at the honesty of it; for till that time they were not quite without a secret suspicion that he was the thief; but that piece of policy cleared up his reputation to them. The gentleman that had got his bills said softly to one of them, “Give it him all.” But the other said (softly too), “No, no; as long as he has got it abated, and is satisfied with the £50 you have given him, ’tis very well; let it go as it ’tis.” This was not spoke so softly but he heard it, and said, “No,” too; “I am very well satisfied; I am glad I have got them for you;” and so they began to part.

But just before they were going away one of the gentlemen said to him, “Young man, come, you see we are just to you, and have done fairly, as you have also; and we will not desire you to tell us who this cunning fellow is that got such a prize from this gentleman; but as you have talked with him, prithee, can you tell us nothing of how he did it, that we may beware of such sparks again?”

“Sir,” says Will, “when I shall tell you what they say, and how the particular case stood, the gentleman would blame himself more than anybody else, or as much at least. The young rogue that catched this prize was out, it seems, with a comrade, who is a nimble, experienced pickpocket as most in London; but at that time the artist was somewhere at a distance, and this boy never had picked a pocket in his life before; but he says he stood over against the passage into the Exchange, on the east side, and the gentleman stood just by the passage; that he was very earnest in talking with some other gentleman, and often pulled out this book and opened it, and took papers out and put others in, and returned it into his coat-pocket; that the last time it hitched at the pocket-hole, or stopt at something that was in the pocket, and hung a little out, which the boy, who had watched it a good while perceiving, he passes by close to the gentleman, and carried it smoothly off, without the gentleman’s perceiving it at all.”

He went on, and said, “’Tis very strange gentlemen should put pocket-books which have such things in them into those loose pockets, and in so careless a manner.” “That’s very true,” says the gentleman; and so, with some other discourse of no great signification, he came away to me.

We were now so rich that we scarce knew what to do with our money; at least I did not, for I had no relations, no friends, nowhere to put anything I had but in my pocket. As for Will, he had a poor mother, but wicked as himself, and he made her rich and glad with his good success.

We divided this booty equally; for though the gaining it was mine, yet the improving of it was his, and his management brought the money; for neither he or I could have made anything proportionable of the thing any other way. As for the bills, there was no room to doubt but unless they had been carried that minute to the goldsmith’s for the money, he would have come with notice to stop the payment, and perhaps have come while the money was receiving, and have taken hold of the person. And then as to the diamonds, there had been no offering them to sale by us poor boys to anybody but those who were our known receivers, and they would have given us nothing for them compared to what they were worth; for, as I understood afterwards, those who made a trade of buying stolen goods took care to have false weights, and cheat the poor devil that stole them at least an ounce in three.

Upon the whole, we made the best of it many ways besides. I had a strange kind of uninstructed conscience at that time; for though I made no scruple of getting anything in this manner from anybody, yet I could not bear destroying their bills and papers, which were things that would do them a great deal of hurt, and do me no good; and I was so tormented about it that I could not rest night or day while I made the people easy from whom the things were taken.

I was now rich, so rich that I knew not what to do with my money or with myself. I had lived so near and so close, that although, as I said, I did now and then lay out twopence or threepence for mere hunger, yet I had so many people who, as I said, employed me, and who gave me victuals and sometimes clothes, that in a whole year I had not quite spent the 15s. which I had saved of the custom-house gentleman’s money; and I had the four guineas which was of the first booty before that still in my pocket—I mean the money that I let fall into the tree.

But now I began to look higher; and though Will and I went abroad several times together, yet, when small things offered, as handkerchiefs and such trifles, we would not meddle with them, not caring to run the risk for small matters. It fell out one day that, as we were strolling about in West Smithfield on a Friday, there happened to be an ancient country gentleman in the market, selling some very large bullocks. It seems they came out of Sussex, for we heard him say there were no such bullocks in the whole county of Suffolk. His worship, for so they called him, had received the money for these bullocks at a tavern, whose sign I forget now, and having some of it in a bag, and the bag in his hand, he was taken with a sudden fit of coughing, and stands to cough, resting his hand with the bag of money in it upon the bulk-head of a shop just by the Cloister Gate in Smithfield; that is to say, within three or four doors of it. We were both just behind him. Says Will to me, “Stand ready.” Upon this he makes an artificial stumble, and falls with his head just against the old gentleman in the very moment when he was coughing, ready to be strangled, and quite spent for want of breath.

The violence of the blow beat the old gentleman quite down. The bag of money did not immediately fly out of his hand, but I ran to get hold of it, and gave it a quick snatch, pulled it clean away, and ran like the wind down the Cloisters with it; turned on the left hand, as soon as I was through, and cut into Little Britain, so into Bartholomew Close, then across Aldersgate Street, through Paul’s Alley into Redcross Street, and so across all the streets, through innumerable alleys, and never stopped till I got into the second quarter of Moorfields, our old agreed rendezvous.

Will, in the meantime, fell down with the old gentleman, but soon got up. The old knight, for such, it seems, he was, was frighted with the fall, and his breath so stopped with his cough that he could not recover himself to speak till some time; during which nimble Will was got up again, and walked off. Nor could he call out, “Stop thief,” or tell anybody he had lost anything for a good while; but, coughing vehemently and looking red, till he was almost black in the face, he cried, “The ro—hegh, hegh, hegh—the rogues—hegh—have got—hegh, hegh, hegh, hegh, hegh, hegh;” then he would get a little breath, and at it again: “The rogues—hegh, hegh;” and, after a great many heghs and rogues, he brought it out—“have got away my bag of money!”

All this while the people understood nothing of the matter; and as for the rogues indeed, they had time enough to get clear away, and in about an hour Will came to the rendezvous. There we sat down in the grass again, and turned out the money, which proved to be eight guineas, and £5, 12s. in silver, so that it made just £14 together. This we shared upon the spot, and went to work the same day for more; but whether it was that, being flushed with our success, we were not so vigilant, or that no other opportunity offered, I know not, but we got nothing more that night, nor so much as anything offered itself for an attempt.

We took many walks of this kind, sometimes together, at a little distance from one another, and several small hits we made; but we were so flushed with our success that truly we were above meddling with trifles, as I said before—no, not such things that others would have been glad of; nothing but pocket-books, letter-cases, or sums of money would move us.

The next adventure was in the dusk of the evening, in a court which goes out of Gracechurch Street into Lombard Street, where the Quakers’ meeting house is. There was a young fellow who, as we learned afterward, was a woollen-draper’s apprentice in Gracechurch Street. It seems he had been receiving a sum of money which was very considerable, and he comes to a goldsmith’s shop in Lombard Street with it; paid in the most of it there; insomuch that it grew dark, and the goldsmith began to be shutting in shop, and candles to be lighted. We watched him in there, and stood on the other side of the way to see what he did. When he had paid in all the money he intended, he stayed still some time longer, to take notes, as I supposed, for what he had paid; and by this time it was still darker than before. At last he comes out of the shop, with still a pretty large bag under his arm, and walks over into the court, which was then very dark. In the middle of the court is a boarded entry, and farther, at the end of it, a threshold; and as soon as he had set his foot over the threshold, he was to turn on his left hand into Gracechurch Street.

“Keep up,” says Will to me; “be nimble;” and as soon as he had said so he flies at the young man, and gives him such a violent thrust that pushed him forward with too great a force for him to stand; and as he strove to recover, the threshold took his feet, and he fell forward into the other part of the court, as if he had flown in the air, with his head lying towards the Quakers’ meeting-house. I stood ready, and presently felt out the bag of money, which I heard fall; for it flew out of his hand, he having his life to save, not his money. I went forward with the money, and Will, that threw him down, finding I had it, run backward, and as I made along Fenchurch Street, Will overtook me, and we scoured home together. The poor young man was hurt a little with the fall, and reported to his master, as we heard afterward, that he was knocked down, which was not true, for neither Will or I had any stick in our hands; but the master of the youth was, it seems, so very thankful that his young man was not knocked down before he paid the rest of the money (which was above £100 more) to the goldsmith, who was Sir John Sweetapple, that he made no great noise at the loss he had, and, as we heard afterward, only warned his apprentice to be more careful and come no more through such places in the dark; whereas the man had really no such deliverance as he imagined, for we saw him before, when he had all the money about him; but it was no time of day for such work as we had to do, so that he was in no danger before.

This booty amounted to £29, 16s., which was £14 18s. apiece, and added exceedingly to my store, which began now to be very much too big for my management; and indeed I began to be now full of care for the preservation of what I had got. I wanted a trusty friend to commit it to; but where was such a one to be found by a poor boy bred up among thieves? If I should have let any honest body know that I had so much money, they would have asked me how I came by it, and would have been afraid to take it into their hands, lest I being some time or other catched in my rogueries, they should be counted the receivers of stolen goods and the encouragers of a thief.

We had, however, in the meantime a great many other successful enterprises, some of one kind, some of another, and were never so much as in danger of being apprehended; but my companion Will, who was now grown a man, and encouraged by these advantages, fell into quite another vein of wickedness, getting acquainted with a wretched gang of fellows that turned their hands to everything that was vile.

Will was a lusty, strong fellow, and withal very bold and daring, would fight anybody and venture upon anything; and I found he began to be above the mean rank of a poor pickpocket, so I saw him but seldom. However, once coming to me in a very friendly manner, and asking me how I went on, I told him that I used the old trade still, that I had had two or three good jobs: one with a young woman, whose pocket I had picked of eleven guineas; and another, a countrywoman, just come out of a stage-coach, seeing her pull out her bag to pay the coachman; and that I followed her till I got an opportunity, and slipped it out so neatly that though there was £8, 17s. in it, yet she never felt it go. And several other jobs I told him of, by which I made pretty good purchase. “I always said you were a lucky boy, Colonel Jacque,” says he; “but, come, you are grown almost a man now, and you shall not be always at play at push-pin. I am got into better business, I assure you, and you shall come into it too. I’ll bring you into a brave gang, Jacque,” says he, “where you shall see we shall be all gentlemen.”

Then he told me the trade itself, in short, which was with a set of fellows that had two of the most desperate works upon their hands that belonged to the whole art of thieving; that is to say, in the evening they were footpads, and in the night they were housebreakers. Will told me so many plausible stories, and talked of such great things, that, in short, I, who had been always used to do anything he bid me do, went with him without any hesitation.

Nothing is more certain than that hitherto, being partly from the gross ignorance of my untaught childhood, as I observed before, partly from the hardness and wickedness of the company I kept; and add to these that it was the business I might be said to be brought up to—I had, I say, all the way hitherto, no manner of thoughts about the good or evil of what I was embarked in; consequently I had no sense of conscience, no reproaches upon my mind for having done amiss.

Yet I had something in me, by what secret influence I knew not, kept me from the other degrees of raking and vice, and, in short, from the general wickedness of the rest of my companions. For example, I never used any ill words, nobody ever heard me swear, nor was I given to drink, or to love strong drink; and I cannot omit a circumstance that very much served to prevent it. I had a strange original notion, as I have mentioned in its place, of my being a gentleman; and several things had casually happened in my way to increase this fancy of mine. It happened one day, that being in the Glass-house Yard, between Rosemary Lane and Ratcliff Highway, there came a man dressed very well, and with a coach attending him, and he came (as I suppose) to buy glass-bottles, or some other goods, as they sold; and in bargaining for his goods, he swore most horrid oaths at every two or three words. At length the master of the glass-house, an ancient, grave gentleman, took the liberty to reprove him, which at first made him swear the worse. After a while the gentleman was a little calmer, but still he swore very much, though not so bad as at first. After some time the master of the glass-house turned from him—“Really, sir,” says the good old gentleman, “you swear so, and take God’s name in vain so, that I cannot bear to stay with you. I would rather you would let my goods alone and go somewhere else. I hope you won’t take it ill, but I don’t desire to deal with anybody that does so. I am afraid my glass-house should fall on your head while you stay in it.”

The gentleman grew good-humoured at the reproof, and said, “Well, come, don’t go away; I won’t swear any more,” says he, “if I can help it; for I own,” says he, “I should not do it.”

With that the old gentleman looked up at him, and, returning, “Really, sir,” says he, “’tis pity you, that seem to be a fine gentleman, well-bred and good-humoured, should accustom yourself to such a hateful practice. Why, ’tis not like a gentleman to swear; ’tis enough for my black wretches that work there at the furnace, or for these ragged, naked, blackguard boys,” pointing at me, and some others of the dirty crew that lay in the ashes. “’Tis bad enough for them,” says he, “and they ought to be corrected for it, too; but for a man of breeding, sir,” says he, “a gentleman, it ought to be looked upon as below them. Gentlemen know better, and are taught better, and it is plain you know better. I beseech you, sir, when you are tempted to swear, always ask yourself, ‘Is this like a gentleman? Does this become me as a gentleman?’ Do but ask yourself that question, and your reason will prevail—you will soon leave it off.”

I heard all this, and it made the blood run chill in my veins when he said swearing was only fit for such as we were. In short, it made as great an impression upon me as it did upon the gentleman; and yet he took it very kindly too, and thanked the old gentleman for his advice. But from that time forward I never had the least inclination to swearing or ill words, and abhorred it when I heard other boys do it. As to drinking, I had no opportunity; for I had nothing to drink but water, or small-beer that anybody gave me in charity, for they seldom gave away strong beer; and after I had money, I neither desired strong beer or cared to part with my money to buy it.

Then as to principle, ’tis true I had no foundation laid in me by education; and being early led by my fate into evil, I had the less sense of its being evil left upon my mind. But when I began to grow to an age of understanding, and to know that I was a thief, growing up in all manner of villainy, and ripening apace for the gallows, it came often into my thoughts that I was going wrong, that I was in the high-road to the devil; and several times I would stop short, and ask myself if this was the life of a gentleman.

But these little things wore off again as often as they came on, and I followed the old trade again, especially when Will came to prompt me, as I have observed, for he was a kind of a guide to me in all these things; and I had, by custom and application, together with seeing his way, learned to be as acute a workman as my master.

But to go back where I left off. Will came to me, as I have said, and telling me how much better business he was fallen into, would have me go along with him, and I should be a gentleman. Will, it seems, understood that word in a quite different manner from me; for his gentleman was nothing more or less than a gentleman thief, a villain of a higher degree than a pickpocket, and one that might do something more wicked, and better entitling him to the gallows, than could be done in our way. But my gentleman that I had my eye upon was another thing quite, though I could not really tell how to describe it either.

However, the word took with me, and I went with him. We were neither of us old. Will was about twenty-four; and as for me, I was now about eighteen, and pretty tall of my age.

The first time I went with him, he brought me into the company only of two more young fellows. We met at the lower part of Gray’s Inn Lane, about an hour before sunset, and went out into the fields toward a place called Pindar of Wakefield, where are abundance of brick-kilns. Here it was agreed to spread from the field-path to the roadway, all the way towards Pancras Church, to observe any chance game, as they called it, which they might shoot flying. Upon the path within the bank on the side of the road going towards Kentish Town, two of our gang, Will and one of the others, met a single gentleman walking apace towards the town. Being almost dark, Will cried, “Mark, ho!” which, it seems, was the word at which we were all to stand still at a distance, come in if he wanted help, and give a signal if anything appeared that was dangerous.

Will steps up to the gentleman, stops him, and put the question; that is, “Sir, your money?” The gentleman, seeing he was alone, struck at him with his cane; but Will, a nimble, strong fellow, flew in upon him, and with struggling got him down. Then he begged for his life, Will having told him with an oath that he would cut his throat. In that moment, while this was doing, comes a hackney-coach along the road, and the fourth man, who was that way, cries, “Mark, ho!” which was to intimate that it was a prize, not a surprise. And accordingly the next man went up to assist him, where they stopped the coach, which had a doctor of physic and a surgeon in it, who had been to visit some considerable patient, and, I suppose, had had considerable fees. For here they got two good purses, one with eleven or twelve guineas, the other six with some pocket-money, two watches, one diamond ring, and the surgeon’s plaster-box, which was most of it full of silver instruments.

While they were at this work, Will kept the man down who was under him; and though he promised not to kill him, unless he offered to make a noise, yet he would not let him stir till he heard the noise of the coach going on again, by which he knew the job was over on that side. Then he carried him a little out of the way, tied his hands behind him, and bade him lie still and make no noise, and he would come back in half-an-hour and untie him, upon his word; but if he cried out, he would come back and kill him.

The poor man promised to lie still and make no noise, and did so; and had not above 11s. 6d. in his pocket, which Will took, and came back to the rest; but while they were together, I, who was on the side of the Pindar of Wakefield, cried, “Mark, ho!” too.

What I saw was a couple of poor women, one a kind of a nurse, and the other a maid-servant, going for Kentish Town. As Will knew that I was but young at the work, he came flying to me, and seeing how easy a bargain it was, he said, “Go, colonel, fall to work.” I went up to them, and speaking to the elderly woman, “Nurse,” said I, “don’t be in such haste. I want to speak with you;” at which they both stopped, and looked a little frighted. “Don’t be frighted, sweetheart,” said I to the maid; “a little of that money in the bottom of your pocket will make all easy, and I will do you no harm.” By this time Will came up to us, for they did not see him before; then they began to scream out. “Hold!” says I; “make no noise, unless you have a mind to force us to murder you whether we will or no. Give me your money presently, and make no words, and we shan’t hurt you.” Upon this the poor maid pulled out 5s. 6d., and the old woman a guinea and a shilling, crying heartily for her money, and said it was all she had left in the world. Well, we took it for all that, though it made my very heart bleed to see what agony the poor woman was in at parting with it, and I asked her where she lived. She said her name was Smith, and she lived at Kentish Town. I said nothing to her, but bid them go on about their business, and I gave Will the money. So in a few minutes we were all together again. Says one of the other rogues, “Come, this is well enough for one road; it’s time to be gone.” So we jogged away, crossing the fields, out of the path towards Tottenham Court. “But hold!” says Will; “I must go and untie the man.” “D—n him,” says one of them, “let him lie.” “No,” says Will, “I won’t be worse than my word; I will untie him.” So he went to the place, but the man was gone. Either he had untied himself, or somebody had passed by, and he had called for help, and so was untied; for he could not find him, nor make him hear, though he ventured to call twice for him aloud.

This made us hasten away the faster, and getting into Tottenham Court Road, they thought it was a little too near, so they made into the town at St. Giles’s, and crossing to Piccadilly, went to Hyde Park gate. Here they ventured to rob another coach; that is to say, one of the two other rogues and Will did it, between the Park gate and Knightsbridge. There was in it only a gentleman and a whore that he had picked up, it seems, at the Spring Garden, a little farther. They took the gentleman’s money, his watch, and his silver-hilted sword; but when they come to the slut, she damned and cursed them for robbing the gentleman of his money and leaving him none for her. As for herself, she had not one sixpenny piece about her, though she was indeed well enough dressed too.

Having made this adventure, we left that road too, and went over the fields to Chelsea. In the way from Westminster to Chelsea we met three gentlemen, but they were too strong for us to meddle with. They had been afraid to come over the fields so late (for by this time it was eight o’clock, and though the moon gave some light, yet it was too late and too dark to be safe); so they hired three men at Chelsea, two with pitchforks, and the third, a waterman, with a boathook staff to guard them. We would have steered clear of them, and cared not to have them see us, if we could help it. But they did see us, and cried, “Who comes there?” We answered, “Friends;” and so they went on, to our great satisfaction.

When we came to Chelsea, it seems we had other work to do, which I had not been made privy to; and this was a house to be robbed. They had some intelligence, it seems, with a servant in the house, who was of their gang. This rogue was a waiting-man, or footman, and he had a watchword to let them in by; but this fellow, not for want of being a villain, but by getting drunk and not minding his part of the work, disappointed us. For he had promised to rise at two o’clock in the morning and let us all in; but, being very drunk, and not come in at eleven o’clock, his master ordered him to be shut out and the doors locked up, and charged the other servants not to let him in upon any terms whatsoever.

We came about the house at one o’clock to make our observations, intending to go and lie under Beaufort House wall till the clock struck two, and then to come again; but, behold! when we came to the house, there lay the fellow at the door fast asleep, and very drunk. Will, who, I found, was the leader in all these things, waked the fellow, who, as he had had about two hours’ sleep, was a little come to himself, and told them the misfortune, as he called it, and that he could not get in. They had some instruments about them, by which they could have broken in by force; but Will considered that as it was but waiting till another time, and they should be let in quietly, they resolved to give it over for that time.

But this was a happy drunken bout for the family; for the fellow having let fall some words in his drink (for he was a saucy one as well as a drunken one, and talked oddly), as that it had been better they had let him in, and he would make them pay dear for it, or some such thing, the master hearing of it, turned him away in the morning, and never let him come into his house again. So, I say, it was a happy drunkenness to the family, for it saved them from being robbed, and perhaps murdered; for they were a cursed, bloody crew, and, as I found, were about thirteen of them in all, whereof three of them made it their business to get into gentlemen’s services, and so to open doors in the night, and let the other rogues in upon them to rob and destroy them.

I rambled this whole night with them. They went from Chelsea, being disappointed there as above, to Kensington. There they broke into a brewhouse and washhouse, and by that means into an out-kitchen of a gentleman’s house, where they unhanged a small copper, and brought it off, and stole about a hundredweight of pewter, and went clear off with that too. And every one going their own by-ways, they found means to get safe to their several receptacles where they used to dispose of such things.

We lay still the next day, and shared the effects stolen that night, of which my share came to £8, 19s. The copper and pewter being weighed, and cast up, a person was at hand to take it as money, at about half value, and in the afternoon Will and I came away together. Will was mighty full of the success we had had, and how we might be sure of the like this way every day. But he observed that I did not seem so elevated at the success of that night’s ramble as I used to be, and also that I did not take any great notice of the expectations he was in of what was to come. Yet I had said little to him at that time.

But my heart was full of the poor woman’s case at Kentish Town, and I resolved, if possible, to find her out and give her her money. With the abhorrence that filled my mind at the cruelty of that act, there necessarily followed a little distaste for the thing itself; and now it came into my head with a double force that this was the high road to the devil, and that certainly this was not the life of a gentleman.

Will and I parted for that time; but next morning we met again, and Will was mighty brisk and merry. “And now, Colonel Jacque,” says he, “we shall be rich very quickly.” “Well,” says I, “and what shall we do when we are rich?” “Do!” says he; “we will buy a couple of good horses, and go farther afield.”

“What do you mean by farther afield?” says I. “Why,” says he, “we will take the highway like gentlemen, and then we shall get a great deal of money indeed.” “Well,” says I, “what then?” “Why, then,” says he, “we shall live like gentlemen.”

“But, Will,” says I, “if we get a great deal of money, shan’t we leave this trade off, and sit down, and be safe and quiet?”

“Ay,” says Will; “when we have got a great estate, we shall be willing to lay it down.” “But where,” says I, “shall we be before that time comes, if we should drive on this cursed kind of trade?”

“Prithee never think of that,” says Will; “if you think of those things, you will never be fit to be a gentleman.” He touched me there indeed, for it ran much in my mind still that I was to be a gentleman, and it made me dumb for a while; but I came to myself after a little while, and I said to him, pretty tartly, “Why, Will, do you call this way of living the life of a gentleman?”

“Why,” says Will, “why not?”

“Why,” says I, “was it like a gentleman for me to take that 22s. from a poor ancient woman, when she begged of me upon her knees not to take it, and told me it was all she had in the world to buy her bread for herself and a sick child which she had at home? Do you think I could be so cruel, if you had not stood by and made me do it? Why, I cried at doing it as much as the poor woman did, though I did not let you see me.”

“You fool you,” says Will; “you will never be fit for our business, indeed, if you mind such things as those. I shall bring you off those things quickly. Why, if you will be fit for business, you must learn to fight when they resist, and cut their throats when they submit; you must learn to stop their breath that they may beg and pray no more. What signifies pity? Prithee, who will pity us when we come to the Old Bailey? I warrant you that whining old woman, that begged so heartily for her 22s., would let you and I beg upon our knees, and would not save our lives by not coming in for an evidence against us. Did you ever see any of them cry when they see gentlemen go to the gallows?”

“Well, Will,” says I, “you had better let us keep to the business we were in before. There were no such cruel doings in that, and yet we got more money by it than I believe we shall get at this.”

“No, no,” says Will, “you are a fool; you don’t know what fine things we shall do in a little while.”

Upon this discourse we parted for that time; but I resolved with myself that I would never be concerned with him that way any more. The truth is, they were such a dreadful gang, such horrid barbarous villains, that even that little while that I was among them my very blood run cold in my veins at what I heard, particularly the continued raving and damning one another and themselves at every word they spoke; and then the horrid resolutions of murder, and cutting throats, which I perceived was in their minds upon any occasion that should present. This appeared first in their discourse upon the disappointment they met with at Chelsea, where the two rogues that were with us, ay, and Will too, damned and raged that they could not get into the house, and swore they would have cut the gentleman’s throat if they had got in, and shook hands, damning and cursing themselves if they did not murder the whole family as soon as Tom (that was the manservant) could get an opportunity to let them in.

Two days after this Will came to my lodging; for I had now got a room by myself, had bought me tolerable good clothes and some shirts, and began to look like other folks. But, as it happened, I was abroad upon the scout in another way; for though I was not hardened enough for so black a villain as Will would have had me be, yet I had not arrived to any principle sufficient to keep me from a life, in its degree wicked enough, which tended to the same destruction, though not in so violent and precipitant degrees. I had his message delivered to me, which was to meet him the next evening at such a place, and as I came in time enough to meet, so I went to the place, but resolved beforehand that I would not go any more with him among the gang.

However, to my great satisfaction, I missed him; for he did not come at all to the place, but met with the gang at another place, they having sent for him in haste upon the notice of some booty; and so they went all away together. This was a summons, it seems, from one of the creatures which they had abroad in a family, where an opportunity offered them to commit a notorious robbery, down almost as far as Hounslow, and where they wounded a gentleman’s gardener so that I think he died, and robbed the house of a very considerable sum of money and plate.

This, however, was not so clean carried, nor did they get in so easy, but by the resistance they met with the neighbours were all alarmed, and the gentlemen rogues were pursued, and being at London with the booty, one of them was taken. Will, a dexterous fellow and head of the gang, made his escape, and though in his clothes, with a great weight about him of both money and plate, plunged into the Thames and swam over where there was no path or road leading to the river; so that nobody suspected any one’s going that way. Being got over, he made his way, wet as he was, into some woods adjacent, and, as he told me afterwards, not far from Chertsey, and stayed lurking about in the woods or fields thereabouts till his clothes were dry; then, in the night, got down to Kingston, and so to Mortlake, where he got a boat to London.

He knew nothing that one of his comrades was taken; only he knew that they were all so closely pursued that they were obliged to disperse, and every one to shift for himself. He happened to come home in the evening, as good luck then directed him, just after search had been made for him by the constables; his companion, who was taken, having, upon promise of favour, and of saving him from the gallows, discovered his companions, and Will among the rest, as the principal party in the whole undertaking.

Will got notice of this just time enough to run for it and not to be taken; and away he came to look for me; but, as my good fate still directed, I was not at home neither. However, he left all his booty at my lodging, and hid it in an old coat that lay under my bedding, and left word that my brother Will had been there, and had left his coat that he borrowed of me, and that it was under my bed.

I knew not what to make of it, but went up to go to bed; and, finding the parcel, was perfectly frighted to see, wrapped up in it, above one hundred pound in plate and money, and yet knew nothing of brother Will, as he called himself, nor did I hear of him for three or four days.

At the end of four days I heard, by great accident, that Will, who used to be seen with me, and who called me brother, was taken, and would be hanged. Next day a poor man, a shoemaker, that used formerly to have a kindness for me, and to send me of errands, and gave me sometimes some victuals, seeing me accidentally in Rosemary Lane, going by him, clasped me fast hold by the arm. “Hark ye, young man,” says he, “have I catched you?” and hauled me along as if I had been a thief apprehended, and he the constable. “Hark ye, Colonel Jacque,” says he again, “come along with me. I must speak with you. What, are you got into this gang too? What, are you turned housebreaker? Come, I’ll have you hanged, to be sure.”

These were dreadful words to me, who, though not guilty of the particular thing in question, yet was frighted heartily before, and did not know what I might be charged with by Will, if he was taken, as I heard that very morning he was. With these words, the shoemaker began to hale and drag me along as he used to do when I was a boy.

However, recovering my spirits, and provoked to the highest degree, I said to him again, “What do you mean, Mr.——? Let me alone, or you will oblige me to make you do it;” and with that I stopped short, and soon let him see I was grown a little too big to be haled about as I used to be when I run of his errands, and made a motion with my other hand as if I would strike him in the face.

“How, Jacque!” says he; “will you strike me? Will you strike your old friend?” and then he let go my arm, and laughed. “Well, but hark ye, colonel,” says he, “I am in earnest. I hear bad news of you. They say you are gotten into bad company, and that this Will calls you brother. He is a great villain, and I hear he is charged with a bloody robbery, and will be hanged if he is taken. I hope you are not concerned with him. If you are, I would advise you to shift for yourself, for the constable and the headborough are after him to-day, and if he can lay any thing to you he will do it, you may be sure. He will certainly hang you to save himself.”

This was kind, and I thanked him, but told him this was a thing too serious, and that had too much weight in it, to be jested with, as he had done before; and that some ignorant stranger might have seized upon me as a person guilty, who had no further concern in it than just knowing the man, and so I might have been brought into trouble for nothing. At least people might have thought I was among them, whether I was or no, and it would have rendered me suspected, though I was innocent.

He acknowledged that; told me he was but in jest, and that he talked to me just as he used to do.

“However, colonel,” says he, “I won’t jest any more with you in a thing of such a dangerous consequence; I only advise you to keep the fellow company no more.”

I thanked him, and went away, but in the greatest perplexity imaginable. And now, not knowing what to do with myself, or with the little ill-gotten wealth which I had, I went musing and alone into the fields towards Stepney, my usual walk, and there began to consider what to do. And as this creature had left his prize in my garret, I began to think that if he should be taken, and should confess and send the officers to search there for the goods, and they should find them, I should be undone, and should be taken up for a confederate; whereas I knew nothing of the matter, and had no hand in it.

While I was thus musing, and in great perplexity, I heard somebody halloo to me; and, looking about, I saw Will running after me. I knew not what to think at first, but seeing him alone, was the more encouraged, and I stood still for him. When he came up to me I said to him, “What is the matter, Will?” “Matter!” says Will. “Matter enough; I am undone. When was you at home?”

“I saw what you left there,” says I. “What is the meaning of it, and where got you all that? Is that your being undone?”

“Ay,” says Will, “I am undone for all that; for the officers are after me; and I am a dead dog if I am taken, for George is in custody, and he has peached on me and all the others to save his life.”

“Life!” says I; “why should you lose your life if they should take you? Pray what would they do to you?”

“Do to me!” says he; “they would hang me, if the king had ne’er another soldier in his guards. I shall certainly be hanged as I am now alive.”

This frighted me terribly, and I said, “And what will you do then?” “Nay,” says he, “I know not. I would get out of the nation, if I knew how; but I am a stranger to all those things, and I know not what to do, not I. Advise me, Jacque,” says he; “prithee tell me whither shall I go. I have a good mind to go to sea.”

“You talk of going away,” says I; “what will you do with all you have hid in my garret? It must not lie there,” said I; “for if I should be taken up for it, and it be found to be the money you stole, I shall be ruined.”

“I care not what becomes of it, not I,” says Will. “I’ll be gone. Do you take it, if you will, and do what you will with it. I must fly, and I cannot take it with me.” “I won’t have it, not I,” says I to him. “I’ll go and fetch it to you if you will take it,” says I; “but I won’t meddle with it. Besides, there is plate. What shall I do with plate?” said I. “If I should offer to sell it anywhere,” said I, “they will stop me.”

“As for that,” says Will, “I could sell it well enough, if I had it; but I must not be seen anywhere among my old acquaintance; for I am blown, and they will all betray me. But I will tell you where you shall go and sell it, if you will, and they will ask you no questions, if you give them the word that I will give you.” So he gave me the word, and directions to a pawnbroker near Cloth Fair. The word was Good tower standard. Having these instructions, he said to me, “Colonel Jacque, I am sure you won’t betray me; and I promise you, if I am taken, and should be hanged, I won’t name you. I will go to such a house” (naming a house at Bromley, by Bow, where he and I had often been), “and there,” says he, “I’ll stay till it is dark. At night I will come near the streets, and I will lay under such a haystack all night” (a place we both knew also very well); “and if you cannot finish to come to me there, I will go back to Bow.”

I went back and took the cargo, went to the place by Cloth Fair, and gave the word Good tower standard; and without any words, they took the plate, weighed it, and paid me after the rate of 2s. per ounce for it. So I came away and went to meet him, but it was too late to meet him at the first place; but I went to the haystack, and there I found him fast asleep.

I delivered him his cargo. What it really amounted to I knew not, for I never told it; but I went home to my quarters very late and tired. I went to sleep at first, but, notwithstanding I was so weary, I slept little or none for several hours. At last, being overcome with sleep, I dropped, but was immediately roused with noise of people knocking at the door, as if they would beat it down, and crying and calling out to the people of the house, “Rise, and let in the constable here. We come for your lodger in the garret.”

I was frighted to the last degree, and started up in my bed; but when I was awaked I heard no noise at all, but of two watchmen thumping at the doors with their staves, and giving the hour, “Past three o’clock, and a rainy, wet morning”—for such it was. I was very glad when I found it was but a dream, and went to bed again, but was soon roused a second time with the same, very same noise and words. Then, being sooner awaked than I was before, I jumped out of bed and ran to the window, and found it was just an hour more, and the watchmen were come about: “Past four o’clock,” and they went away again very quietly; so I lay me down again, and slept the rest of the night quietly enough.

I laid no stress upon the thing called a dream, neither till now did I understand that dreams were of any importance; but getting up the next day, and going out with a resolution to meet brother Will, who should I meet but my former brother, Captain Jacque. When he saw me, he came close to me in his blunt way, and says, “Do you hear the news?” “No, not I,” said I; “what news?” “Your old comrade and teacher is taken this morning and carried to Newgate.” “How,” says I, “this morning?” “Yes,” says he, “this morning at four o’clock. He is charged with a robbery and murder somewhere beyond Brentford; and that which is worse is, that he is impeached by one of the gang, who, to save his own life, has turned evidence; and therefore you had best consider,” says the captain, “what you have to do.” “What I have to do!” says I; “and what do you mean by that?” “Nay, colonel,” says he, “don’t be angry; you know best. If you are not in danger, I am glad of it, but I doubt not but you were with them.” “No, not I,” said I again; “I assure you I was not.” “Well,” says he, “but if you were not with them this bout, you have been with them at other times; and ’twill be all one.” “Not I,” says I; “you are quite mistaken. I am none of their gang; they are above my quality.” With such, and a little more talk of that kind, we parted, and Captain Jacque went away; but as he went I observed he shook his head, seemed to have more concern upon him than he could be supposed to have merely on my account, of which we shall hear more very quickly.

I was extremely alarmed when I heard Will was in Newgate, and, had I known where to have gone, would certainly have fled as far as legs would have carried me. My very joints trembled, and I was ready to sink into the ground; and all that evening, and that night following, I was in the uttermost consternation. My head ran upon nothing but Newgate and the gallows, and being hanged; which, I said, I deserved, if it were for nothing but taking that two-and-twenty shillings from the poor old nurse.

The first thing my perplexed thoughts allowed me to take care of was my money. This indeed lay in a little compass, and I carried it generally all about me. I had got together, as you will perceive by the past account, above £60 (for I spent nothing), and what to do with it I knew not. At last it came into my head that I would go to my benefactor, the clerk at the custom-house, if he was to be found, and see if I could get him to take the rest of my money. The only business was to make a plausible story to him, that he might not wonder how I came by so much money.

But my invention quickly supplied that want. There was a suit of clothes at one of our houses of rendezvous, which was left there for any of the gang to put on, upon particular occasions, as a disguise. This was a green livery, laced with pink-coloured galloon, and lined with the same; an edged hat, a pair of boots, and a whip. I went and dressed myself up in this livery, and went to my gentleman, to his house in Tower Street, and there I found him in health and well, just the same honest gentleman as ever.

He stared at me when first I came to him, for I met him just at his door; I say, he stared at me, and seeing me bow and bow to him several times, with my laced hat under my arm, at last, not knowing me in the least, says he to me, “Dost thou want to speak with me, young man?” And I said, “Yes, sir; I believe your worship” (I had learnt some manners now) “does not know me. I am the poor boy Jacque.” He looked hard at me, and then recollecting me presently, says he, “Who—Colonel Jacque! Why, where hast thou been all this while? Why, ’tis five or six years since I saw you.” “’Tis above six years, and please your worship,” says I.

“Well, and where hast thou been all this while?” says he.

“I have been in the country, sir,” says I, “at service.”

“Well, Colonel Jacque,” says he, “you give long credit; what’s the reason you han’t fetched your money all this while, nor the interest? Why, you will grow so rich in time by the interest of your money, you won’t know what to do with it.”

To that I said nothing, but bowed and scraped a great many times. “Well, come, Colonel Jacque,” said he, “come in and I will give you your money, and the interest of it too.”

I cringed and bowed, and told him I did not come to him for my money; for I had had a good place or two, and I did not want my money.

“Well, Colonel Jacque,” said he, “and who do you live with?”

“Sir Jonathan Loxham,” said I, “sir, in Somersetshire, and please your worship.” This was a name I had heard of, but knew nothing of any such gentleman, or of the country.

“Well,” says he, “but won’t you have your money, Jacque?”

“No, sir,” said I, “if your worship would please, for I have had a good place.”

“If I would please to do what, prithee? Your money is ready, I tell thee.”

“No, sir,” said I; “but I have had a good place.”

“Well, and what dost thou mean, Jacque? I do not understand thee.”

“Why, and please your worship, my old master, Sir Jonathan’s father, left me £30 when he died, and a suit of mourning, and——”

“And what, prithee, Jacque? What, hast thou brought me more money?” For then he began to understand what I meant.

“Yes, sir,” said I; “and your worship would be so good to take it, and put it all together. I have saved some, too, out of my wages.”

“I told you, Jacque,” says he, “you would be rich. And how much hast thou saved? Come, let me see it.”

To shorten the story, I pulled it out, and he was content to take it, giving me his note, with interest, for the whole sum, which amounted to £94; that is to say,

£25   The first money.
 For six years’ interest.
  60   Now paid him.

I came away exceeding joyful, made him abundance of bows and scrapes, and went immediately to shift my clothes again, with a resolution to run away from London and see it no more for a great while. But I was surprised the very next morning, when, going cross Rosemary Lane, by the end of the place which is called Rag Fair, I heard one call “Jacque.” He had said something before, which I did not hear, but upon hearing the name Jacque I looked about me, immediately saw three men, and after them a constable coming towards me with great fury. I was in a great surprise, and started to run, but one of them clapped in upon me, and got hold of me, and in a moment the rest surrounded me, and I was taken. I asked them what they wanted, and what I had done. They told me it was no place to talk of that there, but showed me their warrant, and bade me read it, and I should know the rest when I came before the justice; so they hurried me away.

I took the warrant, but, to my great affliction, I could know nothing by that, for I could not read; so I desired them to read it, and they read it, that they were to apprehend a known thief, that went by the name of one of the three Jacques of Rag Fair; for that he was charged upon oath with having been a party in a notorious robbery, burglary, and murder, committed so and so, in such a place, and on such a day.

It was to no purpose for me to deny it, or to say I knew nothing of it; that was none of their business, they said; that must be disputed, they told me, before the justice, where I would find that it was sworn positively against me, and then, perhaps, I might be better satisfied.

I had no remedy but patience; and as my heart was full of terror and guilt, so I was ready to die with the weight of it as they carried me along. For as I very well knew that I was guilty of the first day’s work, though I was not of the last, so I did not doubt but I should be sent to Newgate, and then I took it for granted I must be hanged; for to go to Newgate and to be hanged were to me as things which necessarily followed one another.

But I had a sharp conflict to go through before it came to that part; and that was before the justice; where, when I was come, and the constable brought me in, the justice asked me my name. “But hold,” says he, “young man; before I ask you your name, let me do you justice. You are not bound to answer till your accusers come;” so, turning to the constable, he asked for his warrant.

“Well,” says the justice, “you have brought this young man here by virtue of this warrant. Is this young man the person for whom this warrant is granted?”

Con. I believe so, and please your worship.

Just. Believe so! Why, are you not sure of it?

Con. An’t please your worship, the people said so where I took him.

Just. It is a very particular kind of warrant; it is to apprehend a young man who goes by the name of Jacque, but no surname, only that it is said he is called Captain Jacque, or some other such name. Now, young man, pray is your name Captain Jacque? or are you usually called so?

I presently found that the men that took me knew nothing of me, and the constable had taken me up by hearsay; so I took heart, and told the justice that I thought, with submission, that it was not the present question what my name was, but what these men, or any one else, had to lay to my charge; whether I was the person who the warrant empowered them to apprehend or no.

He smiled. “’Tis very true, young man,” says he, “it is very true; and, on my word, if they have taken you up, and do not know you, and there is nobody to charge you, they will be mistaken to their own damage.”

Then I told his worship I hoped I should not be obliged to tell my name till my accuser was brought to charge me, and then I should not conceal my name.

“It is but reason,” said his good worship. “Mr. Constable,” turning to the officers, “are you sure this is the person that is intended in your warrant? If you are not, you must fetch the person that accuses him, and on whose oath the warrant was granted.” They used many words to insinuate that I was the person, and that I knew it well enough, and that I should be obliged to tell my name.

I insisted on the unreasonableness of it, and that I should not be obliged to accuse myself: and the justice told them in so many words that he could not force me to it, that I might do it if I would, indeed; “but you see,” says the justice, “he understood too well to be imposed upon in that case.” So that, in short, after an hour’s debating before his worship, in which time I pleaded against four of them, the justice told them they must produce the accuser, or he must discharge me.

I was greatly encouraged at this, and argued with the more vigour for myself. At length the accuser was brought, fettered as he was, from the gaol, and glad I was when I saw him, and found that I knew him not; that is to say, that it was not one of the two rogues that I went out with that night that we robbed the poor old woman.

When the prisoner was brought into the room he was set right against me.

“Do you know this young man?” says the justice.

“No, sir,” says the prisoner; “I never saw him in my life.”

“Hum!” says the justice; “did not you charge one that goes by the name of Jacque, or Captain Jacque, as concerned in the robbery and murder which you are in custody for?”

Pris. Yes, an’t please your worship.

Just. And is this the man, or is he not?

Pris. This is not the man, sir; I never saw this man before.

“Very good, Mr. Constable,” says the justice, “what must we do now?”

“I am surprised,” says the constable. “I was at such a house” (naming the house), “and this young man went by. The people cried out, ‘There’s Jacque; that’s your man;’ and these people ran after him, and apprehended him.”

“Well,” says the justice, “and have these people anything to say to him? Can they prove that he is the person?”

One said no, and the other said no; and, in short, they all said no. “Why, then,” said the justice, “what can be done? The young man must be discharged; and I must tell you, Mr. Constable, and you gentlemen that have brought him hither, he may give you trouble, if he thinks fit, for your being so rash. But look you, young man,” says the justice, “you have no great damage done you, and the constable, though he has been mistaken, had no ill design, but to be faithful to his office. I think you may pass it by.”

I told his worship I would readily pass it by at his direction, but I thought the constable and the rest could do no less than to go back to the place where they had insulted me, and declare publicly there that I was honourably acquitted, and that I was not the man. This his worship said was very reasonable, and the constable and his assistants promised to do it, and so we came all away good friends, and I was cleared with triumph.

Note.—This was the time that, as I mentioned above, the justice talked to me, and told me I was born to better things, and that by my well managing of my own defence, he did not question but I had been well educated; and that he was sorry I should fall into such a misfortune as this, which he hoped, however, would be no dishonour to me, since I was so handsomely acquitted.

Though his worship was mistaken in the matter of my education, yet it had this good effect upon me, that I resolved, if possible, I would learn to read and write, that I would not be such an uncapable creature, that I should not be able to read a warrant, and see whether I was the person to be apprehended or not.

But there was something more in all this than what I have taken notice of; for, in a word, it appeared plainly that my brother, Captain Jacque, who had the forwardness to put it to me whether I was among them or no, when in truth he was there himself, had the only reason to be afraid to fly, at the same time that he advised me to shift for myself.

As this presently occurred to my thoughts, so I made it my business to inquire and find him out, and to give him notice of it.

In the meantime, being now confident of my own safety, I had no more concern upon my mind about myself; but now I began to be anxious for poor Will, my master and tutor in wickedness, who was now fast by the heels in Newgate, while I was happily at liberty; and I wanted very much to go and see him, and accordingly did so.

I found him in a sad condition, loaden with heavy irons, and had himself no prospect or hope of escaping. He told me he should die, but bid me be easy; for, as it would do him no good to accuse me, who never was out with any of them but that once, so I might depend upon it he would not bring me into the trouble. As for the rogue who had betrayed them all, he was not able to hurt me, for I might be satisfied he had never seen me in his life. “But, Colonel Jacque,” says he, “I will tell you who was with us, and that is, your brother the captain, and the villain has certainly named him; and, therefore,” says he, “if you can give him timely notice of it, do, that he may make his escape.”

He said a great many things to warn me off following the steps he had led me. “I was far out, Jacque,” said he, “when I told you, to be a notorious thief was to live like a gentleman.” He chiefly discovered his concern that they had, as he feared, killed the gentleman’s gardener, and that he in particular had given him a wound in the neck, of which he was afraid he would die.

He had a great sum of money in gold about him, being the same that I had carried back to him at the haystack; and he had concealed it so well that those who took him had not found it, and he gave me the greatest part of it to carry to his mother, which I very honestly delivered, and came away with a heavy heart. Nor did I ever see him since, for he was executed in about three weeks’ time after, being condemned that very next sessions.

I had nothing to do now but to find the captain, who, though not without some trouble, I at last got news of, and told him the whole story, and how I had been taken up for him by mistake, and was come off, but that the warrant was still out for him, and very strict search after him; I say, telling him all this, he presently discovered by his surprise that he was guilty, and after a few words more, told me plainly it was all true, that he was in the robbery, and that he had the greatest part of the booty in keeping, but what to do with it, or himself, he did not know; and wanted me to tell him, which I was very unfit to do, for I knew nothing of the world. Then he told me he had a mind to fly into Scotland, which was easy to be done, and asked me if I would go with him. I told him I would, with all my heart, if I had money enough to bear the charge. He had the trade still in his eyes by his answer. “I warrant you,” says he, “we will make the journey pay our charge.” “I dare not think of going any more upon the adventure,” says I. “Besides, if we meet with any misfortune out of our knowledge, we shall never get out of it; we shall be undone.” “Nay,” says he; “we shall find no mercy here, if they can catch us, and they can do no worse abroad. I am for venturing at all events.”

“Well, but, captain,” says I, “have you husbanded your time so ill that you have no money to supply you in such a time as this?” “I have very little indeed,” said he, “for I have had bad luck lately.” But he lied, for he had a great share of the booty they had got at their last adventure, as above; and, as the rest complained, he and Will had got almost all of it, and kept the rest out of their shares, which made them the willinger to discover them.

However it was, he owned he had about £22 in money, and something that would yield money—I suppose it was plate; but he would not tell me what it was, or where it was. But he said he durst not go to fetch it, for he should be betrayed and seized, so he would venture without it. “Sure,” says he, “we shall come back again some time or other.”

I honestly produced all the money I had, which was £16 and some odd shillings. “Now,” says I, “if we are good husbands, and travel frugally, this will carry us quite out of danger.” For we had both been assured that when we came out of England we should be both safe, and nobody could hurt us, though they had known us; but we neither of us thought it was so many weary steps to Scotland as we found it.

I speak of myself as in the same circumstances of danger with brother Jacque; but it was only thus: I was in as much fear as he, but not in quite as much danger.

I cannot omit that, in the interval of these things, and a few days before I carried my money to the gentleman in Tower Street, I took a walk all alone into the fields, in order to go to Kentish Town and do justice to the poor old nurse. It happened that, before I was aware, I crossed a field that came to the very spot where I robbed the poor old woman and the maid, or where, I should say, Will made me rob them. My heart had reproached me many a time with that cruel action, and many a time I promised to myself that I would find a way to make her satisfaction and restore her money, and that day I had set apart for the work, but was a little surprised that I was so suddenly upon the unhappy spot.

The place brought to my mind the villainy I had committed there, and something struck me with a kind of wish—I cannot say prayer, for I knew not what that meant—that I might leave off that cursed trade, and said to myself, “Oh that I had some trade to live by! I would never rob no more, for sure ’tis a wicked, abominable thing.”

Here indeed I felt the loss of what just parents do, and ought to do, by all their children—I mean, being bred to some trade or employment; and I wept many times that I knew not what to do or what to turn my hand to, though, I resolved to leave off the wicked course I was in.

But to return to my journey. I asked my way to Kentish Town, and it happened to be of a poor woman that said she lived there; upon which intelligence I asked if she knew a woman that lived there whose name was Smith. She answered yes, very well; that she was not a settled inhabitant, only a lodger in the town, but that she was an honest, poor, industrious woman, and by her labour and pains maintained a poor diseased husband, that had been unable to help himself some years.

“What a villain have I been,” said I to myself, “that I should rob such a poor woman as this, and add grief and tears to her misery, and to the sorrows of her house!” This quickened my resolution to restore her money; and not only so, but I resolved I would give her something over and above her loss. So I went forward, and by the direction I had received, found her lodging with very little trouble. Then asking for the woman, she came to the door immediately; for she heard me ask for her by her name of a little girl that came first to the door. I presently spoke to her: “Dame,” said I, “was not you robbed about a year ago, as you was coming home from London, about Pindar of Wakefield?” “Yes, indeed I was,” says she; “and sadly frighted into the bargain.” “And how much did you lose?” said I. “Indeed,” says she, “I lost all the money I had in the world. I am sure I worked hard for it; it was money for keeping a nurse-child that I had then, and I had been at London to receive it.” “But how much was it, dame?” said I. “Why,” says she, “it was 22s. 6½d.; 21s. I had been to fetch, and the odd money was my own before.”

“Well, look you, good woman, what will you say if I should put you in a way to get your money again? for I believe the fellow that took it is fast enough now, and perhaps I may do you a kindness in it, and for that I came to see you.” “Oh dear!” says the old woman, “I understand you, but indeed I cannot swear to the man’s face again, for it was dark; and, besides, I would not hang the poor wretch for my money; let him live and repent.” “That is very kind,” says I—“more than he deserves from you; but you need not be concerned about that, for he will be hanged whether you appear against him or not; but are you willing to have your money again that you lost?” “Yes, indeed,” says the woman, “I should be glad of that; for I have not been so hard put to it for money a great while as I am now; I have much ado to find us bread to eat, though I work hard early and late;” and with that she cried.

I thought it would have broken my very heart, to think how this poor creature worked and was a slave at near threescore, and that I, a young fellow of hardly twenty, should rob her of her bread to support my idleness and wicked life; and the tears came from my eyes in spite of all my struggling to prevent it, and the woman perceived it too. “Poor woman,” said I, “’tis a sad thing such creatures as these should plunder and strip such a poor object as thou art. Well, he is at leisure now to repent it, I assure you.” “I perceive, sir,” says she, “you are very compassionate indeed. I wish he may improve the time God has spared him, and that he may repent, and I pray God give him repentance. Whoever he is, I forgive him, whether he can make me recompense or not, and I pray God forgive him. I won’t do him any prejudice, not I.” And with that she went on praying for me.

“Well, dame, come hither to me,” says I; and with that I put my hand into my pocket, and she came to me. “Hold up your hand,” said I; which she did, and I told her nine half-crowns into her hand. “There, dame,” said I, “is your 22s. 6d. you lost. I assure you, dame,” said I, “I have been the chief instrument to get it off him for you; for, ever since he told me the story of it among the rest of his wicked exploits, I never gave him any rest till I made him promise me to make you restitution.” All the while I held her hand and put the money into it I looked in her face, and I perceived her colour come and go, and that she was under the greatest surprise of joy imaginable.

“Well, God bless him,” says she, “and spare him from the disaster he is afraid of, if it be His will. For sure this is an act of so much justice, and so honest, that I never expected the like.” She run on a great while so, and wept for him when I told her I doubted there was no room to expect his life. “Well,” says she, “then pray God give him repentance and bring him to heaven; for sure he must have something that is good at the bottom; he has a principle of honesty at bottom to be sure, however he may have been brought into bad courses by bad company or evil example, or other temptations; but I daresay he will be brought to repentance one time or other before he dies.”

All this touched me nearer than she imagined; for I was the man that she prayed for all this while, though she did not know it, and in my heart I said amen to it. For I was sensible that I had done one of the vilest actions in the world in attacking a poor creature in such a condition, and not listening to her entreaties when she begged so heartily for that little money we took from her.

In a word, the good woman so moved me with her charitable prayers that I put my hand in my pocket again for her: “Dame,” said I, “you are so charitable in your petitions for this miserable creature that it puts me in mind of one thing more which I will do for him, whether he ordered me or not; and that is, to ask your forgiveness for the thief in robbing you. For it was an offence and a trespass against you, as well as an injury to you; and therefore I ask your pardon for him. Will you sincerely and heartily forgive him, dame? I do desire it of you;” and with that I stood up, and, with my hat off, asked her pardon. “O sir!” says she, “do not stand up, and with your hat off to me. I am a poor woman; I forgive him, and all that were with him; for there was one or more with him. I forgive them with all my heart, and I pray God to forgive them.”

“Well, dame, then,” said I, “to make you some recompense for your charity, there is something for you more than your loss;” and with that I gave her a crown more.

Then I asked her who that was who was robbed with her. She said it was a servant-maid that lived then in the town, but she was gone from her place, and she did not know where she lived now. “Well, dame,” says I, “if ever you do hear of her, let her leave word where she may be found; and if I live to come and see you again, I will get the money off him for her too. I think that was but little, was it?” “No,” says she; “it was but 5s. 6d.,” which I knew as well as she. “Well,” says I, “dame, inquire her out if you have an opportunity;” so she promised me she would, and away I came.

The satisfaction this gave me was very much; but then a natural consequence attended it, which filled me with reflection afterwards; and this was, that, by the same rule, I ought to make restitution to all that I had wronged in the like manner; and what could I do as to that? To this I knew not what to say, and so the thought in time wore off; for, in short, it was impossible to be done. I had not ability, neither did I know any of the people whom I had so injured; and that satisfying me for the present, I let it drop.

I come now to my journey with Captain Jacque, my supposed brother. We set out from London on foot, and travelled the first day to Ware; for we had learnt so much of our road that the way lay through that town. We were weary enough the first day, having not been used at all to travelling; but we made shift to walk once up and down the town after we came into it.

I soon found that his walking out to see the town was not to satisfy his curiosity in viewing the place, for he had no notion of anything of that kind, but to see if he could light of any purchase. For he was so natural a thief that he could see nothing on the road but it occurred to him how easily that might be taken, and how cleverly this might be carried off, and the like.

Nothing offered in Ware to his mind, it not being market-day; and as for me, though I made no great scruple of eating and drinking at the cost of his roguery, yet I resolved not to enter upon anything, as they called it, nor to take the least thing from anybody.

When the captain found me resolved upon the negative, he asked me how I thought to travel. I asked him what he thought of himself, that was sure to be hanged if he was taken, how small soever the crime was that he should be taken for. “How can that be?” says he; “they don’t know me in the country.” “Ay,” says I; “but do you think they do not send up word to Newgate as soon as any thief is taken in the country, and so inquire who is escaped from them, or who is fled, that they may be stopped? Assure yourself,” says I, “the gaolers correspond with one another, with the greatest exactness imaginable; and if you were taken here but for stealing a basket of eggs, you shall have your accuser sent down to see if he knows you.”

This terrified him a little for a while, and kept him honest for three or four days; but it was but for a few days indeed, for he played a great many rogue’s tricks without me; till at last he came to his end without me too, though it was not till many years after, as you shall hear in its order. But as these exploits are no part of my story, but of his, whose life and exploits are sufficient to make a volume larger than this by itself, so I shall omit every thing but what I was particularly concerned in during this tedious journey.

From Ware we travelled to Cambridge, though that was not our direct road. The occasion was this: in our way, going through a village called Puckeridge, we baited at an inn, at the sign of the Falcon, and while we were there a countryman comes to the inn, and hangs his horse at the door while he goes in to drink. We sat in the gateway, having called for a mug of beer, and drank it up. We had been talking with the hostler about the way to Scotland, and he had bid us ask the road to Royston. “But,” says he, “there is a turning just here a little farther. You must not go that way, for that goes to Cambridge.”

We had paid for our beer, and sat at the door only to rest us, when on the sudden comes a gentleman’s coach to the door, and three or four horsemen. The horsemen rode into the yard, and the hostler was obliged to go in with them. Says he to the captain, “Young man, pray take hold of the horse” (meaning the countryman’s horse I mentioned above), “and take him out of the way, that the coach may come up.” He did so, and beckoned me to follow him. We walked together to the turning. Says he to me, “Do you step before and turn up the lane. I’ll overtake you.” So I went on up the lane, and in a few minutes he was got up upon the horse and at my heels. “Come, get up,” says he; “we will have a lift, if we don’t get the horse by the bargain.”

I made no difficulty to get up behind him, and away we went at a good round rate, it being a good strong horse. We lost no time for an hour’s riding and more, by which time we thought we were out of the reach of being pursued. And as the country man, when he should miss his horse, would hear that we inquired the way to Royston, he would certainly pursue us that way, and not towards Cambridge. We went easier after the first hour’s riding, and coming through a town or two, we alighted by turns, and did not ride double through the villages.

Now, as it was impossible for the captain to pass by anything that he could lay his hand on and not take it, so now, having a horse to carry it off too, the temptation was the stronger. Going through a village where a good housewife of the house had been washing, and hung her clothes out upon a hedge near the road, he could not help it, but got hold of a couple of good shirts that were but about half dry, and overtook me upon the spur; for I walked on before. I immediately got up behind, and away we galloped together as fast as the horse would well go. In this part of our expedition his good luck or mine carried us quite out of the road, and having seen nobody to ask the way of, we lost ourselves, and wandered I know not how many miles to the right hand, till, partly by that means and partly by the occasion following, we came quite into the coach-road to Cambridge from London by Bishop-Stortford. The particular occasion that made me wander on was thus: the country was all open cornfields, no enclosures; when, being upon a little rising ground, I bade him stop the horse, for I would get down and walk a little to ease my legs, being tired with riding so long behind without stirrups. When I was down and looked a little about me, I saw plainly the great white road, which we should have gone, at near two miles from us.

On a sudden looking a little back to my left, upon that road, I saw four or five horsemen riding full speed, some a good way before the others, and hurrying on, as people in a full pursuit.

It immediately struck me: “Ha! brother Jacque,” says I, “get off the horse this moment, and ask why afterwards.” So he jumps off. “What is the matter?” says he. “The matter!” says I. “Look yonder; it is well we have lost our way. Do you see how they ride? They are pursuing us, you may depend upon it. Either,” says I, “you are pursued from the last village for the two shirts, or from Puckeridge for the horse.” He had so much presence of mind that, without my mentioning it to him, he puts back the horse behind a great white thorn-bush, which grew just by him; so they could by no means see the horse, which, we being just at the top of the hill, they might otherwise have done, and so have pursued that way at a venture.

But as it was impossible for them to see the horse, so was it as impossible for them to see us at that distance, who sat down on the ground to look at them the more securely.

The road winding about, we saw them a great way, and they rode as fast as they could make their horses go. When we found they were gone quite out of sight, we mounted and made the best of our way also; and indeed, though we were two upon one horse, yet we abated no speed where the way would admit of it, not inquiring of anybody the way to anywhere till, after about two hours’ riding, we came to a town, which, upon inquiry, they called Chesterford. And here we stopped, and asked not our way to any place, but whither that road went, and were told it was the coach-road to Cambridge; also that it was the way to Newmarket, to St. Edmund’s Bury, to Norwich and Yarmouth, to Lynn, and to Ely, and the like.

We stayed here a good while, believing ourselves secure; and afterwards, towards evening, went forward to a place called Bournbridge, where the road to Cambridge turns away out of the road to Newmarket, and where there are but two houses only, both of them being inns. Here the captain says to me, “Hark ye, you see we are pursued towards Cambridge, and shall be stopped if we go thither. Now Newmarket is but ten miles off, and there we may be safe, and perhaps get an opportunity to do some business.”

“Look ye, Jacque,” said I, “talk no more of doing business, for I will not join with you in anything of that kind. I would fain get you to Scotland before you get a halter about your neck. I will not have you hanged in England, if I can help it; and therefore I won’t go to Newmarket, unless you will promise me to take no false steps there.” “Well,” says he, “if I must not, then I won’t; but I hope you will let us get another horse, won’t you, that we may travel faster?” “No,” says I, “I won’t agree to that; but if you will let me send this horse back fairly, I will tell you how we shall hire horses afterwards, for one stage, or two, and then take them as far as we please: it is only sending a letter to the owner to send for him, and then, if we are stopped, it can do us but little hurt.”

“You are a wary, politic gentleman,” says the captain, “but I say we are better as we are; for we are out of all danger of being stopped on the way after we are gone from this place.”

We had not parleyed thus long, but, though in the dead of the night, came a man to the other inn door—for, as I said above, there are two inns at that place—and called for a pot of beer; but the people were all in bed, and would not rise. He asked them if they had seen two fellows come that way upon one horse. The man said he had, that they went by in the afternoon, and asked the way to Cambridge, but did not stop only to drink one mug. “Oh!” says he, “are they gone to Cambridge? Then I’ll be with them quickly.” I was awake in a little garret of the next inn, where we lodged, and hearing the fellow call at the door, got up and went to the window, having some uneasiness at every noise I heard; and by that means heard the whole story. Now, the case is plain, our hour was not come, our fate had determined other things for us, and we were to be reserved for it. The matter was thus. When we first came to Bournbridge, we called at the first house, and asked the way to Cambridge, drank a mug of beer and went on, and they might see to turn off to go the way they directed. But night coming on, and we being very weary, we thought we should not find the way; and we came back in the dusk of the evening, and went into the other house, being the first as we came back, as that where we called before was the first as we went forward.

You may be sure I was alarmed now, as indeed I had reason to be. The captain was in bed and fast asleep, but I wakened him, and roused him with a noise that frighted him enough. “Rise, Jacque,” said I; “we are both ruined; they are come after us hither.” Indeed, I was wrong to terrify him at that rate; for he started, and jumped out of bed, and ran directly to the window, not knowing where he was, and, not quite awake, was just going to jump out of the window, but I laid hold of him. “What are you going to do?” says I. “I won’t be taken,” says he. “Let me alone. Where are they?”

This was all confusion; and he was so out of himself with the fright, and being overcome with sleep, that I had much to do to prevent his jumping out of the window. However, I held him fast, and thoroughly wakened him, and then all was well again, and he was presently composed.

Then I told him the story, and we sat together upon the bedside, considering what we should do. Upon the whole, as the fellow that called was apparently gone to Cambridge, we had nothing to fear, but to be quiet till daybreak, and then to mount and be gone.

Accordingly, as soon as day peeped we were up; and having happily informed ourselves of the road at the other house, and being told that the road to Cambridge turned off on the left hand, and that the road to Newmarket lay straight forward—I say, having learnt this, the captain told me he would walk away on foot towards Newmarket; and so, when I came to go out, I should appear as a single traveller. And accordingly he went out immediately, and away he walked; and he travelled so hard that when I came to follow, I thought once that he had dropped me; for though I rode hard, I got no sight of him for an hour. At length, having passed the great bank called the Devil’s Ditch, I found him, and took him up behind me, and we rode double till we came almost to the end of Newmarket town. Just at the hither house in the town stood a horse at a door, just as it was at Puckeridge. “Now,” says Jack, “if the horse was at the other end of the town I would have him, as sure as we had the other at Puckeridge;” but it would not do; so he got down and walked through the town on the right-hand side of the way.

He had not got half through the town but the horse, having somehow or other got loose, came trotting gently on by himself, and nobody following him. The captain, an old soldier at such work, as soon as the horse was got a pretty way before him, and that he saw nobody followed, sets up a run after the horse, and the horse, hearing him follow, ran the faster. Then the captain calls out, “Stop the horse!” and by this time the horse was got almost to the farther end of the town, the people of the house where he stood not missing him all the while.

Upon his calling out, “Stop the horse!” the poor people of the town, such as were next at hand, ran from both sides the way and stopped the horse for him, as readily as could be, and held him for him till he came up. He very gravely comes up to the horse, hits him a blow or two, and calls him dog for running away, gives the man twopence that catched him for him, mounts, and away he comes after me.

This was the oddest adventure that could have happened, for the horse stole the captain, the captain did not steal the horse. When he came up to me, “Now, Colonel Jacque,” says he, “what say you to good luck? Would you have had me refuse the horse, when he came so civilly to ask me to ride?” “No, no,” said I; “you have got this horse by your wit, not by design; and you may go on now, I think. You are in a safer condition than I am, if we are taken.”

The next question was what road we should take. Here were four ways before us, and we were alike strangers to them all. First, on the right hand, and at about a little mile from the town, a great road went off to St. Edmund’s Bury; straight on, but in clining afterwards to the right, lay the great road to Barton Mills and Thetford, and so to Norwich; and full before us lay a great road, also, to Brandon and Lynn; and on the left lay a less road to the city of Ely, and into the fens.

In short, as we knew not which road to take, nor which way to get into the great north road, which we had left, so we, by mere unguided chance, took the way to Brandon, and so to Lynn. At Brand, or Brandon, we were told that, passing over at a place called Downham Bridge, we might cross the fen country to Wisbeach, and from thence go along that bank of the river Nene to Peterborough, and from thence to Stamford, where we were in the northern road again; and likewise, that at Lynn we might go by the Washes into Lincolnshire, and so might travel north. But, upon the whole, this was my rule, that, when we inquired the way to any particular place, to be sure we never took that road, but some other which the accidental discourse we might have should bring in. And thus we did here; for, having chiefly asked our way into the northern road, we resolved to go directly for Lynn.

We arrived here very easy and safe, and while we was considering of what way we should travel next we found we were got to a point, and that there was no way now left but that by the Washes into Lincolnshire, and that was represented as very dangerous; so an opportunity offering of a man that was travelling over the fens, we took him for our guide, and went with him to Spalding, and from thence to a town called Deeping, and so to Stamford in Lincolnshire.

This is a large, populous town, and it was market-day when we came to it; so we put in at a little house at the hither end of the town, and walked into the town.

Here it was not possible to restrain my captain from playing his feats of art, and my heart ached for him. I told him I would not go with him, for he would not promise, and I was so terribly concerned at the apprehensions of his venturous humour that I would not so much as stir out of my lodging; but it was in vain to persuade him. He went into the market, and found a mountebank there, which was what he wanted. How he picked two pockets there in one quarter of an hour, and brought to our quarters a piece of new holland of eight or nine ells, a piece of stuff, and played three or four pranks more in less than two hours; and how afterward he robbed a doctor of physic, and yet came off clear in them all—this, I say, as above, belongs to his story, not mine.

I scolded heartily at him when he came back, and told him he would certainly ruin himself, and me too, before he left off, and threatened in so many words that I would leave him, and go back and carry the horse to Puckeridge where we borrowed it, and so go to London by myself.

He promised amendment; but as we resolved (now we were in the great road) to travel by night, so it being not yet night, he gives me the slip again, and was not gone half-an-hour but he comes back with a gold watch in his hand: “Come,” says he, “why ain’t you ready to go? I am ready to go as soon as you will;” and with that he pulls out the gold watch. I was amazed at such a thing as that in a country town; but it seems there was prayers at one of the churches in the evening, and he, placing himself as the occasion directed, found the way to be so near the lady as to get it from her side, and walked off with it unperceived.

The same night we went away by moonlight, after having the satisfaction to hear the watch cried, and ten guineas offered for it again. He would have been glad of the ten guineas instead of the watch, but durst not venture carry it home. “Well,” says I, “you are afraid, and you have reason. Give it me; I will venture to carry it again.” But he would not let me, but told me that when he came into Scotland we might sell anything there without danger; which was true indeed, for there they asked us no questions.

We set out, as I said, in the evening by moon light, and travelled hard, the road being very plain and large, till we came to Grantham, by which time it was about two in the morning, and all the town, as it were, dead asleep. So we went on for Newark, where we reached about eight in the morning, and there we lay down and slept most of the day; and by this sleeping so continually in the day-time I kept him from doing a great deal of mischief, which he would otherwise have done.

From Newark we took advice of one that was accidentally comparing the roads, and we concluded that the road by Nottingham would be the best for us; so we turned out of the great road, and went up the side of the Trent to Nottingham. Here he played his pranks again in a manner that it was the greatest wonder imaginable to me that he was not surprised, and yet he came off clear. And now he had got so many bulky goods that he bought him a portmanteau to carry them in. It was in vain for me to offer to restrain him any more; so after this he went on his own way.

At Nottingham, I say, he had such success that made us the hastier to be going than otherwise we would have been, lest we would have been baulked, and should be laid hold of. From thence we left the road, which leads to the north again, and went away by Mansfield into Scarsdale, in Yorkshire.

I shall take up no more of my own story with his pranks; they very well merit to be told by themselves. But I shall observe only what relates to our journey. In a word, I dragged him along as fast as I could, till I came to Leeds, in Yorkshire. Here, though it be a large and populous town, yet he could make nothing of it; neither had he any success at Wakefield; and he told me, in short, that the north-country people were certainly all thieves. “Why so?” said I. “The people seem to be just as other people are.” “No, no,” says he; “they have their eyes so about them, and are all so sharp, they look upon everybody that comes near them to be a pickpocket, or else they would never stand so upon their guard. And then again,” says he, “they are so poor, there is but little to be got; and I am afraid,” says he, “the farther we go north, we shall find it worse.” “Well,” says I, “what do you infer from thence?” “I argue from thence,” says he, “that we shall do nothing there, and I had as good go back into the south and be hanged as into the north to be starved.”

Well, we came at length to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Here, on a market-day, was a great throng of people, and several of the townspeople going to market to buy provisions; and here he played his pranks, cheated a shopkeeper of £15 or £16 in goods, and got clear away with them; stole a horse, and sold that he came upon, and played so many pranks that I was quite frighted for him. I say for him, for I was not concerned for myself, having never stirred out of the house where I lodged—at least not with him, nor without some or other with me belonging to the inn that might give an account of me.

Nor did I use this caution in vain; for he had made himself so public by his rogueries that he was waylaid everywhere to be taken, and had he not artfully at first given out that he was come from Scotland and was going toward London, inquiring that road, and the like, which amused his pursuers for the first day, he had been taken, and in all probability had been hanged there. But by that artifice he got half a day’s time of them; and yet, as it was, he was put so to it that he was fain to plunge, horse and all, into the river Tweed, and swim over, and thereby made his escape. It was true that he was before upon Scots ground (as they call it), and consequently they had no power to have carried him off, if anybody had opposed them; yet, as they were in a full chase after him, could they have come up with him they would have run the risk of the rest, and they could but have delivered him up if they had been questioned about it. However, as he got over the Tweed, and was landed safe, they could neither follow him, the water being too high at the usual place of going over, nor could they have attempted to have brought him away if they had taken him. The place where he took the river was where there is a ford below Kelso, but the water being up, the ford was not passable, and he had no time to go to the ferry-boat, which is about a furlong off, opposite to the town.

Having thus made his escape, he went to Kelso, where he had appointed me to come after him. I followed with a heavy heart, expecting every hour to meet him upon the road in the custody of the constables and such people, or to hear of him in the gaol; but when I came to a place on the border called Woller-haugh-head, there I understood how he had been chased, and how he made his escape.

When I came to Kelso he was easy enough to be found; for his having desperately swam the Tweed, a rapid and large river, made him much talked of, though it seems they had not heard of the occasion of it, nor anything of his character; for he had wit enough to conceal all that, and live as retired as he could till I came to him.

I was not so much rejoiced at his safety as I was provoked at his conduct; and the more, for that I could not find he had yet the least notion of his having been void of common-sense with respect to his circumstances, as well as contrary to what he promised me. However, as there was no beating anything into his head by words, I only told him that I was glad he was at last gotten into a place of safety, and I asked him then how he intended to manage himself in that country. He said in few words he did not know yet. He doubted the people were very poor; but if they had any money he was resolved to have some of it.

“But do you know, too,” says I, “that they are the severest people upon criminals of your kind in the world?” He did not value that, he said, in his blunt, short way; he would venture it. Upon this I told him that, seeing it was so, and he would run such ventures, I would take my leave of him and be gone back to England. He seemed sullen, or rather it was the roughness of his untractable disposition. He said I might do what I would, he would do as he found opportunity. However, we did not part immediately, but went on towards the capital city. On the road we found too much poverty and too few people to give him room to expect any advantage in his way; and though he had his eyes about him as sharp as a hawk, yet he saw plainly there was nothing to be done; for as to the men, they did not seem to have much money about them; and for the women, their dress was such that, had they any money, or indeed any pockets, it was impossible to come at them; for, wearing large plaids about them and down to their knees, they were wrapped up so close that there was no coming to make the least attempt of that kind.

Kelso was indeed a good town, and had abundance of people in it; and yet, though he stayed one Sunday there, and saw the church, which is very large and thronged with people, yet, as he told me, there was not one woman to be seen in all the church with any other dress than a plaid, except in two pews, which belonged to some nobleman, and who, when they came out, were so surrounded with footmen and servants that there was no coming near them, any more than there was any coming near the king surrounded by his guards.

We set out, therefore, with this discouragement, which I was secretly glad of, and went forward to Edinburgh. All the way thither we went through no considerable town, and it was but very coarse travelling for us, who were strangers; for we met with waters which were very dangerous to pass, by reason of hasty rains, at a place called Lauderdale, and where my captain was really in danger of drowning, his horse being driven down by the stream, and fell under him, by which he wetted and spoiled his stolen goods that he brought from Newcastle, and which he had kept dry strangely, by holding them up in his arms when he swam the Tweed. But here it wanted but little that he and his horse had been lost, not so much by the depth of the water as the fury of the current. But he had a proverb in his favour, and he got out of the water, though with difficulty enough, not being born to be drowned, as I shall observe afterwards in its place.

We came to Edinburgh the third day from Kelso, having stopped at an inn one whole day, at a place called Soutrahill, to dry our goods and refresh ourselves. We were oddly saluted at Edinburgh. The next day after we came thither, my captain having a desire to walk and look about him, asked me if I would go and see the town. I told him yes; so we went out, and coming through a gate that they call the Nether Bow, into the great High Street, which went up to the Cross, we were surprised to see it thronged with an infinite number of people. “Ay,” says my captain, “this will do.” However, as I had made him promise to make no adventures that day, otherwise I told him I would not go out with him, so I held him by the sleeve, and would not let him stir from me.

Then we came up to the Market Cross, and there besides the great number of people who passed and repassed, we saw a great parade or kind of meeting, like an exchange of gentlemen, of all ranks and qualities, and this encouraged my captain again, and he pleased himself with that sight.

It was while we were looking, and wondering at what we saw here, that we were surprised with a sight which we little expected. We observed the people running on a sudden, as to see some strange thing just coming along; and strange it was indeed: for we see two men naked from the waist upwards run by us as swift as the wind, and we imagined nothing but that it was two men running a race for some mighty wager. On a sudden we found two long, small ropes or lines, which hung down at first, pulled straight, and the two racers stopped, and stood still, one close by the other. We could not imagine what this meant, but the reader may judge at our surprise when we found a man follow after, who had the ends of both those lines in his hands, and who, when he came up to them, gave each of them two frightful lashes with a wire whip or lash, which he held in the other hand. And then the two poor naked wretches run on again to the length of their line or tether, where they waited for the like salutation; and in this manner they danced the length of the whole street, which is about half-a-mile.

This was a dark prospect to my captain, and put him in mind, not only of what he was to expect if he made a slip in the way of his profession in this place, but also of what he had suffered when he was but a boy, at the famous place called Bridewell.

But this was not all; for, as we saw the execution, so we were curious to examine into the crime too; and we asked a young fellow who stood near us what the two men had done for which they suffered that punishment. The fellow, an unhappy, ill-natured Scotchman, perceived by our speech that we were Englishmen, and by our question that we were strangers, told us, with a malicious wit, that they were two Englishmen, and that they were whipped so for picking pockets, and other petty thieveries, and that they were afterwards to be sent away over the border into England.

Now this was every word of it false, and was only formed by his nimble invention to insult us as Englishmen; for when we inquired further, they were both Scotchmen, and were thus scourged for the usual offences for which we give the like punishment in England. And the man who held the line and scourged them was the city hangman, who (by the way) is there an officer of note, has a constant salary, and is a man of substance; and not only so, but a most dexterous fellow in his office, and makes a great deal of money of his employment.

This sight, however, was very shocking to us; and my captain turned to me: “Come,” says he, “let us go away; I won’t stay here any longer.” I was glad to hear him say so, but did not think he had meant or intended what he said. However, we went back to our quarters, and kept pretty much within, only that in the evenings we walked about. But even then my captain found no employment, no encouragement. Two or three times, indeed, he made a prize of some mercery and millinery goods; but when he had them he knew not what to do with them, so that, in short, he was forced to be honest in spite of his goodwill to be otherwise.

We remained here about a month, when, on a sudden, my captain was gone, horse and all, and I knew nothing what was become of him. Nor did I ever see or hear of him for eighteen months after, nor did he so much as leave the least notice for me, either whither he was gone or whether he would return to Edinburgh again or no.

I took his leaving me very heinously, not knowing what to do with myself, being a stranger in the place; and, on the other hand, my money abated apace too. I had for the most part of this time my horse upon my hands to keep; and as horses yield but a sorry price in Scotland, I found no opportunity to make much of him; and, on the other hand, I had a secret resolution, if I had gone back to England, to have restored him to the owner, at Puckeridge, by Ware. And so I should have wronged him of nothing but the use of him for so long a time; but I found an occasion to answer all my designs about the horse to advantage.

There came a man to the stabler—so they call the people at Edinburgh that take in horses to keep—and wanted to know if he could hear of any returned horses for England. My landlord, so we called him, came bluntly to me one day, and asked me if my horse was my own. It was an odd question, as my circumstances stood, and puzzled me at first; and I asked why, and what was the matter. “Because,” says he, “if it be a hired horse in England, as is often the case with Englishmen who come to Scotland, I could help you to send it back, and get you something for riding.” So he expressed himself.

I was very glad of the occasion, and, in short, took security there of the person for delivering the horse safe and sound, and had 15s. sterling for the riding him. Upon this agreement, I gave order to leave the horse at the Falcon, at Puckeridge, and where I heard, many years after, that he was honestly left, and that the owner had him again, but had nothing for the loan of him.

Being thus eased of the expense of my horse, and having nothing at all to do, I began to consider with myself what would become of me, and what I could turn my hand to. I had not much diminished my stock of money, for though I was all the way so wary that I would not join with my captain in his desperate attempts, yet I made no scruple to live at his expense, which, as I came out of England only to keep him company, had been but just, had I not known that all he had to spend upon me was what he robbed honest people of, and that I was all that while a receiver of stolen goods. But I was not come off so far then as to scruple that part at all.

In the next place, I was not so anxious about my money running low, because I knew what a reserve I had made at London. But still I was very willing to have engaged in any honest employment for a livelihood, for I was sick indeed of the wandering life which I had led, and was resolved to thieve no more. But then two or three things which I had offered me I lost, because I could not write or read.

This afflicted me a great while very much; but the stabler, as I have called him, delivered me from my anxiety that way by bringing me to an honest but a poor young man, who undertook to teach me both to write and read, and in a little time too, and for a small expense, if I would take pains at it. I promised all possible diligence, and to work I went with it, but found the writing much more difficult to me than the reading.

However, in half a year’s time, or thereabouts, I could read, and write too, tolerably well, insomuch that I began to think I was now fit for business. And I got by it into the service of a certain officer of the customs, who employed me for a time; but as he set me to do little but pass and repass between Leeds and Edinburgh, with the accounts which he kept for the farmers of the customs there, leaving me to live at my own expense till my wages should be due, I run out the little money I had left, in clothes and subsistence, and a little before the year’s end, when I was to have £12 English money, truly my master was turned out of his place; and, which was worse, having been charged with some misapplications, was obliged to take shelter in England, and so we that were servants, for there were three of us, were left to shift for ourselves.

This was a hard case for me in a strange place, and I was reduced by it to the last extremity. I might have gone for England, an English ship being there. The master proffered me to give me my passage (upon telling him my distress), and to take my word for the payment of 10s. when I came there. But my captain appeared just then under new circumstances, which obliged him not to go away, and I was loth to leave him. It seems we were yet further to take our fate together.

I have mentioned that he left me, and that I saw him no more for eighteen months. His rambles and adventures were many in that time. He went to Glasgow, played some remarkable pranks there, escaped almost miraculously from the gallows; got over to Ireland, wandered about there, turned raparee, and did some villainous things there, and escaped from Londonderry, over to the Highlands in the north of Scotland; and about a month before I was left destitute at Leith by my master, behold! my noble Captain Jacque came in there, on board the ferry-boat from Fife, being, after all adventures and successes, advanced to the dignity of a foot-soldier in a body of recruits raised in the north for the regiment of Douglas.

After my disaster, being reduced almost as low as my captain, I found no better shift before me, at least for the present, than to enter myself a soldier too; and thus we were ranked together, with each of us a musket upon our shoulders; and I confess that thing did not sit so ill upon me as I thought at first it would have done; for though I fared hard and lodged ill (for the last, especially, is the fate of poor soldiers in that part of the world), yet to me that had been used to lodge on the ashes in the glass house, this was no great matter. I had a secret satisfaction at being now under no necessity of stealing, and living in fear of a prison, and of the lash of the hangman—a thing which, from the time I saw it in Edinburgh, was so terrible to me that I could not think of it without horror. And it was an inexpressible ease to my mind that I was now in a certain way of living, which was honest, and which I could say was not unbecoming a gentleman.

Whatever was my satisfaction in that part, yet other circumstances did not equally concur to make this life suit me; for after we had been about six months in this figure, we were informed that the recruits were all to march for England, and to be shipped off at Newcastle, or at Hull, to join the regiment, which was then in Flanders.

I should tell you that, before this, I was extremely delighted with the life of a soldier, and I took the exercise so naturally that the sergeant that taught us to handle our arms, seeing me so ready at it, asked me if I had never carried arms before. I told him no; at which he swore, though jesting. “They call you colonel,” says he, “and I believe you will be a colonel, or you must be some colonel’s bastard, or you would never handle your arms as you do, at once or twice showing.”

This pleased me extremely, and encouraged me, and I was mightily taken with the life of a soldier; but when my captain came and told me the news, that we were to march for England, and to be shipped off for Flanders at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I was surprised very much, and new thoughts began to come in my mind; as, first, my captain’s condition was particular, for he durst not appear publicly at Newcastle, as he must have done if he had marched with the battalion (for they were a body of above four hundred, and therefore called themselves a battalion, though we were but recruits, and belonged to several companies abroad)—I say, he must have marched with them, and been publicly seen, in which case he would have been apprehended and delivered up. In the next place I remembered that I had almost £100 in money in London, and if it should have been asked all the soldiers in the regiment which of them would go to Flanders a private sentinel if they had £100 in their pockets, I believe none of them would answer in the affirmative—£100 being at that time sufficient to buy colours in any new regiment, though not in that regiment, which was on an old establishment. This whetted my ambition, and I dreamt of nothing but being a gentleman officer, as well as a gentleman soldier.

These two circumstances concurring, I began to be very uneasy, and very unwilling in my thoughts to go over a poor musqueteer into Flanders, to be knocked on the head at the tune of 3s. 6d. a week. While I was daily musing on the circumstances of being sent away, as above, and considering what to do, my captain comes to me one evening: “Hark ye, Jacque,” says he, “I must speak with you; let us take a walk in the fields a little out from the houses.” We were quartered at a place called Park End, near the town of Dunbar, about twenty miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed, and about sixteen miles from the river Tweed, the nearest way.

We walked together here, and talked seriously upon the matter. The captain told me how his case stood, and that he durst not march with the battalion into Newcastle; that if he did he should be taken out of the ranks and tried for his life, and that I knew as well as he. “I could go privately to Newcastle,” says he, “and go through the town well enough, but to go publicly is to run into the jaws of destruction.” “Well,” says I, “that is very true; but what will you do?” “Do!” says he. “Do you think I am so bound by honour, as a gentleman soldier, that I will be hanged for them? No, no,” says he; “I am resolved to be gone, and I would have you go with us.” Said I, “What do you mean by us?” “Why, here is another honest fellow, an Englishman also,” says he, “that is resolved to desert too, and he has been a long while in their service, and says he knows how we shall be used abroad, and he will not go to Flanders, says he, not he.”

“Why,” says I, “you will be shot to death for deserters if you are taken, and they will send out scouts for you in the morning all over the country, so that you will certainly fall into their hands.” “As for that,” says he, “my comrade is thoroughly acquainted with the way, and he has undertaken to bring us to the banks of the Tweed before they can come up with us; and when we are on the other side of the Tweed, they can’t take us up.”

“And when would you go away?” says I.

“This minute,” says he; “no time to be lost; ’tis a fine moonshining night.”

“I have none of my baggage,” says I; “let me go back and fetch my linen and other things.”

“Your linen is not much, I suppose,” says he, “and we shall easily get more in England the old way.”

“No,” says I, “no more of your old ways. It has been owing to those old ways that we are now in such a strait.”

“Well, well,” says he, “the old ways are better than this starving life of a gentleman, as we call it.”

“But,” says I, “we have no money in our pockets. How shall we travel?”

“I have a little,” says the captain, “enough to help us on to Newcastle; and if we can get none by the way, we will get some collier-ship to take us in and carry us to London by sea.”

“I like that the best of all the measures you have laid yet,” said I; and so I consented to go, and went off with him immediately. The cunning rogue, having lodged his comrade a mile off under the hills, had dragged me by talking with him, by little and little, that way, till just when I consented he was in sight, and he said, “Look, there’s my comrade!” who I knew presently, having seen him among the men.

Being thus gotten under the hills, and a mile off the way, and the day just shut in, we kept on apace, resolving, if possible, to get out of the reach of our pursuers before they should miss us or know anything of our being gone.

We plied our time so well and travelled so hard that by five o’clock in the morning, we were at a little village whose name I forget; but they told us that we were within eight miles of the Tweed, and that as soon as we should be over the river we were on English ground.

We refreshed a little here, but marched on with but little stay. However, it was half-an-hour past eight in the morning before we reached the Tweed, so it was at least twelve miles, when they told us it was but eight. Here we overtook two more of the same regiment, who had deserted from Haddington, where another part of the recruits were quartered.

Those were Scotchmen, and very poor, having not one penny in their pockets, and had no more when they made their escape but 8s. between them. And when they saw us, whom they knew to be of the same regiment they took us to be pursuers, and that we came to lay hold of them; upon which they stood upon their defence, having the regiment swords on, as we had also, but none of the mounting or clothing; for we were not to receive the clothing till we came to the regiment in Flanders.

It was not long before we made them understand that we were in the same circumstances with themselves, and so we soon became one company; and after resting some time on the English side of the river (for we were heartily tired, and the others were as much fatigued as we were)—I say, after resting awhile, we set forwards towards Newcastle, whither we resolved to go to get our passage by sea to London; for we had not money to hold us out any farther.

Our money was ebbed very low; for though I had one piece of gold in my pocket, which I kept reserved for the last extremity, yet it was but half-a-guinea, and my captain had bore all our charges as far as his money would go, so that when we came to Newcastle we had but sixpence left in all to help ourselves, and the two Scots had begged their way all along the road.

We contrived to come into Newcastle in the dusk of the evening, and even then we durst not venture into the public part of the town, but made down towards the river, something below the town, where some glass-houses stand. Here we knew not what to do with ourselves; but, guided by our fate, we put a good face upon the matter, and went into an alehouse, sat down, and called for a pint of beer.

The house was kept by a woman only—that is to say, we saw no other; and as she appeared very frank and entertained us cheerfully, we at last told our condition, and asked her if she could not help us to some kind master of a collier that would give us a passage to London by sea. The subtle devil, who immediately found us proper fish for her hook, gave us the kindest words in the world, and told us she was heartily sorry she had not seen us one day sooner; that there was a collier-master, of her particular acquaintance, that went away but with the morning tide; that the ship was fallen down to Shields, but she believed was hardly over the bar yet, and she would send to his house and see if he was gone on board; for sometimes the masters do not go away till a tide after the ship, and she was sure, if he was not gone, she could prevail with him to take us all in; but then she was afraid we must go on board immediately, the same night.

We begged her to send to his house, for we knew not what to do, and if she could oblige him to take us on board, we did not care what time of night it was; for, as we had no money, we had no lodging, and we wanted nothing but to be on board.

We looked upon this as a mighty favour, that she sent to the master’s house, and, to our greater joy, she brought us word about an hour after that he was not gone, and was at a tavern in the town, whither his boy had been to fetch him, and that he had sent word he would call there in the way home.

This was all in our favour, and we were extremely pleased with it. About an hour after, the landlady being in the room with us, her maid brings us word the master was below. So down she goes to him, telling us she would go and tell him our case, and see to persuade him to take us all on board. After some time she comes up with him, and brings him into the room to us. “Where are these honest gentlemen soldiers,” says he, “that are in such distress?” We stood all up, and paid our respects to him. “Well, gentlemen, and is all your money spent?”

“Indeed it is,” said one of our company, “and we shall be infinitely obliged to you, sir, if you will give us a passage. We will be very willing to do anything we can in the ship, though we are not seamen.”

“Why,” says he, “were none of you ever at sea in your lives?”

“No,” says we, “not one of us.”

“You will be able to do me no service, then,” says he; “for you will be all sick. Well, however,” says he, “for my good landlady’s sake here, I’ll do it; but are you all ready to go on board, for I go on board this very night?”

“Yes, sir,” says we again; “we are ready to go this minute.”

“No, no,” says he very kindly; “we’ll drink together. Come, landlady,” says he, “make these honest gentlemen a sneaker of punch.”

We looked at one another, for we knew we had no money, and he perceived it. “Come, come,” says he, “don’t be concerned at your having no money; my landlady here and I never part with dry lips. Come, goodwife,” says he, “make the punch as I bid you.”

We thanked him and said, “God bless you, noble captain,” a hundred times over, being overjoyed with such good luck. While we were drinking the punch he calls the landlady: “Come,” says he, “I’ll step home and take my things, and bid them good-bye, and order the boat to come at high water and take me up here. And pray, goodwife,” says he, “get me something for supper. Sure, if I can give these honest men their passage, I may give them a bit of victuals too; it may be they han’t had much for dinner.”

With this away he went, and in a little while we heard the jack a-going; and one of us, going down stairs for a spy, brought us word there was a good leg of mutton at the fire. In less than an hour our captain came again, and came up to us, and blamed us that we had not drank all the punch out. “Come,” says he, “don’t be bashful; when that is out we can have another. When I am obliging poor men, I love to do it handsomely.”

We drank on, and drank the punch out, and more was brought up, and he pushed it about apace; and then came up a leg of mutton, and I need not say that we ate heartily, being told several times that we should pay nothing. After supper was done he bids my landlady ask if the boat was come. And she brought word no; it was not high water by a good deal. “No!” says he. “Well, then, give us some more punch.” So more punch was brought in, and, as was afterwards confessed, something was put into it, or more brandy than ordinary, and by that time the punch was drunk out we were all very drunk; and as for me, I was asleep.

About the time that was out we were told the boat was come; so we tumbled out, almost over one another, into the boat, and away we went, and our captain in the boat. Most of us, if not all, fell asleep, till after some time, though how much or how far going we knew not, the boat stopped, and we were waked and told we were at the ship’s side, which was true; and with much help and holding us, for fear we should fall overboard, we were all gotten into the ship. All I remember of it was this, that as soon as we were on board our captain, as we called him, called out thus: “Here, boatswain, take care of these gentlemen, and give them good cabins, and let them turn in and go to sleep, for they are very weary;” and so indeed we were, and very drunk too, being the first time I had ever drank punch in my life.

Well, care was taken of us according to order, and we were put into very good cabins, where we were sure to go immediately to sleep. In the meantime the ship, which was indeed just ready to go, and only on notice given had come to an anchor for us at Shields, weighed, stood over the bar, and went off to sea; and when we waked, and began to peep abroad, which was not till near noon the next day, we found ourselves a great way at sea; the land in sight, indeed, but at a great distance, and all going merrily on for London, as we understood it. We were very well used and well satisfied with our condition for about three days, when we began to inquire whether we were not almost come, and how much longer it would be before we should come into the river. “What river?” says one of the men. “Why, the Thames,” says my Captain Jacque. “The Thames!” says the seaman. “What do you mean by that? What, han’t you had time enough to be sober yet?” So Captain Jacque said no more, but looked about him like a fool; when, a while after, some other of us asked the like question, and the seaman, who knew nothing of the cheat, began to smell a trick, and turning to the other Englishman that came with us, “Pray,” says he, “where do you fancy you are going, that you ask so often about it?” “Why, to London,” says he. “Where should we be going? We agreed with the captain to carry us to London.” “Not with the captain,” says he, “I dare say. Poor men! you are all cheated; and I thought so when I saw you come aboard with that kidnapping rogue Gilliman. Poor men!” adds he, “you are all betrayed. Why, you are going to Virginia, and the ship is bound to Virginia.”

The Englishman falls a-storming and raving like a madman, and we gathering round him, let any man guess, if they can, what was our surprise and how we were confounded when we were told how it was. In short, we drew our swords and began to lay about us, and made such a noise and hurry in the ship that at last the seamen were obliged to call out for help. The captain commanded us to be disarmed in the first place, which was not, however, done without giving and receiving some wounds, and afterwards he caused us to be brought to him into the great cabin.

Here he talked very calmly to us, that he was really very sorry for what had befallen us; that he perceived we had been trepanned, and that the fellow who had brought us on board was a rogue that was employed by a sort of wicked merchants not unlike himself; that he supposed he had been represented to us as captain of the ship, and asked us if it was not so. We told him yes, and gave him a large account of ourselves, and how we came to the woman’s house to inquire for some master of a collier to get a passage to London, and that this man engaged to carry us to London in his own ship, and the like, as is related above.

He told us he was very sorry for it, and he had no hand in it; but it was out of his power to help us, and let us know very plainly what our condition was; namely, that we were put on board his ship as servants to be delivered at Maryland to such a man, whom he named to us; but that, however, if we would be quiet and orderly in the ship, he would use us well in the passage, and take care we should be used well when we came there, and that he would do anything for us that lay in his power; but if we were unruly and refractory, we could not expect but he must take such measures as to oblige us to be satisfied; and that, in short, we must be handcuffed, carried down between the decks and kept as prisoners, for it was his business to take care that no disturbance must be in the ship.

My captain raved like a madman, swore at the captain, told him he would not fail to cut his throat, either on board or ashore, whenever he came within his reach; and that, if he could not do it now, he would do it after he came to England again, if ever he durst show his face there again. For he might depend upon it, if he was carried away to Virginia, he should find his way to England again; that, if it was twenty years after, he would have satisfaction of him. “Well, young man,” says the captain, smiling, “’tis very honestly said, and then I must take care of you while I have you here, and afterwards I must take care of myself.” “Do your worst,” says Jacque boldly; “I’ll pay you home for it one time or other.” “I must venture that, young man,” says he, still calmly, “but for the present you and I must talk a little;” so he bids the boatswain, who stood near him, secure him, which he did. I spoke to him to be easy and patient, and that the captain had no hand in our misfortune.

“No hand in it! D—n him,” said he aloud, “do you think he is not confederate in this villainy? Would any honest man receive innocent people on board his ship and not inquire of their circumstances, but carry them away and not speak to them? And now he knows how barbarously we are treated, why does he not set us on shore again? I tell you he is a villain, and none but him. Why does he not complete his villainy and murder us, and then he will be free from our revenge? But nothing else shall ever deliver him from my hands but sending us to the d—l, or going thither himself; and I am honester in telling him so fairly than he has been to me, and am in no passion any more than he is.”

The captain was, I say, a little shocked at his boldness, for he talked a great deal more of the same kind, with a great deal of spirit and fire, and yet without any disorder in his temper. Indeed I was surprised at it, for I never had heard him talk so well and so much to the purpose in my life. The captain was, I say, a little shocked at it. However, he talked very handsomely to him, and said to him, “Look ye, young man, I bear with you the more because I am sensible your case is very hard; and yet I cannot allow your threatening me neither, and you oblige me by that to be severer with you than I intended. However, I will do nothing to you but what your threatening my life makes necessary.” The boatswain called out to have him to the geers, as they called it, and to have him taste the cat-o’-nine-tails—all which were terms we did not understand till afterwards, when we were told he should have been whipped and pickled, for they said it was not to be suffered. But the captain said, “No, no; the young man has been really injured, and has reason to be very much provoked; but I have not injured him,” says he. And then he protested he had no hand in it, that he was put on board, and we also, by the owner’s agent, and for their account; that it was true that they did always deal in servants, and carried a great many every voyage, but that it was no profit to him as commander; but they were always put on board by the owners, and that it was none of his business to inquire about them; and, to prove that he was not concerned in it, but was very much troubled at so base a thing, and that he would not be instrumental to carry us away against our wills, if the wind and the weather would permit, he would set us on shore again, though, as it blowed then, the wind being at south-west and a hard gale, and that they were already as far as the Orkneys, it was impossible.

But the captain was the same man. He told him that, let the wind blow how it would, he ought not to carry us away against our consent; and as to his pretences of his owners and the like, it was saying of nothing to him, for it was he, the captain, that carried us away, and that, whatever rogue trepanned us on board, now he knew it, he ought no more to carry us away than murder us; and that he demanded to be set on shore, or else he, the captain, was a thief and a murderer.

The captain continued mild still; and then I put in with an argument that had like to have brought us all back, if the weather had not really hindered it; which, when I came to understand sea affairs better, I found was indeed so, and that it had been impossible. I told the captain that I was sorry that my brother was so warm, but that our usage was villainous, which he could not deny. Then I took up the air of what my habit did not agree with. I told him that we were not people to be sold for slaves, that though we had the misfortune to be in a circumstance that obliged us to conceal ourselves, having disguised ourselves to get out of the army, as being not willing to go into Flanders, yet that we were men of substance, and able to discharge ourselves from the service when it came to that; and, to convince him of it, I told him I would give him sufficient security to pay £20 apiece for my brother and myself; and in as short time as we could send from the place he should put into London, and receive a return. And, to show that I was able to do it, I pulled out my bill for £94 from the gentleman of the custom-house, and who, to my infinite satisfaction, he knew as soon as he saw the bill. He was astonished at this, and, lifting up his hands, “By what witchcraft,” says he, “were ye brought hither!”

“As to that,” says I, “we have told you the story, and we add nothing to it; but we insist upon it that you will do this justice to us now.” “Well,” says he, “I am very sorry for it, but I cannot answer putting back the ship; neither, if I could,” says he, “is it practicable to be done.”

While this discourse lasted the two Scotchmen and the other Englishman were silent; but as I seemed to acquiesce, the Scotchmen began to talk to the same purpose, which I need not repeat, and had not mentioned but for a merry passage that followed. After the Scotchmen had said all they could, and the captain still told them they must submit,—“And will you then carry us to Virginia?” “Yes,” says the captain. “And will we be sold,” says the Scotchman, “when we come there?” “Yes,” says the captain. “Why then, sir,” says the Scotchman, “the devil will have you at the hinder end of the bargain.” “Say you so,” says the captain, smiling. “Well, well, let the devil and I alone to agree about that; do you be quiet and behave civilly, as you should do, and you shall be used as kindly, both here and there too, as I can.” The poor Scotchmen could say little to it, nor I, nor any of us; for we saw there was no remedy but to leave the devil and the captain to agree among themselves, as the captain had said, as to the honesty of it.

Thus, in short, we were all, I say, obliged to acquiesce but my captain, who was so much the more obstinate when he found that I had a fund to make such an offer upon; nor could all my persuasions prevail with him. The captain of the ship and he had many pleasant dialogues about this in the rest of the voyage, in which Jacque never treated him with any language but that of kidnapper and villain, nor talked of anything but of taking his revenge of him. But I omit that part, though very diverting, as being no part of my own story.

In short, the wind continued to blow hard, though very fair, till, as the seamen said, we were past the islands on the north of Scotland, and that we began to steer away westerly (which I came to understand since). As there was no land any way for many hundred leagues, so we had no remedy but patience, and to be easy as we could; only my surly Captain Jacque continued the same man all the way.

We had a very good voyage, no storms all the way, and a northerly wind almost twenty days together; so that, in a word, we made the capes of Virginia in two-and-thirty days from the day we steered west, as I have said, which was in the latitude of 60 degrees 30 minutes, being to the north of the isle of Great Britain; and this, they said, was a very quick passage.

Nothing material happened to me during the voyage; and indeed, when I came there, I was obliged to act in so narrow a compass that nothing very material could present itself.

When we came ashore, which was in a great river which they call Potomac, the captain asked us, but me more particularly, whether I had anything to propose to him now. Jacque answered, “Yes, I have something to propose to you, captain; that is, that I have promised you to cut your throat, and depend upon it I will be as good as my word.” “Well, well,” says the captain, “if I can’t help it, you shall;” so he turned away to me. I understood him very well what he meant; but I was now out of the reach of any relief; and as for my note, it was now but a bit of paper of no value, for nobody could receive it but myself. I saw no remedy, and so talked coldly to him of it as of a thing I was indifferent about; and indeed I was grown indifferent, for I considered all the way on the voyage, that as I was bred a vagabond, had been a pickpocket and a soldier, and was run from my colours, and that I had no settled abode in the world, nor any employ to get anything by, except that wicked one I was bred to, which had the gallows at the heels of it, I did not see but that this service might be as well to me as other business. And this I was particularly satisfied with when they told me that after I had served out the five years’ servitude I should have the courtesy of the country (as they called it); that is, a certain quantity of land to cultivate and plant for myself. So that now I was like to be brought up to something by which I might live, without that wretched thing called stealing, which my very soul abhorred, and which I had given over, as I have said, ever since that wicked time that I robbed the poor widow of Kentish Town.

In this mind I was when I arrived at Virginia; and so, when the captain inquired of me what I intended to do, and whether I had anything to propose—that is to say, he meant whether I would give him my bill, which he wanted to be fingering very much—I answered coldly, my bill would be of no use to me now, for nobody would advance anything upon it. Only this I would say to him, that if he would carry me and Captain Jacque back to England, and to London again, I would pay him the £20 off my bill for each of us. This he had no mind to; “for, as to your brother,” says he, “I would not take him into my ship for twice £20, he is such a hardened, desperate villain,” says he; “I should be obliged to carry him in irons as I brought him hither.”

Thus we parted with our captain or kidnapper, call him as you will. We were then delivered to the merchants to whom we were consigned, who again disposed of us as they thought fit; and in a few days we were separated.

As for my Captain Jacque, to make short of the story, that desperate rogue had the luck to have a very easy, good master, whose easiness and good humour he abused very much; and, in particular, took an opportunity to run away with a boat which his master entrusted him and another with to carry some provisions down the river to another plantation which he had there. This boat and provisions they ran away with, and sailed north to the bottom of the bay, as they call it, and into a river called Susquehanna, and there quitting the boat, they wandered through the woods, till they came to Pennsylvania, from whence they made shift to get passage to New England, and from thence home; where, falling in among his old companions and to the old trade, he was at length taken and hanged, about a month before I came to London, which was near twenty years afterwards.

My part was harder at the beginning, though better at the latter end. I was disposed of, that is to say, sold, to a rich planter whose name was Smith, and with me the other Englishman, who was my fellow-deserter, that Jacque brought me to when we went off from Dunbar.

We were now fellow-servants, and it was our lot to be carried up a small river or creek which falls into Potomac river, about eight miles from the great river. Here we were brought to the plantation, and put in among about fifty servants, as well negroes as others; and being delivered to the head man, or director, or manager of the plantation, he took care to let us know that we must expect to work, and very hard too; for it was for that purpose his master bought servants, and for no other. I told him, very submissively, that since it was our misfortune to come into such a miserable condition as we were in, we expected no other; only we desired we might be showed our business, and be allowed to learn it gradually, since he might be sure we had not been used to labour; and I added that when he knew particularly by what methods we were brought and betrayed into such a condition, he would perhaps see cause at least to show us that favour, if not more. This I spoke with such a moving tone as gave him a curiosity to inquire into the particulars of our story, which I gave him at large, a little more to our advantage, too, than ordinary.

This story, as I hoped it would, did move him to a sort of tenderness; but yet he told us that his master’s business must be done, and that he expected we must work as above; that he could not dispense with that upon any account whatever. Accordingly, to work we went; and indeed we had three hard things attending us; namely, we worked hard, lodged hard, and fared hard. The first I had been an utter stranger to; the last I could shift well enough with.

During this scene of life I had time to reflect on my past hours, and upon what I had done in the world; and though I had no great capacity of making a clear judgment, and very little reflections from conscience, yet it made some impressions upon me; and particularly, that I was brought into this miserable condition of a slave by some strange directing power as a punishment for the wickedness of my younger years; and this thought was increased upon the following occasion. The master whose service I was now engaged in was a man of substance and figure in the country, and had abundance of servants, as well negroes as English; in all, I think, he had near two hundred; and among so many, as some grew every year infirm and unable to work, others went off upon their time being expired, and others died; and by these and other accidents the number would diminish, if they were not often recruited and filled, and this obliged him to buy more every year.

It happened while I was here that a ship arrived from London with several servants, and among the rest was seventeen transported felons, some burnt in the hand, others not; eight of whom my master bought for the time specified in the warrant for their transportation respectively, some for a longer, some a shorter, term of years.

Our master was a great man in the country, and a justice of peace, though he seldom came down to the plantation where I was. Yet, as the new servants were brought on shore and delivered at our plantation, his worship came thither, in a kind of state, to see and receive them. When they were brought before him I was called, among other servants, as a kind of guard, to take them into custody after he had seen them, and carry them to the work. They were brought by a guard of seamen from the ship, and the second mate of the ship came with them, and delivered them to our master, with the warrant for their transportation, as above.

When his worship had read over the warrants, he called them over by their names, one by one, and having let them know, by his reading the warrants over again to each man respectively, that he knew for what offences they were transported, he talked to every one separately very gravely; let them know how much favour they had received in being saved from the gallows, which the law had appointed for their crimes; that they were not sentenced to be transported, but to be hanged, and that transportation was granted them upon their own request and humble petition.

Then he laid before them that they ought to look upon the life they were just going to enter upon as just beginning the world again; that if they thought fit to be diligent and sober, they would, after the time they were ordered to serve was expired, be encouraged by the constitution of the country to settle and plant for themselves; and that even he himself would be so kind to them, that if he lived to see any of them serve their time faithfully out, it was his custom to assist his servants in order to their settling in that country, according as their behaviour might merit from him; and they would see and know several planters round about them who now were in very good circumstances, and who formerly were only his servants, in the same condition with them, and came from the same place—that is to say, Newgate; and some of them had the mark of it in their hands, but were now very honest men and lived in very good repute.

Among the rest of his new servants, he came to a young fellow not above seventeen or eighteen years of age, and his warrant mentions that he was, though a young man, yet an old offender; that he had been several times condemned, but had been respited or pardoned, but still he continued an incorrigible pickpocket; that the crime for which he was now transported was for picking a merchant’s pocket-book, or letter-case, out of his pocket, in which was bills of exchange for a very great sum of money; that he had afterwards received the money upon some of the bills, but that going to a goldsmith in Lombard Street with another bill, and having demanded the money, he was stopped, notice having been given of the loss of them; that he was condemned to die for the felony, and being so well known for an old offender, had certainly died, but the merchant, upon his earnest application, had obtained that he should be transported, on condition that he restored all the rest of his bills, which he had done accordingly.

Our master talked a long time to this young fellow; mentioned, with some surprise, that he so young should have followed such a wicked trade so long as to obtain the name of an old offender at so young an age; and that he should be styled incorrigible, which is to signify that notwithstanding his being whipped two or three times, and several times punished by imprisonment, and once burnt in the hand, yet nothing would do him any good, but that he was still the same. He talked mighty religiously to this boy, and told him God had not only spared him from the gallows, but had now mercifully delivered him from the opportunity of committing the same sin again, and put it into his power to live an honest life, which perhaps he knew not how to do before; and though some part of his life now might be laborious, yet he ought to look on it to be no more than being put out apprentice to an honest trade, in which, when he came out of his time, he might be able to set up for himself and live honestly.

Then he told him that while he was a servant he would have no opportunity to be dishonest; so when he came to be for himself he would have no temptation to it; and so, after a great many other kind things said to him and the rest, they were dismissed.

I was exceedingly moved at this discourse of our master’s, as anybody would judge I must be, when it was directed to such a young rogue, born a thief, and bred up a pickpocket, like myself; for I thought all my master said was spoken to me, and sometimes it came into my head that sure my master was some extraordinary man, and he knew all things that ever I had done in my life.

But I was surprised to the last degree when my master, dismissing all the rest of us servants, pointed at me, and speaking to his head-clerk, “Here,” says he, “bring that young fellow hither to me.”

I had been near a year in the work, and I had plied it so well that the clerk, or headman, either flattered me or did really believe that I behaved very well. But I was terribly frighted to hear myself called out aloud, just as they used to call for such as had done some misdemeanour, and were to be lashed or otherwise corrected.

I came in like a malefactor indeed, and thought I looked like one just taken in the fact and carried before the justice; and indeed when I came in, for I was carried into an inner room or parlour in the house to him (his discourse to the rest was in a large hall, where he sat in a seat like a lord judge upon the bench, or a petty king upon his throne); when I came in, I say, he ordered his man to withdraw, and I standing half naked and bare-headed, with my haugh, or hoe, in my hand (the posture and figure I was in at my work), near the door, he bade me lay down my hoe and come nearer. Then he began to look a little less stern and terrible than I fancied him to look before, or, perhaps, both his countenance then and before might be to my imagination differing from what they really were; for we do not always judge those things by the real temper of the person, but by the measure of our apprehensions.

“Hark ye, young man, how old are you?” says my master; and so our dialogue began.

Jacque. Indeed, sir, I do not know.

Mast. What is your name?

Jacque. They call me Colonel4 here, but my name is Jacque, an’t please your worship.

Mast. But prithee, what is thy name?

Jacque. Jacque.

Mast. What! is thy Christian name, then, Colonel, and thy surname Jacque?

Jacque. Truly, sir, to tell your honour the truth, I know little or nothing of myself,5 nor what my true name is; but thus I have been called ever since I remember. Which is my Christian name, or which my surname, or whether I was ever christened or not, I cannot tell.

Mast. Well, however, that’s honestly answered. Pray, how came you hither, and on what account are you made a servant here?

Jacque. I wish your honour could have patience with me to hear the whole story; it is the hardest and most unjust thing that ever came before you.

Mast. Say you so? Tell it me at large, then. I’ll hear it, I promise that, if it be an hour long.

This encouraged me, and I began at being a soldier, and being persuaded to desert at Dunbar, and gave him all the particulars, as they are related above, to the time of my coming on shore and the captain talking to me about my bill after I arrived here. He held up his hands several times as I went on, expressing his abhorrence of the usage I had met with at Newcastle, and inquired the name of the master of the ship; “for,” said he, “that captain, for all his smooth words, must be a rogue.” So I told him his name, and the name of the ship, and he took it down in his book, and then he went on.

Mast. But pray answer me, honestly too, to another question: What was it made you so much concerned at my talking to the boy there, the pickpocket?

Jacque. An’t please your honour, it moved me to hear you talk so kindly to a poor slave.

Mast. And was that all? Speak truly now.

Jacque. No, indeed; but a secret wish came into my thoughts, that you, that were so good to such a creature as that, could but one way or other know my case, and that if you did, you would certainly pity me, and do something for me.

Mast. Well, but was there nothing in his case that hit your own, that made you so affected with it; for I saw tears come from your eyes and it was that made me call to speak to you?

Jacque. Indeed, sir, I have been a wicked, idle boy, and was left desolate in the world; but that boy is a thief, and condemned to be hanged. I never was before a court of justice in my life.

Mast. Well, I won’t examine you too far. If you were never before a court of justice, and are not a criminal transported, I have nothing further to inquire of you. You have been ill used, that’s certain; and was it that that affected you?

Jacque. Yes, indeed, please your honour. (We all called him his honour, or his worship.)

Mast. Well, now I do know your case, what can I do for you? You speak of a bill of £94 of which you would have given the captain £40 for your liberty; have you that bill in your keeping still?

Jacque. Yes, sir; here it is.

I pulled it out of the waistband of my drawers, where I always found means to preserve it, wrapped up in a piece of paper, and pinned to the waistband, and yet almost worn out, too, with often pinning and removing. So I gave it to him to read, and he read it.

Mast. And is this gentleman in being that gave you the bill?

Jacque. Yes, sir; he was alive and in good health when I came from London, which you may see by the date of the bill, for I came away the next day.

Mast. I do not wonder that the captain of the ship was willing to get this bill of you when you came on shore here.

Jacque. I would have given it into his possession if he would have carried me and my brother back again to England, and have taken what he asked for us out of it.

Mast. Ay; but he knew better than that, too. He knew, if he had any friends there, they would call him to an account for what he had done. But I wonder he did not take it from you while you were at sea, either by fraud or by force.

Jacque. He did not attempt that indeed.

Mast. Well, young man, I have a mind to try if I can do you any service in this case. On my word, if the money can be paid, and you can get it safe over, I might put you in a way how to be a better man than your master, if you will be honest and diligent.

Jacque. As I have behaved myself in your service, sir, you will, I hope, judge of the rest.

Mast. But perhaps you hanker after returning to England?

Jacque. No, indeed, sir; if I can but get my bread honestly here, I have no mind to go to England; for I know not how to get my bread there. If I had, I had not ’listed for a soldier.

Mast. Well, but I must ask you some questions about that part hereafter; for ’tis indeed something strange that you should list for a soldier when you had £94 in your pocket.

Jacque. I shall give your worship as particular account of that as I have of the other part of my life, if you please; but ’tis very long.

Mast. Well, we will have that another time. But to the case in hand. Are you willing I should send to anybody at London to talk with that gentleman that gave you the bill; not to take the money of him, but to ask him only whether he has so much money of yours in his hands, and whether he will part with it when you shall give order, and send the bill, or a duplicate of it; that is (says he) the copy? (And it was well he did say so, for I did not understand the word duplicate at all.)

Jacque. Yes, sir; I will give you the bill itself, if you please. I can trust it with you, though I could not with him.

Mast. No, no, young man, I won’t take it from you.

Jacque. I wish your worship would please to keep it for me, for if I should lose it, then I am quite undone.

Mast. I will keep it for you, Jacque, if you will; but then you shall have a note under my hand, signifying that I have it, and will return it you upon demand, which will be as safe to you as the bill. I won’t take it else.

So I gave my master the bill, and he gave me his note for it; and he was a faithful steward for me, as you will hear in its place. After this conference I was dismissed, and went to my work; but about two hours after, the steward, or the overseer of the plantation, came riding by, and coming up to me as I was at work, pulled a bottle out of his pocket, and calling me to him, gave me a dram of rum. When, in good manners, I had taken but a little sup, he held it out to me again, and bade me take another, and spoke wondrous civilly to me, quite otherwise than he used to do.

This encouraged me and heartened me very much, but yet I had no particular view of anything, or which way I should have any relief.

A day or two after, when we were all going out to our work in the morning, the overseer called me to him again, and gave me a dram and a good piece of bread, and bade me come off from my work about one o’clock, and come to him to the house, for he must speak with me.

When I came to him, I came, to be sure, in the ordinary habit of a poor half-naked slave. “Come hither, young man,” says he, “and give me your hoe.” When I gave it him, “Well,” says he, “you are to work no more in this plantation.”

I looked surprised, and as if I was frighted. “What have I done, sir?” said I; “and whither am I to be sent away?”

“Nay, nay,” says he, and looked very pleasantly, “do not be frighted; ’tis for your good; ’tis not to hurt you. I am ordered to make an overseer of you, and you shall be a slave no longer.”

“Alas!” says I to him, “I an overseer! I am in no condition for it. I have no clothes to put on, no linen, nothing to help myself.”

“Well, well,” says he, “you may be better used than you are aware of. Come hither with me.” So he led me into a vast, great warehouse, or, rather, set of warehouses, one within another, and calling the warehouse-keeper, “Here,” says he, “you must clothe this man, and give him everything necessary, upon the foot of number five, and give the bill to me. Our master has ordered me to allow it in the account of the west plantation.” That was, it seems, the plantation where I was to go.

Accordingly, the warehouse-keeper carried me into an inner warehouse, where were several suits of clothes of the sort his orders mentioned, which were plain but good sorts of clothes, ready made, being of a good broadcloth, about 11s. a yard in England; and with this he gave me three good shirts, two pair of shoes, stockings, and gloves, a hat, six neckcloths, and, in short, everything I could want; and when he had looked everything out, and fitted them, he lets me into a little room by itself. “Here,” says he; “go in there a slave, and come out a gentleman;” and with that carried everything into the room, and, shutting the door, bid me put them on, which I did most willingly; and now you may believe that I began to hope for something better than ordinary.

In a little while after this came the overseer, and gave me joy of my new clothes, and told me I must go with him. So I was carried to another plantation, larger than that where I worked before, and where there were two overseers or clerks; one within doors, and one without. This last was removed to another plantation, and I was placed there in his room (that is to say, as the clerk without doors), and my business was to look after the servants and negroes, and take care that they did their business, provide their food, and, in short, both govern and direct them.

I was elevated to the highest degree in my thoughts at this advancement, and it is impossible for me to express the joy of my mind upon this occasion; but there came a difficulty upon me, that shocked me so violently and went so against my very nature that I really had almost forfeited my place about it, and, in all appearance, the favour of our master, who had been so generous to me; and this was, that when I entered upon my office, I had a horse given me and a long horsewhip, like what we call in England a hunting-whip. The horse was to ride up and down all over the plantation, to see the servants and negroes did their work; and, the plantation being so large, it could not be done on foot, at least so often and so effectively as was required; and the horsewhip was given me to correct and lash the slaves and servants when they proved negligent or quarrelsome, or, in short, were guilty of any offence. This part turned the very blood within my veins, and I could not think of it with any temper, that I, who was but yesterday a servant or slave like them, and under the authority of the same lash, should lift up my hand to the cruel work which was my terror but the day before. This, I say, I could not do; insomuch that the negroes perceived it, and I had soon so much contempt upon my authority that we were all in disorder.

The ingratitude of their return for the compassion I showed them provoked me, I confess, and a little hardened my heart; and I began with the negroes, two of whom I was obliged to correct; and I thought I did it most cruelly; but after I had lashed them till every blow I struck them hurt myself and I was ready to faint at the work, the rogues laughed at me, and one of them had the impudence to say, behind my back, that, if he had the whipping of me, he would show me better how to whip a negro.

Well, however, I had no power to do it in such a barbarous manner as I found it was necessary to have it done; and the defect began to be a detriment to our master’s business. And now I began indeed to see that the cruelty so much talked of, used in Virginia and Barbados, and other colonies, in whipping the negro slaves, was not so much owing to the tyranny and passion and cruelty of the English, as had been reported, the English not being accounted to be of a cruel disposition, and really are not so; but that it is owing to the brutality and obstinate temper of the negroes, who cannot be managed by kindness and courtesy, but must be ruled with a rod of iron, beaten with scorpions, as the Scripture calls it, and must be used as they do use them, or they would rise and murder all their masters; which, their numbers considered, would not be hard for them to do, if they had arms and ammunition suitable to the rage and cruelty of their nature.

But I began to see at the same time that this brutal temper of the negroes was not rightly managed; that they did not take the best course with them to make them sensible, either of mercy or punishment; and it was evident to me that even the worst of those tempers might be brought to a compliance without the lash, or at least without so much of it as they generally inflicted.

Our master was really a man of humanity himself, and was sometimes so full of tenderness that he would forbid the severities of his overseers and stewards; but he saw the necessity of it, and was obliged at last to leave it to the discretion of his upper servants. Yet he would often bid them be merciful, and bid them consider the difference of the constitution of the bodies of the negroes, some being less able to bear the tortures of their punishment than others, and some of them less obstinate, too, than others.

However, somebody was so officious as to inform him against me upon this occasion, and let him know that I neglected his affairs, and that the servants were under no government; by which means his plantation was not duly managed, and that all things were in disorder.

This was a heavy charge for a young overseer, and his honour came like a judge, with all his attendants, to look into things and hear the cause. However, he was so just to me as that, before he censured me, he resolved to hear me fully, and that not only publicly, but in private too. And the last part of this was my particular good fortune; for, as he had formerly allowed me to speak to him with freedom, so I had the like freedom now, and had full liberty to explain and defend myself.

I knew nothing of the complaint against me till I had it from his own mouth, nor anything of his coming till I saw him in the very plantation, viewing his work, and viewing the several pieces of ground that were ordered to be new planted; and after he had rode all round, and seen things in the condition which they were to be seen in, how every thing was in its due order, and the servants and negroes were all at work, and everything appearing to his mind, he went into the house.

As I saw him come up the walks I ran towards him and made my homage, and gave him my humble thanks for the goodness he had showed me in taking me from the miserable condition I was in before, and employing and entrusting me in his business; and he looked pleasant enough, though he did not say much at first; and I attended him through the whole plantation, gave him an account of everything as we went along, answered all his objections and inquiries everywhere in such a manner as it seems he did not expect; and, as he acknowledged afterwards, everything was very much to his satisfaction.

There was an overseer, as I observed, belonging to the same plantation, who was, though not over me, yet in a work superior to mine; for his business was to see the tobacco packed up and deliver it either on board the sloops or otherwise, as our master ordered, and to receive English goods from the grand warehouse, which was at the other plantation, because that was nearest the water-side; and, in short, to keep the accounts.

This overseer, an honest and upright man, made no complaint to him of his business being neglected, as above, or of anything like it, though he inquired of him about it, and that very strictly, too.

I should have said, that as he rid over the plantation, he came in his round to the place where the servants were usually corrected when they had done any fault; and there stood two negroes, with their hands tied behind them, as it were under sentence; and when he came near them they fell on their knees and made pitiful signs to him for mercy. “Alas! alas!” says he, turning to me, “why did you bring me this way? I do not love such sights. What must I do now? I must pardon them; prithee, what have they done?” I told him the particular offences which they were brought to the place for. One had stole a bottle of rum, and had made himself drunk with it, and, when he was drunk, had done a great many mad things, and had attempted to knock one of the white servants’ brains out with a handspike, but that the white man had avoided the blow, and, striking up the negro’s heels, had seized him and brought him prisoner thither, where he had lain all night; and that I had told him he was to be whipped that day, and the next three days, twice every day.

“And could you be so cruel?” says his honour. “Why, you would kill the poor wretch; and so, beside the blood which you would have to answer for, you would lose me a lusty man negro, which cost me at least £30 or £40, and bring a reproach upon my whole plantation. Nay, and more than that, some of them in revenge would murder me, if ever it was in their power.”

“Sir,” says I, “if those fellows are not kept under by violence, I believe you are satisfied nothing is to be done with them; and it is reported in your works that I have been rather their jest than their terror, for want of using them as they deserve; and I was resolved, how much soever it is against my own disposition, that your service should not suffer for my unseasonable forbearance; and therefore, if I had scourged him to death——” “Hold,” says he; “no, no, by no means any such severity in my bounds. Remember, young man; you were once a servant. Deal as you would acknowledge it would be just to deal with you in his case, and mingle always some mercy. I desire it, and let the consequence of being too gentle be placed to my account.”

This was as much as I could desire, and the more because what passed was in public, and several, both negroes and white servants, as well as the particular persons who had accused me, heard it all, though I did not know it. “A cruel dog of an overseer,” says one of the white servants behind; “he would have whipped poor bullet-head”—so they called the negro that was to be punished—“to death if his honour had not happened to come to-day.”

However, I urged the notorious crime this fellow was guilty of, and the danger there was in such forbearance, from the refractory and incorrigible temper of the negroes, and pressed a little the necessity of making examples. But he said, “Well, well, do it the next time, but not now;” so I said no more.

The other fellow’s crime was trifling compared with this; and the master went forward, talking of it to me, and I following him, till we came to the house; when, after he had been sat down a while, he called me to him, and, not suffering my accusers to come near till he had heard my defence, he began with me thus:—

Mast. Hark ye, young man, I must have some discourse with you. Your conduct is complained of since I set you over this plantation. I thought your sense of the obligation I had laid on you would have secured your diligence and faithfulness to me.

Jacque. I am very sorry any complaint should be made of me, because the obligation I am under to your honour (and which I freely confess) does bind me to your interest in the strongest manner imaginable; and, however I may have mistaken my business, I am sure I have not willingly neglected it.

Mast. Well, I shall not condemn you without hearing you, and therefore I called you in now to tell you of it.

Jacque. I humbly thank your honour. I have but one petition more, and that is, that I may know my accusation; and, if you please, my accusers.

Mast. The first you shall, and that is the reason of my talking to you in private; and if there is any need of a further hearing, you shall know your accusers too. What you are charged with is just contrary to what appeared to me just now, and therefore you and I must come to a new understanding about it, for I thought I was too cunning for you, and now I think you have been too cunning for me.

Jacque. I hope your honour will not be offended that I do not fully understand you.

Mast. I believe you do not. Come, tell me honestly, did you really intend to whip the poor negro twice a day for four days together; that is to say, to whip him to death, for that would have been the English of it, and the end of it?

Jacque. If I may be permitted to guess, sir, I believe I know the charge that is brought against me, and that your honour has been told that I have been too gentle with the negroes, as well as other servants; and that when they deserved to be used with the accustomed severity of the country, I have not given them half enough; and that by this means they are careless of your business, and that your plantation is not well looked after, and the like.

Mast. Well, you guess right. Go on.

Jacque. The first part of the charge I confess, but the last I deny, and appeal to your honour’s strictest examination into every part of it.

Mast. If the last part could be true, I would be glad the first were; for it would be an infinite satisfaction to me that, my business not being neglected, nor our safety endangered, those poor wretches could be used with more humanity; for cruelty is the aversion of my nature, and it is the only uncomfortable thing that attends me in all my prosperity.

Jacque. I freely acknowledge, sir, that at first it was impossible for me to bring myself to that terrible work. How could I, that was but just come out of the terror of it myself, and had but the day before been a poor naked, miserable servant myself, and might be to-morrow reduced to the same condition again; how could I use this terrible weapon6 on the naked flesh of my fellow-servants, as well as fellow-creatures? At least, sir, when my duty made it absolutely necessary, I could not do it without the utmost horror. I beseech you, pardon me if I have such a tenderness in my nature, that though I might be fit to be your servant, I am incapable of being an executioner, having been an offender myself.

Mast. Well, but how, then, can my business be done? And how will this terrible obstinacy of the negroes, who, they tell me, can be no otherwise governed, be kept from neglect of their work, or even insolence and rebellion?

Jacque. This brings me, sir, to the latter part of my defence; and here I hope your honour will be pleased to call my accusers, or that you will give yourself the trouble of taking the exactest view of your plantation, and see, or let them show you, if anything is neglected, if your business has suffered in anything, or if your negroes or other servants are under less government than they were before; and if, on the contrary, I have found out that happy secret, to have good order kept, the business of the plantation done, and that with diligence and despatch, and that the negroes are kept in awe, the natural temper of them subjected, and the safety and peace of your family secured, as well by gentle means as by rough, by moderate correction as by torture and barbarity, by a due awe of just discipline as by the horror of unsufferable torments, I hope your honour will not lay that sin to my charge.

Mast. No, indeed; you would be the most acceptable manager that ever I employed. But how, then, does this consist with the cruel sentence you had passed on the poor fellow that is in your condemned hole yonder, who was to be whipped eight times in four days?

Jacque. Very well, sir. First, sir, he remains under the terrible apprehensions of a punishment so severe as no negro ever had before. This fellow, with your leave, I intended to release to-morrow without any whipping at all, after talking to him in my way about his offence, and raising in his mind a sense of the value of pardon. And if this makes him a better servant than the severest whipping will do, then, I presume, you would allow I have gained a point.

Mast. Ay; but what if it should not be so? For these fellows have no sense of gratitude.

Jacque. That is, sir, because they are never pardoned. If they offend, they never know what mercy is; and what, then, have they to be grateful for?

Mast. Thou art in the right indeed. Where there is no mercy showed, there is no obligation laid upon them.

Jacque. Besides, sir, if they have at any time been let go, which is very seldom, they are not told what the case is. They take no pains with them to imprint principles of gratitude on their minds, to tell them what kindness is shown them, and what they are indebted for it, and what they might gain in the end by it.

Mast. But do you think such usage would do? Would it make any impression? You persuade yourself it would, but you see ’tis against the received notion of the whole country.

Jacque. There are, it may be, public and national mistakes and errors in conduct, and this is one.

Mast. Have you tried it? You cannot say it is a mistake till you have tried and proved it to be so.

Jacque. Your whole plantation is a proof of it. This very fellow had never acted as he did if he had not gotten rum in his head, and been out of the government of himself; so that, indeed, all the offence I ought to have punished him for had been that of stealing a bottle of rum and drinking it all up; in which case, like Noah, he did not know the strength of it, and when he had it in his head he was a madman, he was as one raging and distracted; so that, for all the rest, he deserved pity rather than punishment.

Mast. Thou art right, certainly right, and thou wilt be a rare fellow if thou canst bring these notions into practice. I wish you had tried it upon any one particular negro, that I might see an example. I would give £500 if it could be brought to bear.

Jacque. I desire nothing, sir, but your favour, and the advantage of obliging you. I will show you an example of it among your own negroes, and all the plantation will acknowledge it.

Mast. You make my very heart glad within me, Jacque. If you can bring this to pass, I here give you my word I’ll not only give you your own freedom, but make a man of you for this world as long as you live.

Upon this I bowed to him very respectfully, and told him the following story:—“There is a negro, sir, in your plantation who has been your servant several years before I came. He did a fault that was of no great consequence in itself, but perhaps would have been worse if they had indeed gone further; and I had him brought into the usual place, and tied him by the thumbs for correction, and he was told that he should be whipped and pickled in a dreadful manner. After I had made proper impressions on his mind of the terror of his punishment, and found that he was sufficiently humbled by it, I went into the house, and caused him to be brought out, just as they do when they go to correct the negroes on such occasions. When he was stripped and tied up he had two lashes given him, that was indeed very cruel ones, and I called to them to hold. ‘Hold!’ said I to the two men that had just began to lay on upon the poor fellow: ‘Hold!’ said I, ‘let me talk with him.’

“So he was taken down. Then I began and represented to him how kind you, that were his great master,7 had been to him; that you had never done him any harm; that you had used him gently, and he had never been brought to this punishment in so many years, though he had done some faults before; that this was a notorious offence, for he had stolen some rum, and made himself and two other negroes drunk-mad;8 and had abused two women negroes, who had husbands in our master’s service, but in another plantation; and played several pranks, and for this I had appointed him this punishment.

“He shook his head, and made signs that he was muchee sorree, as he called it. ‘And what will you say or do,’ said I, ‘if I should prevail with the great master to pardon you? I have a mind to go and see if I can beg for you.’ He told me he would lie down, let me kill him. ‘Me will,’ says he, ‘run, go, fetch, bring for you as long as me live.’ This was the opportunity I had a mind to have, to try whether, as negroes have all the other faculties of reasonable creatures, they had not also some sense of kindness, some principles of natural generosity, which, in short, is the foundation of gratitude; for gratitude is the product of generous principles.”

“You please me with the beginning of this story,” says he; “I hope you have carried it on.”

“Yes, sir,” says I; “it has been carried on further perhaps than you imagine, or will think has been possible in such a case.

“But I was not so arrogant as to assume the merit to myself. ‘No, no,’ said I, ‘I do not ask you to go or run for me; you must do all that for our great master, for it will be from him entirely that you will be pardoned at all, for your offence is against him; and what will you say? Will you be grateful to him, and run, go, fetch, bring, for him, as long as you live, as you have said you would for me?’

“’Yes, indeed,’ says he, ‘and muchee do, muchee do, for you too’ (he would not leave me out); ‘you ask him for me.’

“Well, I put off all his promised gratitude to me from myself, as was my duty, and placed it to your account; told him I knew you was muchee good, muchee pitiful, and I would persuade you if I could; and so told him I would go to you, and he should be whipped no more till I came again; but, ‘Hark ye, Mouchat,’ says I (that was the negro’s name), ‘they tell me, when I came hither, that there is no showing kindness to any of you negroes; that when we spare you from whipping you laugh at us, and are the worse.’

“He looked very serious at me, and said, ‘Oh, that not so; the masters say so, but no be so, no be so, indeede, indeede,’ and so we parleyed.”

Jacque. Why do they say so, then? To be sure they have tried you all.

Negro. No, no, they no try; they say so, but no try.

Jacque. I hear them all say so.

Negro. Me tell you the true; they have no mercie; they beat us cruel, all cruel; they never have show mercie. How can they tell we be no better?

Jacque. What! do they never spare?

Negro. Master, me speakee the true; they never give mercie; they always whippee, lashee, knockee down, all cruel. Negro be muchee better man, do muchee better work, but they tell us no mercie.

Jacque. But what, do they never show any mercy?

Negro. No, never; no, never; all whippee; all whippee, cruel, worse than they whippee de horse, whippee de dog.

Jacque. But would they be better if they did?

Negro. Yes, yes; negro be muchee better if they be mercie. When they be whippee, whippee, negro muchee cry, muchee hate; would kill if they had de gun. But when they makee de mercie, then negro tell de great tankee, and love to worke, and do muchee worke; and because he good master to them.

Jacque. They say no; you would laugh at them and mock when they show mercy.

Negro. How they say when they show mercie? They never show mercie; me never see them show one mercie since me live.

“Now, sir,” said I, “if this be so, really they go, I dare say, contrary to your inclination, for I see you are but too full of pity for the miserable. I saw it in my own case; and upon a presumption that you had rather have your work done from a principle of love than fear, without making your servants bleed for every trifle, if it were possible; I say, upon this presumption I dealt with this Mouchat, as you shall hear.”

Mast. I have never met with anything of this kind since I have been a planter, which is now about forty years. I am delighted with the story. Go on; I expect a pleasant conclusion.

Jacque. The conclusion, sir, will be, I believe, as much to your satisfaction as the beginning; for it every way answered my expectation, and will yours also, and show you how you might be faithfully served if you pleased, for ’tis certain you are not so served now.

Mast. No, indeed; they serve me but just as they do the devil, for fear I should hurt them. But ’tis contrary to an ingenuous spirit to delight in such service. I abhor it, if I could but know how to get any other.

Jacque. It is easy, sir, to show you that you may be served upon better principles, and consequently be better served, and more to your satisfaction; and I dare undertake to convince you of it.

Mast. Well, go on with the story.

Jacque. After I had talked thus to him I said, “Well, Mouchat, I shall see how you will be afterwards, if I can get our great master to be merciful to you at this time.”

Negro. Yes, you shall see; you muchee see, muchee see.

“Upon this I called for my horse and went from him, and made as if I rode away to you, who they told me was in the next plantation; and having stayed four or five hours, I came back and talked to him again, told him that I had waited on you, and that you had heard of his offence, was highly provoked, and had resolved to cause him to be severely punished for an example to all the negroes in the plantation; but that I had told you how penitent he was, and how good he would be if you would pardon him; and had at last prevailed on you. That you had told me what all people said of the negroes; how, that to show them mercy was to make them think you were never in earnest with them, and that you did but trifle and play with them. However, that I had told you what he had said of himself, and that it was not true of the negroes, and that the white men said it, but that they could not know because they did never show any mercy, and therefore had never tried; that I had persuaded you to show mercy, to try whether kindness would prevail as much as cruelty. ‘And now, Mouchat,’ said I, ‘you will be let go. Pray let our great master see that I have said true.’ So I ordered him to be untied, gave him a dram of rum out of my pocket-bottle, and ordered them to give him some victuals.

“When the fellow was let loose, he came to me and kneeled down to me, and took hold of my legs and of my feet, and laid his head upon the ground, and sobbed and cried like a child that had been corrected, but could not speak for his life; and thus he continued a long time. I would have taken him up, but he would not rise; but I cried as fast as he, for I could not bear to see a poor wretch lie on the ground to me, that was but a servant the other day like himself. At last, but not till a quarter of an hour, I made him get up, and then he spoke. ‘Me muchee know good great master, muchee good you master. No negro unthankful; me die for them, do me so muchee kind.’

“I dismissed him then, and bid him go to his wife (for he was married), and not work that afternoon; but as he was going away I called him again, and talked thus to him.

“‘Now, Mouchat,’ says I, ‘you see the white men can show mercy. Now you must tell all the negroes what has been reported of them; that they regard nothing but the whip; that if they are used gently they are the worse, not the better; and that this is the reason why the white men show them no mercy; and convince them that they would be much better treated and used kindlier if they would show themselves as grateful for kind usage as humble after torment; and see if you can work on them.’

“‘Me go, me go,’ says he; ‘me muchee talk to them. They be muchee glad as me be, and do great work to be used kind by de great master.’”

Mast. Well, but now what testimony have you of this gratitude you speak of? Have you seen any alteration among them?

Jacque. I come next to that part, sir. About a month after this I caused a report to be spread abroad in the plantation that I had offended you, the great master, and that I was turned out of the plantation, and was to be hanged. Your honour knows that some time ago you sent me upon your particular business into Potuxent River, where I was absent twelve days; then I took the opportunity to have this report spread about among the negroes, to see how it would work.

Mast. What! to see how Mouchat would take it?

Jacque. Yes, sir; and it made a discovery indeed. The poor fellow did not believe it presently, but finding I was still absent, he went to the head-clerk, and standing at his door, said nothing, but looked like a fool of ten years old. After some time the upper overseer came out, and seeing him stand there, at first said nothing, supposing he had been sent of some errand; but observing him to stand stock-still, and that he was in the same posture and place during the time that he had passed and repassed two or three times, he stops short the last time of his coming by. “What do you want,” says he to him, “that you stand idle here so long?”

“‘Me speakee; me tell something,’ says he.

“Then the overseer thought some discovery was at hand, and began to listen to him. ‘What would you tell me?’ says he.

“‘Me tell! Pray,’ says he, ‘where be de other master?’

“He meant he would ask where he was. ‘What other master do you mean?’ says the clerk. ‘What! do you want to speak with the great master? He can’t be spoke with by you. Pray what is your business? Cannot you tell it to me?’

“‘No, no; me no speakee the great master—the other master,’ says Mouchat.”

“‘What! the colonel?’ says the clerk.

“‘Yes, yes; the colonel,’ says he.

“‘Why, don’t you know that he is to be hanged to-morrow,’ says the clerk, ‘for making the great master angry?’9

“‘Yes, yes,’ says Mouchat; ‘me know, me know; but me want speak; me tell something.’

“‘Well, what would you say?’ says the clerk.

“‘Oh! me no let him makee de great master angry.’ With that he kneeled down to the clerk.

“‘What ails you?’ says the clerk. ‘I tell you he must be hanged.’

“‘No, no,’ says he; ‘no hang de master. Me kneel for him to great master.’

“‘You kneel for him!’ says the clerk.10 ‘What! do you think the great master will mind you? He has made the great master angry, and must be hanged, I tell you. What signifies your begging?’

Negro. Oh! me pray, me pray the great master for him.

Clerk. Why, what ails you that you would pray for him?

Negro. Oh! he beggee the great master for me; now me beggee for him. The great master muchee good, muchee good; he pardon me when the other master beggee me; now he pardon him when me beggee for him again.

Clerk. No, no; your begging won’t do. Will you be hanged for him? If you do that, something may be.

Negro. Yes, yes; me be hang for de poor master that beggee for me. Mouchat shall hang; the great master shall hangee me, whippee me; anything to save the poor master that beggee me; yes, yes, indeed.

Clerk. Are you in earnest, Mouchat?

Negro. Yes, indeed; me tellee de true. The great master shall know me tellee de true, for he shall see the white man hangee me, Mouchat. Poor negro Mouchat will be hangee, be whippee, anything for the poor master that beggee for me.

“With this the poor fellow cried most pitifully, and there was no room to question his being in earnest; when on a sudden I appeared, for I was fetched to see all this transaction. I was not in the house at first, but was just come home from the business you sent me of, and heard it all; and indeed neither the clerk or I could bear it any longer, so he came out to me. ‘Go to him,’ says he; ‘you have made an example that will never be forgot, that a negro can be grateful. Go to him,’ adds he, ‘for I can talk to him no longer.’ So I appeared, and spoke to him presently, and let him see that I was at liberty; but to hear how the poor fellow behaved your honour cannot but be pleased.”

Mast. Prithee go on. I am pleased with it all; ’tis all a new scene of negro life to me, and very moving.

Jacque. For a good while he stood as if he had been thunderstruck and stupid; but, looking steadily at me, though not speaking a word, at last he mutters to himself, with a kind of laugh, “Ay, ay,” says he, “Mouchat see, Mouchat no see; me wakee, me no wakee; no hangee, no hangee; he live truly, very live;” and then on a sudden he runs to me, snatches me away as if I had been a boy of ten years old, and takes me up upon his back and runs away with me, till I was fain to cry out to him to stop. Then he sets me down, and looks at me again, then falls a-dancing about me as if he had been bewitched, just as you have seen them do about their wives and children when they are merry.

“Well, then, he began to talk with me, and told me what they had said to him, how I was to be hanged. ‘Well,’ says I, ‘Mouchat, and would you have been satisfied to be hanged to save me?’ ‘Yes, yes,’ says he; ‘be truly hangee, to beggee you.’

“‘But why do you love me so well, Mouchat?’ said I.

“‘Did you no beggee me,’ he says, ‘at the great master? You savee me, make great master muchee good, muchee kind, no whippee me; me no forget; me be whipped, be hanged, that you no be hanged; me die, that you no die; me no let any bad be with you all while that me live.’

“Now, sir, your honour may judge whether kindness, well managed, would not oblige these people as well as cruelty, and whether there are principles of gratitude in them or no.”

Mast. But what, then, can be the reason that we never believed it to be so before?

Jacque. Truly, sir, I fear that Mouchat gave the true reason.

Mast. What was that, pray? That we were too cruel?

Jacque. That they never had any mercy showed them; that we never tried them whether they would be grateful or no; that if they did a fault they were never spared, but punished with the utmost cruelty; so that they had no passion, no affection, to act upon but that of fear, which necessarily brought hatred with it; but that if they were used with compassion they would serve with affection as well as other servants. Nature is the same, and reason governs in just proportions in all creatures; but having never been let taste what mercy is, they know not how to act from a principle of love.

Mast. I am convinced it is so. But now, pray tell me, how did you put this in practice with the poor negroes now in bonds yonder, when you passed such a cruel sentence upon them that they should be whipped twice a day, for four days together? Was that showing mercy?

Jacque. My method was just the same; and if you please to inquire of Mr.——, your other servant, you will be satisfied that it was so; for we agreed upon the same measures as I took with Mouchat; namely, first to put them into the utmost horror and apprehensions of the cruellest punishment that they ever heard of, and thereby enhance the value of their pardon, which was to come as from yourself, but not without our great intercession. Then I was to argue with them, and work upon their reason, to make the mercy that was showed them sink deep into their minds and give lasting impressions; explain the meaning of gratitude to them, and the nature of an obligation, and the like, as I had done with Mouchat.

Mast. I am answered. Your method is certainly right, and I desire you may go on with it; for I desire nothing on this side heaven more than to have all my negroes serve me from principles of gratitude for my kindness to them. I abhor to be feared like a lion, like a tyrant. It is a violence upon nature every way, and is the most disagreeable thing in the world to a generous mind.

Jacque. But, sir, I am doubtful that you may not believe that I intended to act thus with those poor fellows. I beseech you to send for Mr.——, that he may tell you what we had agreed on before I speak with him.

Mast. What reason have I to doubt that?

Jacque. I hope you have not; but I should be very sorry you should think me capable of executing such a sentence as you have heard me own I had passed on them, and there can be no way effectually to clear it up but this.

Mast. Well, seeing you put so much weight upon it, he shall be called for.

[He was called, and being ordered by the master to tell the measures that were concerted between them for the punishment or management of those negroes, he gave it just as Jacque had done before.]

Jacque. I hope, sir, you are now not only satisfied of the truth of the account I gave relating to the method we had agreed on, but of its being so proper and so likely to answer your end.

Mast. I am fully satisfied, and shall be glad to see that it answers the end; for, as I have said, nothing can be more agreeable to me. Nothing has so much robbed me of the comfort of all my fortunes as the cruelty used, in my name, on the bodies of those poor slaves.

Jacque. It is certainly wrong, sir; it is not only wrong as it is barbarous and cruel; but it is wrong, too, as it is the worst way of managing and of having your business done.

Mast. It is my aversion; it fills my very soul with horror. I believe if I should come by while they were using those cruelties on the poor creatures, I should either sink down at the sight of it or fly into a rage and kill the fellow that did it; though it is done, too, by my own authority.

Jacque. But, sir, I dare say I shall convince you also that it is wrong in respect of interest, and that your business shall be better discharged and your plantations better ordered, and more work done by the negroes who shall be engaged by mercy and lenity than by those who are driven and dragged by the whips and the chains of a merciless tormentor.

Mast. I think the nature of the thing speaks itself. Doubtless it should be so, and I have often thought it would be so, and a thousand times wished it might be so; but all my English people pretend otherwise, and that it is impossible to bring the negroes to any sense of kindness, and consequently not to any obedience of love.

Jacque. It may be true, sir, that there may be found here and there a negro of a senseless, stupid, sordid disposition, perfectly untractable, undocible, and incapable of due impressions; especially incapable of the generosity of principle which I am speaking of. You know very well, sir, there are such among Christians as well as among the negroes; whence else came the English proverb, That if you save a thief from the gallows, he shall be the first to cut your throat. But, sir, if such a refractory, undocible fellow comes in our way, he must be dealt with, first by the smooth ways to try him, then by the violent way to break his temper, as they break a horse; and if nothing will do, such a wretch should be sold off, and others bought in his room; for the peace of the plantation should not be broken for one devilish-tempered fellow. And if this was done I doubt not you should have all your plantations carried on and your work done, and not a negro or a servant upon it but what would not only work for you, but even die for you, if there was an occasion for it, as you see this poor Mouchat would have done for me.

Mast. Well, go on with your measures, and may you succeed. I’ll promise you I will fully make you amends for it. I long to have these cruelties out of use, in my plantation especially. As for others, let them do as they will.

Our master being gone, I went to the prisoners, and first I suffered them to be told that the great master had been there, and that he had been inclined to pardon them, till he knew what their crime was; but then he said it was so great a fault that it must be punished. Besides, the man that talked to them told them that the great master said that he knew if he had pardoned them they would be but the worse, for that the negroes were never thankful for being spared, and that there were no other ways to make them obedient but severity.

One of the poor fellows, more sensible than the other, answered, if any negro be badder for being kindly used, they should be whipped till they were muchee better; but that he never knew that, for that he never knew the negro be kindly use.

This was the same thing as the other had said, and indeed was but too true, for the overseers really knew no such thing as mercy; and that notion of the negroes being no other way to be governed but by cruelty had been the occasion that no other method was ever tried among them.

Again, if a slack hand had at any time been held upon them, it had not been done with discretion, or as a point of mercy, and managed with the assistance of argument to convince the negroes of the nature and reason of it, and to show them what they ought to do in return for it; but it was perhaps the effect of negligence, ill conduct, and want of application to the business of the plantation; and then it was no wonder that the negroes took the advantage of it.

Well, I carried on the affair with these two negroes just as I did with Mouchat, so I need not repeat the particulars; and they were delivered with infinite acknowledgments and thanks, even to all the extravagances of joy usual in those people on such occasions. And such was the gratitude of those two pardoned fellows that they were the most faithful and most diligent servants ever after that belonged to the whole plantation, Mouchat excepted.

In this manner I carried on the plantation fully to his satisfaction; and before a year more was expired there was scarce any such thing as correction known in the plantation, except upon a few boys, who were incapable of the impressions that good usage would have made, even upon them too, till they had lived to know the difference.

It was some time after this conference that our great master, as we called him, sent for me again to his dwelling-house, and told me he had had an answer from England from his friend, to whom he had written about my bill. I was a little afraid that he was going to ask me leave to send it to London; but he did not say anything like that, but told me that his friend had been with the gentleman, and that he owned the bill, and that he had all the money in his hand that the bill had mentioned; but that he had promised the young man that had given him the money (meaning me) not to pay the money to anybody but himself, though they should bring the bill; the reason of which was, that I did not know who might get the bill away from me.

“But now, Colonel Jacque,” says he, “as you wrote him an account where you was, and by what wicked arts you were trepanned, and that it was impossible for you to have your liberty till you could get the money, my friend at London has written to me, that, upon making out a due copy of the bill here, attested by a notary and sent to him, and your obligation likewise attested, whereby you oblige yourself to deliver the original to his order after the money is paid, he will pay the money.”

I told him I was willing to do whatever his honour directed; and so the proper copies were drawn as I had been told were required.

“But now, what will you do with this money, Jacque?” says he, smiling. “Will you buy your liberty of me, and go to planting?”

I was too cunning for him now indeed, for I remembered what he had promised me; and I had too much knowledge of the honesty of his principles, as well as of the kindness he had for me, to doubt his being as good as his word; so I turned all this talk of his upon him another way. I knew that when he asked me if I would buy my liberty and go to planting, it was to try if I would leave him; so I said, “As to buying my liberty, sir—that is to say, going out of your service—I had much rather buy more time in your service, and I am only unhappy that I have but two years to serve.”

“Come, come, colonel,” says he, “don’t flatter me; I love plain dealing. Liberty is precious to everybody; if you have a mind to have your money brought over, you shall have your liberty to begin for yourself, and I will take care you shall be well used by the country, and get you a good plantation.”

I still insisted that I would not quit his service for the best plantation in Maryland; that he had been so good to me, and I believed I was so useful to him, that I could not think of it; and at last I added I hoped he could not believe but I had as much gratitude as a negro.

He smiled, and said he would not be served upon those terms; that he did not forget what he had promised, nor what I had done in his plantation; and that he was resolved in the first place to give me my liberty. So he pulls out a piece of paper, and throws it to me: “There,” says he, “there’s a certificate of your coming on shore, and being sold to me for five years, of which you have lived three with me; and now you are your own master.” I bowed, and told him that I was sure, if I was my own master, I would be his servant as long as he would accept of my service. And now we strained courtesies, and he told me I should be his servant still; but it should be on two conditions: first, that he would give me £30 a year and my board for my managing the plantation I was then employed in; and, secondly, that at the same time he would procure me a new plantation to begin upon my own account, “For, Colonel Jacque,” says he, smiling, “though you are but a young man, yet ’tis time you were doing something for yourself.”

I answered that I could do little at a plantation for myself, unless I neglected his business, which I was resolved not to do on any terms whatever, but that I would serve him faithfully, if he would accept of me, as long as he lived. “So you shall,” says he again, “and serve yourself too.” And thus we parted for that time.

Here I am to observe in the general, to avoid dwelling too long upon a story, that as the two negroes who I delivered from punishment were ever after the most diligent and laborious poor fellows in the whole plantation as above, except Mouchat, of whom I shall speak more by-and-by, so they not only were grateful themselves for their good usage, but they influenced the whole plantation; so that the gentle usage and lenity with which they had been treated had a thousand times more influence upon them to make them diligent than all the blows and kicks, whippings, and other tortures could have which they had been used to. And now the plantation was famous for it; so that several other planters began to do the same, though I cannot say it was with the same success, which might be for want of taking pains with them and working upon their passions in a right manner. It appeared that negroes were to be reasoned into things as well as other people, and it was by thus managing their reason that most of the work was done.

However, as it was, the plantations in Maryland were the better for this undertaking, and they are to this day less cruel and barbarous to their negroes than they are in Barbados and Jamaica; and ’tis observed the negroes are not in these colonies so desperate, neither do they so often run away or so often plot mischief against their master, as they do in those.

I have dwelt the longer upon it that, if possible, posterity might be persuaded to try gentler methods with those miserable creatures, and to use them with humanity; assuring them that if they did so, adding the common prudence that every particular case would direct them to for itself, the negroes would do their work faithfully and cheerfully; they would not find any of that refractoriness and sullenness in their temper that they pretend now to complain of, but they would be the same as their Christian servants, except that they would be the more thankful, and humble, and laborious of the two.

I continued in this station between five and six years after this, and in all that time we had not one negro whipped, except, as I observed before, now and then an unlucky boy, and that only for trifles. I cannot say but we had some ill-natured, ungovernable negroes; but if at any time such offended, they were pardoned the first time, in the manner as above, and the second time were ordered to be turned out of the plantation. And this was remarkable, that they would torment themselves at the apprehension of being turned away, more by a great deal than if they had been to be whipped, for then they were only sullen and heavy. Nay, at length we found the fear of being turned out of the plantation had as much effect to reform them—that is to say, make them more diligent—than any torture would have done; and the reason was evident, namely, because in our plantation they were used like men, in the other like dogs.

My master owned the satisfaction he took in this blessed change, as he called it, as long as he lived; and as he was so engaged by seeing the negroes grateful, he showed the same principle of gratitude to those that served him as he looked for in those that he served, and particularly to me; and so I come briefly to that part. The first thing he did after giving me my liberty as above, and making me an allowance, was to get the country bounty to me—that is to say, a quantity of land to begin and plant for myself.

But this he managed a way by himself, and, as I found afterwards, took up, that is, purchased in my name, about three hundred acres of land, in a more convenient place than it would have otherwise been allotted me; and this he did by his interest with the lord proprietor; so that I had an extent of ground marked out to me, not next but very near one of his own plantations. When I made my acknowledgment for this to him, he told me plainly that I was not beholden to him for it all; for he did it that I might not be obliged to neglect his business for the carrying on my own, and on that account he would not reckon to me what money he paid, which, however, according to the custom of the country, was not a very great sum—I think about £40 or £50.

Thus he very generously gave me my liberty, advanced this money for me, put me into a plantation for myself, and gave me £30 a year wages for looking after one of his own plantations.

“But, Colonel,” says he to me, “giving you this plantation is nothing at all to you if I do not assist you to support it and to carry it on, and therefore I will give you credit for whatever is needful to you for the carrying it on; such as tools, provisions for servants, and some servants to begin; materials to build outhouses, and conveniences of all sorts for the plantation, and to buy hogs, cows, horses for stock, and the like; and I’ll take it out of your cargo, which will come from London, for the money of your bill.”

This was highly obliging and very kind, and the more so, as it afterwards appeared. In order to this he sent two servants of his own who were carpenters. As for timber, boards, planks, and all sorts of such things, in a country almost all made of wood they could not be wanting. These run me up a little wooden house in less than three weeks’ time, where I had three rooms, a kitchen, an outhouse, and two large sheds at a distance from the house for store houses, almost like barns, with stables at the end of them; and thus I was set up in the world, and, in short, removed by the degrees that you have heard from a pickpocket to a kidnapped, miserable slave in Virginia (for Maryland is Virginia, speaking of them at a distance); then from a slave to a head-officer or overseer of slaves, and from thence to a master-planter.

I had now, as above, a house, a stable, two warehouses, and three hundred acres of land; but, as we say, bare walls make giddy hussies, so I had neither axe nor hatchet to cut down the trees; horse, nor hog, nor cow to put upon the land; not a hoe or a spade to break ground, nor a pair of hands but my own to go to work upon.

But Heaven and kind masters make up all those things to a diligent servant; and I mention it because people who are either transported or otherwise trepanned into those places are generally thought to be rendered miserable and undone; whereas, on the contrary, I would encourage them, upon my own experience, to depend upon it, that if their own diligence in the time of service gains them but a good character, which it will certainly do if they can deserve it, there is not the poorest and most despicable felon that ever went over but may, after his time is served, begin for himself, and may in time be sure of raising a good plantation.

For example, I will now take a man in the meanest circumstances of a servant, who has served out his five or seven years; suppose a transported wretch for seven years. The custom of the place was then—what it is since I know not—that on his master’s certifying that he had served his time out faithfully, he had fifty acres of land allotted him for planting, and on this plan he begins.

Some had a horse, a cow, and three hogs given, or rather lent, them, as a stock for the land, which they made an allowance for at a certain time and rate.

Custom has made it a trade to give credit to such beginners as these for tools, clothes, nails, ironwork, and other things necessary for their planting, and which the persons so giving credit to them are to be paid for out of the crop of tobacco which they shall plant. Nor is it in the debtor’s power to defraud the creditor of payment in that manner; and as tobacco is their coin as well as their product, so all things are to be purchased at a certain quantity of tobacco, the price being so rated.

Thus the naked planter has credit at his beginning, and immediately goes to work to cure the land and plant tobacco; and from this little beginning have some of the most considerable planters in Virginia, and in Maryland also, raised themselves—namely, from being without a hat or a shoe to estates of £40,000 or £50,000; and in this method, I may add, no diligent man ever miscarried, if he had health to work and was a good husband; for he every year increases a little, and every year adding more land and planting more tobacco, which is real money, he must gradually increase in substance, till at length he gets enough to buy negroes and other servants, and then never works himself any more.

In a word, every Newgate wretch, every desperate forlorn creature, the most despicable ruined man in the world, has here a fair opportunity put into his hands to begin the world again, and that upon a foot of certain gain and in a method exactly honest, with a reputation that nothing past will have any effect upon; and innumerable people have raised themselves from the worst circumstances in the world—namely, from the cells in Newgate.

But I return to my own story. I was now a planter, and encouraged by a kind benefactor; for, that I might not be wholly taken up with my new plantation, he gave me freely, and without any consideration, my grateful negro, Mouchat. He told me it was a debt due to the affection that poor creature had always had for me; and so indeed it was, for as the fellow would once have been hanged for me, so now, and to his last, he loved me so much that it was apparent he did everything with pleasure that he did for me; and he was so overcome of joy when he heard that he was to be my negro that the people in the plantation really thought it would turn his head, and that the fellow would go distracted.

Besides this, he sent me two servants more, a man and a woman, but these he put to my account, as above. Mouchat and these two fell immediately to work for me, and they began with about two acres of land which had but little timber on it at first, and most of that was cut down by the two carpenters who built my house, or shed rather, for so it should be called.

These two acres I got in good forwardness, and most of it well planted with tobacco; though some of it we were obliged to plant with garden-stuff for food, such as potatoes, carrots, cabbages, peas, beans, &c.

It was a great advantage to me that I had so bountiful a master, who helped me out in every case; for in this very first year I received a terrible blow. For my bill, as I have observed, having been copied and attested in form, and sent to London, my kind friend and custom-house gentleman paid me the money, and the merchant at London, by my good master’s direction, had laid it all out in a sorted cargo of goods for me, such as would have made a man of me all at once; but, to my inexpressible terror and surprise, the ship was lost, and that just at the entrance into the capes; that is to say, the mouth of the bay. Some of the goods were recovered, but spoiled; and, in short, nothing but the nails, tools, and ironwork were good for anything; and though the value of them was pretty considerable in proportion to the rest, yet my loss was irreparably great, and indeed the greatness of the loss to me consisted in its being irreparable.

I was perfectly astonished at the first news of the loss, knowing that I was in debt to my patron, or master, so much that it must be several years before I should recover it; and as he brought me the bad news himself, he perceived my disorder; that is to say, he saw I was in the utmost confusion and a kind of amazement; and so indeed I was, because I was so much in debt. But he spoke cheerfully to me. “Come,” says he, “do not be so discouraged; you may make up this loss.” “No, sir,” says I; “that never can be, for it is my all, and I shall never be out of debt.” “Well, but,” says he, “you have no creditor, however, but me; and now I remember I once told you I would make a man of you, and I will not disappoint you for this disaster.”

I thanked him, and did it with more ceremony and respect than ever, because I thought myself more under the hatches than I was before. But he was as good as his word, for he did not baulk me in the least of anything I wanted; and as I had more ironwork saved out of the ship, in proportion, than I wanted, I supplied him with some part of it, and took up some linen and clothes and other necessaries from him in exchange.

And now I began to increase visibly. I had a large quantity of land cured—that is, freed from timber—and a very good crop of tobacco in view. And I got three servants more and one negro, so that I had five white servants and two negroes, and with this my affairs went very well on.

The first year, indeed, I took my wages, or salary—that is to say, £30 a year—because I wanted it very much; but the second and third year I resolved not to take it on any account whatsoever, but to leave it in my benefactor’s hands to clear off the debt I had contracted.

And now I must impose a short digression on the reader, to note that notwithstanding all the disadvantages of a most wretched education, yet now, when I began to feel myself, as I may say, in the world, and to be arrived to an independent state, and to foresee that I might be something considerable in time; I say, now I found different sentiments of things taking place in my mind. And, first, I had a solid principle of justice and honesty, and a secret horror at things past, when I looked back upon my former life. That original something—I knew not what—that used formerly to check me in the first meannesses of my youth, and used to dictate to me when I was but a child that I was to be a gentleman, continued to operate upon me now in a manner I cannot describe; and I continually remembered the words of the ancient glassmaker to the gentleman that he reproved for swearing, that to be a gentleman was to be an honest man; that without honesty human nature was sunk and degenerated; the gentleman lost all the dignity of his birth, and placed himself even below an honest beggar. These principles, growing upon my mind in the present circumstances I was in, gave me a secret satisfaction that I can give no description of. It was an inexpressible joy to me that I was now like to be, not only a man, but an honest man; and it yielded me a greater pleasure that I was ransomed from being a vagabond, a thief, and a criminal, as I had been from a child, than that I was delivered from slavery and the wretched state of a Virginia sold servant. I had notion enough in my mind of the hardships of the servant, or slave, because I had felt it and worked through it; I remembered it as a state of labour and servitude, hardship and suffering. But the other shocked my very nature, chilled my blood, and turned the very soul within me; the thought of it was like reflections upon hell and the damned spirits; it struck me with horror, it was odious and frightful to look back on, and it gave me a kind of a fit, a convulsion or nervous disorder, that was very uneasy to me.

But to look forward, to reflect how things were changed, how happy I was that I could live by my own endeavours, and was no more under the necessity of being a villain, and of getting my bread at my own hazard and the ruin of honest families—this had in it something more than commonly pleasing and agreeable, and, in particular, it had a pleasure that till then I had known nothing of. It was a sad thing to be under a necessity of doing evil to procure that subsistence which I could not support the want of, to be obliged to run the venture of the gallows rather than the venture of starving, and to be always wicked for fear of want.

I cannot say that I had any serious religious reflections, or that these things proceeded yet from the uneasiness of conscience, but from mere reasonings with myself, and from being arrived to a capacity of making a right judgment of things more than before. Yet I own I had such an abhorrence of the wicked life I had led that I was secretly easy, and had a kind of pleasure in the disaster that was upon me about the ship, and that, though it was a loss, I could not but be glad that those ill-gotten goods was gone, and that I had lost what I had stolen. For I looked on it as none of mine, and that it would be fire in my flax if I should mingle it with what I had now, which was come honestly by, and was, as it were, sent from heaven to lay the foundation of my prosperity, which the other would be only as a moth to consume.

At the same time my thoughts dictated to me, that though this was the foundation of my new life, yet that this was not the superstructure, and that I might still be born for greater things than these; that it was honesty and virtue alone that made men rich and great, and gave them a fame as well as a figure in the world, and that therefore I was to lay my foundation in these, and expect what might follow in time.

To help these thoughts, as I had learned to read and write when I was in Scotland, so I began now to love books, and particularly I had an opportunity of reading some very considerable ones, such as Livy’s Roman History, the history of the Turks, the English History of Speed, and others; the history of the Low Country wars, the history of Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, and the history of the Spaniards’ conquest of Mexico, with several others, some of which I bought at a planter’s house who was lately dead and his goods sold, and others I had borrowed.

I considered my present state of life to be my mere youth, though I was now above thirty years old, because in my youth I had learned nothing; and if my daily business, which was now great, would have permitted, I would have been content to have gone to school. However, fate, that had yet something else in store for me, threw an opportunity into my hand; namely, a clever fellow that came over a transported felon from Bristol, and fell into my hands for a servant. He had led a loose life; that he acknowledged; and being driven to extremities, took to the highway, for which, had he been taken, he would have been hanged. But falling into some low-prized rogueries afterwards, for want of opportunity for worse, was catched, condemned, and transported, and, as he said, was glad he came off so.

He was an excellent scholar, and I, perceiving it, asked him one time if he could give a method how I might learn the Latin tongue. He said, smiling, Yes; he could teach it me in three months, if I would let him have books, or even without books, if he had time. I told him a book would become his hands better than a hoe; and if he could promise to make me but understand Latin enough to read it, and understand other languages by it, I would ease him of the labour which I was now obliged to put him to, especially if I was assured that he was fit to receive that favour of a kind master. In short, I made him to me what my benefactor made me to him, and from him I gained a fund of knowledge infinitely more valuable than the rate of a slave, which was what I had paid for it; but of this hereafter.

With these thoughts I went cheerfully about my work. As I had now five servants, my plantation went on, though gently, yet safely, and increased gradually, though slowly. But the third year, with the assistance of my old benefactor, I purchased two negroes more, so that now I had seven servants; and having cured land sufficient for supply of their food, I was at no difficulty to maintain them; so that my plantation began now to enlarge itself, and as I lived without any personal expense, but was maintained at my old great master’s, as we called him, and at his charge, with £30 a year besides, so all my gains was laid up for increase.

In this posture I went on for twelve years, and was very successful in my plantation, and had gotten, by means of my master’s favour, who now I called my friend, a correspondent in London, with whom I traded, shipped over my tobacco to him, and received European goods in return, such as I wanted to carry on my plantation, and sufficient to sell to others also.

In this interval my good friend and benefactor died, and I was left very disconsolate on account of my loss; for it was indeed a great loss to me. He had been a father to me, and I was like a forsaken stranger without him, though I knew the country, and the trade too, well enough, and had for some time chiefly carried on his whole business for him. Yet I seemed now at a loss; my counsellor and my chief supporter was gone, and I had no confidant to communicate myself to, on all occasions, as formerly; but there was no remedy. I was, however, in a better condition to stand alone than ever. I had a very large plantation, and had near seventy negroes and other servants. In a word, I was grown really rich, considering my first circumstances, that began as I may say with nothing; that is to say, I had nothing of stock, but I had a great beginning, for I had such a man’s friendship and support in my beginning, that indeed I needed no other stock; and if I had had £500 to have begun with, and not the assistance, advice, and countenance of such a man, I had not been in a better condition. But he promised to make a man of me; and so he did, and in one respect I may say I have merited it of him, for I brought his plantation into such order, and the government of his negroes into such a regulation, that if he had given £500 to have had it done, he would have thought his money well bestowed. His work was always in order, going forward to his mind; every thing was in a thriving posture; his servants all loved him, even negroes and all, and yet there was no such thing as a cruel punishment or severities known among them.

In my own plantation it was the same thing. I wrought so upon the reason and the affections of my negroes that they served me cheerfully, and, by consequence, faithfully and diligently; when in my neighbour’s plantation there was not a week hardly passed without such horrible outcries, roarings and yellings of the servants, either under torture or in fear of it, that their negroes would, in discourse with ours, wish themselves dead and gone, as it seems they believed they should after death, into their own country.

If I met with a sullen, stupid fellow, as sometimes it was unavoidable, I always parted with him and sold him off; for I would not keep any that sense of kind usage would not oblige. But I seldom met with such bad ones; for, by talking to them in a plain reasoning way, I found the temper of the roughest of them would break and soften. The sense of their own interest would prevail with them at first or last; and if it had not, the contrary temper was so general among my people that their own fellows and countrymen would be against them, and that served to bring them to reason as soon as any other thing. And this those who think it worth their while will easily find, viz., that having prevailed effectually over one leading man among them to be tractable, and pleased, and grateful, he shall make them all like him, and that in a little while, with more ease than can be imagined.

I was now a planter, and also a student. My pedagogue I mentioned above was very diligent, and proved an extraordinary man indeed. He taught me not only with application, but with admirable judgment in the teaching part; for I have seen it in many instances since that time that every good scholar is not fitted for a schoolmaster, and that the art of teaching is quite different from that of knowing the language taught.

But this man had both, and proved of great use to me, and I found reason, in the worth of the person, to be very kind to him, his circumstances considered. I once took the liberty to ask him how it came to pass that he, who must have had a liberal education and great advantages to have advanced him in the world, should be capable of falling into such miserable circumstances as he was in when he came over. I used some caution in entering upon an inquiry which, as I said, might not be pleasant to him to relate, but that I would make him amends by telling him, that if he desired not to enter into it with me, I would readily excuse him, and would not take it ill at all. This I did because to a man under such afflictions one should always be tender, and not put them upon relating anything of themselves which was grievous to them or which they had rather was concealed.

But he told me that it was true, that to look back upon his past life was indeed renovare dolorem; but that such mortifications were now useful to him, to help forward that repentance which he hoped he was sincerely entered upon; and that though it was with horror he looked back upon misspent time and ill-applied gifts which a bountiful Creator had blessed him with, and spared to him for a better improvement, yet he thought he ought to load himself with as much of the shame as it pleased God to make his lot, since he had already loaded himself with the guilt in a shameless manner, till God, he still hoped in mercy to him, had cut him short and brought him to public disgrace; though he could not say he had been brought to justice, for then he had been sent into eternity in despair, and not been sent to Virginia to repent of the wickedest life that ever man lived. He would have gone on, but I found his speech interrupted by a passionate struggle within, between his grief and his tears.

I took no more notice of it than to tell him that I was sorry I had asked him about it, but that it was my curiosity. When I saw that ignorant, untaught, untractable creatures come into misery and shame, I made no inquiry after their affairs; but when I saw men of parts and learning take such steps, I concluded it must be occasioned by something exceeding wicked. “So, indeed,” said he, “the judge said to me when I begged mercy of him in Latin. He told me that when a man with such learning falls into such crimes he is more inexcusable than other men, because, his learning recommending him, he could not want advantages and had the less temptation to crimes.”

“But, sir,” said he, “I believe my case was what I find is the case of most of the wicked part of the world, viz., that to be reduced to necessity is to be wicked; for necessity is not only the temptation, but is such a temptation as human nature is not empowered to resist. How good, then,” says he, “is that God which takes from you, sir, the temptation, by taking away the necessity!”

I was so sensible of the truth of what he said, knowing it by my own case, that I could not enter any further upon the discourse; but he went on voluntarily. “This, sir,” says he, “I am so sensible of that I think the case I am reduced to much less miserable than the life which I lived before, because I am delivered from the horrid necessity of doing such ill things which was my ruin and disaster then, even for my bread, and am not now obliged to ravish my bread out of the mouths of others by violence and disorder, but am fed, though I am made to earn it by the hard labour of my hands, and I thank God for the difference.” He paused here, but went on thus:—

“How much is the life of a slave in Virginia to be preferred to that of the most prosperous thief in the world! Here I live miserable, but honest; suffer wrong, but do no wrong; my body is punished, but my conscience is not loaded; and as I used to say that I had no leisure to look in, but I would begin when I had some recess, some time to spare, now God has found me leisure to repent.” He run on in this manner a great while, giving thanks, I believe most heartily, for his being delivered from the wretched life he had lived, though his misery were to be tenfold as much as it was.

I was sincerely touched with his discourse on this subject. I had known so much of the real difference of the case that I could not but be affected with it, though till now, I confess, I knew little of the religious part. I had been an offender as well as he, though not altogether in the same degree, but I knew nothing of the penitence; neither had I looked back upon anything as a crime, but as a life dishonourable and not like a gentleman, which run much in my thoughts, as I have several times mentioned.

“Well, but now,” says I, “you talk penitently, and I hope you are sincere; but what would be your case if you were delivered from the miserable condition of a slave sold for money, which you are now in? Should you not, think you, be the same man?”

“Blessed be God,” says he, “that, if I thought I should, I would sincerely pray that I might not be delivered, and that I might for ever be a slave rather than a sinner.”

“Well, but,” says I, “suppose you to be under the same necessity, in the same starving condition, should you not take the same course?”

He replied very sharply, “That shows us the need we have of the petition in the Lord’s prayer, ‘Lead us not into temptation;’ and of Solomon’s or Agar’s prayer, ‘Give me not poverty, lest I steal.’ I should ever beg of God not to be left to such snares as human nature cannot resist. But I have some hope, that I should venture to starve rather than to steal; but I also beg to be delivered from the danger, because I know not my own strength.”

This was honestly spoken, indeed; and there really were such visible tokens of sincerity in all his discourse that I could not suspect him. On some of our discourses on this subject, he pulled out a little dirty paper-book, in which he had wrote down such a prayer in verse as I doubt few Christians in the world could subscribe to; and I cannot but record it, because I never saw anything like it in my life. The lines are as follow:—

“Lord! whatsoever sorrows rack my breast,
Till crime removes too, let me find no rest;
How dark soe’er my state or sharp my pain,
Oh! let not troubles cease and sin remain.
For Jesus’ sake remove not my distress,
Till free triumphant grace shall repossess
The vacant throne from whence my sins depart,
And make a willing captive of my heart;
Till grace completely shall my soul subdue,
Thy conquest full and my subjection true.”

There were more lines on the same subject, but these were the beginning; and these touching me so sensibly, I have remembered them distinctly ever since, and have, I believe, repeated them to myself a thousand times.

I pressed him no more, you may be sure, after an answer so very particular and affecting as this was. It was easy to see the man was a sincere penitent, not sorrowing for the punishment he was suffering under; for his condition was no part of his affliction; he was rather thankful for it, as above; but his concern was a feeling and affecting sense of the wicked and abominable life he had led, the abhorred crimes he had committed both against God and man, and the little sense he had had of the condition he was in, and that even till he came to the place where he now was.

I asked him if he had no reflections of this kind after or before his sentence. He told me Newgate (for the prison at Bristol is called so, it seems, as well as that at London) was a place that seldom made penitents, but often made villains worse, till they learnt to defy God and devil; but that, however, he could look back with this satisfaction, that he could say he was not altogether insensible of it even then; but nothing that amounted to a thorough serious looking up to heaven; that he often indeed looked in, and reflected upon his past misspent life, even before he was in prison, when the intervals of his wicked practices gave some time for reflection, and he would sometimes say to himself, “Whither am I going? to what will all these things bring me at last? and where will they end? Sin and shame follow one another, and I shall certainly come to the gallows. Then,” said he, “I would strike upon my breast, and say, ‘O wicked wretch! when will you repent?’ and would answer myself as often, ‘Never! never! never! except it be in a gaol or at a gibbet.’

“Then,” said he, “I would weep and sigh, and look back a little upon my wretched life, the history of which would make the world amazed; but, alas! the prospect was so dark, and it filled me with so much terror, that I could not bear it. Then I would fly to wine and company for relief; that wine brought on excess, and that company, being always wicked company like yourself, brought on temptation, and then all reflection vanished and I was the same devil as before.”

He spoke this with so much affection that his face was ever smiling when he talked of it, and yet his eyes had tears standing in them at the same time, and all the time; for he had a delightful sorrow, if that be a proper expression, in speaking of it.

This was a strange relation to me, and began to affect me after a manner that I did not understand. I loved to hear him talk of it, and yet it always left a kind of a dead lump behind it upon my heart, which I could give no reason for, nor imagine to what it should tend; I had a heaviness on my soul, without being able to describe it or to say what ailed me.

Well, he went on with his relation. “After this,” says he, “I fell into the hands of a justice for a trifle, a piece of sport in our crime; and I, that for a hundred robberies, as well on the highway as otherwise, the particulars of which would fill a book to give an account of, ought, whenever I was taken, to be hanged in chains, and who, if it had been public, could not have failed of having twenty people come in against me, was privately hurried into a country gaol under a wrong name; tried for a small fact, within benefit of clergy, and in which I was not principally guilty, and by this means obtained the favour of being transported.

“And what think you,” said he, “has most sensibly affected me, and brought on the blessed change that, I hope I may say, God has wrought in my soul? Not the greatness of my crimes, but the wonders of that merciful Providence, which, when it has mercy in store for a man, often brings him into the briers, into sorrow and misery for lesser sins, that men may be led to see how they are spared from the punishment due to them for the greater guilt which they know lies upon them. Do you think that when I received the grant of transportation I could be insensible what a miracle of divine goodness such a thing must be to one who had so many ways deserved to be hanged, and must infallibly have died if my true name had been known, or if the least notice had been given that it was such a notorious wretch as I that was in custody? There began the first motive of repentance; for certainly the goodness of our great Creator in sparing us, when we forfeit our lives to His justice, and His merciful bringing us out of the miseries which we plunge ourselves into, when we have no way to extricate ourselves; His bringing those very miseries to be the means of our deliverance, and working good to us out of evil, when we are working the very evil out of His good; I say, these things are certainly the strongest motives to repentance that are in the world, and the sparing thieves from the gallows certainly makes more penitents than the gallows itself.

“It is true,” continued he, “that the terror of punishment works strongly upon the mind; in view of death men are filled with horror of soul, and immediately they call that repentance which I doubt is too often mistaken, being only a kind of anguish in the soul, which breeds a grief for the punishment that is to be suffered—an amazement founded upon the dreadful view of what is to follow. But the sense of mercy is quite another thing; this seizes all the passions and all the affections, and works a sincere, unfeigned abhorrence of the crime, as a crime, as an offence against our Benefactor, as an act of baseness and ingratitude to Him who has given us life and all the blessings and comforts of life, and who has conquered us by continuing to do us good, when He has been provoked to destroy us.

“This, sir,” says he, “has been the fountain of that repentance which I so much rejoice in; this is the delightful sorrow,” says he, “that I spoke of just now; and this makes smiles sit on my face while tears run from my eyes, a joy that I can no otherwise express than by telling you, sir, that I never lived a happy day since I came to an age of acting in the world till I landed in this country, and worked in your plantation, naked and hungry, weary and faint, oppressed with cold in one season, and heat in the other. Then I began to see into my own ways, and see the difference between the hardships of the body and the torment of the mind. Before I revelled in fulness, and here I struggled with hard fare; then I wallowed in sloth and voluptuous ease; here I laboured till nature sometimes was just sinking under the load; but with this difference in the felicity of either case, namely, that there I had a hell in my soul, was filled with horror and confusion, was a daily terror to myself, and always expected a miserable end; whereas here I had a blessed calm of soul, an emblem and forerunner of heaven, thankful and humble, adoring that mercy that had snatched me out of the jaws of the devil. These took up my thoughts, and made my most weary hours pleasant to me, my labour light, and my heart cheerful. I never lay down on my hard lodging but I praised God with the greatest excess of affection, not only that it was not the condemned hole, and that I was delivered from the death I had deserved, but that it was not Shooter’s Hill; that I was not still a robber, a terror to just and honest men, a plunderer of the innocent and the poor, a thief, and a villain, that ought to be rooted out from the earth for the safety of others; but that I was delivered from the horrid temptation of sinning to support my luxury, and making one vice necessary to another; and this, I bear witness, is sufficient to sweeten the bitterest sorrow, and make any man be thankful for Virginia, or a worse place, if that can be.”

He then entertained me with an opinion of his, that if it were possible for the face of heaven and hell to be disclosed and laid open, and that men could be made capable of seeing distinctly and separately the joys and glory and utmost felicity of one, and the horrors of the other, and to make a judgment of both according to the power of human reasoning, the first would have a stronger and more powerful effect to reform the world than the latter; but this we had further discourses about on many occasions.

If it should be inquired how I was capable of hearing all this, and having no impressions made upon my mind by it, especially when it so many ways suited my own case, and the condition of the former part of my life, I shall answer that presently by myself. However, I took no notice of it to him, for he had quite other notions of me than I had of myself; nor did I, as is usual in such cases, enter into any confidence with him on my own story, only that I took sometimes the occasion to let him know that I did not come over to Virginia in the capacity of a criminal, or that I was not transported; which, considering how many of the inhabitants there were so who then lived in good circumstances, was needful enough to be done.

But as to myself, it was enough that I was in condition now; ’twas no matter to anybody what I had been; and as it was grown pretty much out of memory from what original disaster I came into the country, or that I was ever a servant otherwise than voluntary, and that it was no business of mine to expose myself, so I kept that part close. But for all that, it was impossible for me to conceal the disorder I was in as often as he talked of these things. I had hitherto gone on upon a notion of things founded only in their appearance, as they affected me with good or evil, esteeming the happy and unhappy part of life to be those that gave me ease or sorrow, without regarding, or indeed much understanding, how far those turns of life were influenced by the Giver of Life, or how far they were all directed by a sovereign God that governs the world, and all the creatures he had made.

As I had no education but as you have heard, so I had had no instruction, no knowledge of religion, or indeed of the meaning of it; and though I was now in a kind of search after religion, it was a mere looking, as it were, into the world to see what kind of a thing or place it was, and what had been done in it. But as to Him that made it, there had truly been scarce a creature among all that He had made, with souls in them, that were so entirely without the knowledge of God as I was, and made so little inquiry about it.

But the serious, affectionate discourse of this young man began to have different effects upon me, and I began to say to myself, “This man’s reflections are certainly very just; but what a creature am I, and what have I been doing!—I that never once did this in all my life; that never said so much—‘God, I thank Thee for all that I have been saved from, or all that I have been brought to in this world;’ and yet my life has been as full of variety, and I have been as miraculously delivered from dangers and mischiefs, and as many of them, as ever he has. And if it has all been brought to pass by an invisible hand in mercy to me, what have I been doing, and where have I lived, that I only should be the most thoughtless and unthankful of all God’s creatures?”

This, indeed, began to grow upon me, and made me very melancholy; but as to religion, I understood so little about it that if I had resolved upon any such thing as a new course of life, or to set about a religious change, I knew not at which end to begin or what to do about it.

One day it happened that my tutor—for so I always called him—had the Bible in his hand, and was looking in it, as he generally did many times every day, though I knew not for what. Seeing the Bible, I took it out of his hands, and went to look in it, which I had done so little before that I think I might safely say I had never read a chapter in it in all my life. He was talking of the Bible then as a book only, and where he had it, and how he brought it to Virginia, and in some ecstasy he took and kissed it. “This blessed book!” says he; “this was all the treasure I brought out from England with me. And a comfortable treasure it has been to me,” added he; “I would not have been without it in my sorrows for any other treasure in the world;” and so he went on at large.

I, that had no notion of what he meant—only, as I have said above, some young infant thoughts about the works of Providence in the world and its merciful dealings with me—took the book out of his hand and went to look in it; and the book opened at the Acts xxvi. 28, where Felix says to St. Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” “I think,” says I, “here’s a line hits me to a tittle, upon the long account you have given of yourself, and I must say them to you, as the governor here said;” and so I read the words to him. He blushed at the text, and returns, “I wish I could answer you in the very words the Apostle returned to him in the next verse: ‘I would thou wert both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.’”

I was now more than thirty years old by my own account, and as well as it was possible for me to keep a reckoning of my age, who had nobody left that ever knew my beginning; I was, I say, above thirty years old, and had gone through some variety in the world. But as I was perfectly abandoned in my infancy, and utterly without instruction in my youth, so I was entirely ignorant of everything that was worthy the name of religion in the world; and this was the first time that ever any notion of religious things entered into my heart. I was surprised at this man’s talk, and that several ways particularly he talked so feelingly of his past circumstances, and they were so like my own, that every time he made a religious inference from his own condition, and argued from one condition of his to another, it struck into my thoughts like a bullet from a gun that I had certainly as much to be thankful for and to repent of as he had, except only that I had no knowledge of better things to be thankful for, which he had. But in return for that, I was delivered and set up in the world, made a master, and easy, and was in good circumstances, being raised from the very same low, distressed condition as he was in—I mean a sold servant—but that he remained so still; so that, if his sin had been greater than mine, so his distress was still greater.

This article of gratitude struck deep and lay heavy upon my mind. I remembered that I was grateful to the last degree to my old master, who had raised me from my low condition, and that I loved the very name of him, or, as might be said, the very ground he trod on; but I had not so much as once thought of any higher obligation; no, nor so much as, like the Pharisee, had said once, “God, I thank thee,” to Him, for all the influence which His providence must have had in my whole affair.

It occurred to me presently that if none of all these things befall us without the direction of a Divine Power, as my new instructor had told me at large, and that God had ordered everything, the most minute and least transaction of life, insomuch that not a hair of our head shall fall to the ground without His permission; I say, it occurred to me that I had been a most unthankful dog to that Providence that had done so much for me; and the consequence of the reflection was immediately this: how justly may that Power, so disobliged, take away again His wool and His flax, with which I am now clothed, and reduce me to the misery of my first circumstances.

This perplexed me much, and I was very pensive and sad; in which, however, my new instructor was a constant comforter to me, and I learned every day something or other from him; upon which I told him one morning that I thought be must leave off teaching me Latin, and teach me religion. He spoke with a great deal of modesty of his being incapable of informing me of anything that I did not know, and proposed to me to read the Scriptures every day, as the sure and only fund of instruction. I answered that, in the words of the eunuch to St. Philip when the apostle asked him if he understood what he read: “How can I, unless some one guide me?”

We talked frequently upon this subject, and I found so much reason to believe he was a sincere convert that I can speak of him as no other in all I have to say of him. However, I cannot say my thoughts were yet ripened for an operation of that kind. I had some uneasiness about my past life, and I lived now, and had done so before I knew him, a very regular, sober life, always taken up in my business and running into no excesses. But as to commencing penitent, as this man had done, I cannot say I had any convictions upon me sufficient to bring it on, nor had I a fund of religious knowledge to support me in it. So it wore off again gradually, as such things generally do where the first impressions are not deep enough.

In the meantime, as he read over long lectures of his own disasters to me, and applied them all seriously to me, so our discourse was always very solid and weighty, and we had nothing of levity between us, even when we were not concerned in religious discourses. He read history to me; and, where books were wanting, he gave me ideas of those things which had not been recorded by our modern histories, or at least that our number of books would not reach. By these things he raised an unquenchable thirst in me, after seeing something that was doing in the world; and the more because all the world was at that time engaged, more or less, in the great war wherein the French king might be said to be engaged with and against all the powers of Europe.

Now, I looked upon myself as one buried alive in a remote part of the world, where I could see nothing at all, and hear but a little of what was seen, and that little not till at least half a year after it was done, and sometimes a year or more; and, in a word, the old reproach often came in the way—namely, that even this was not yet the life of a gentleman.

It was true that this was much nearer to it than that of a pickpocket, and still nearer than that of a sold slave; but, in short, this would not do, and I could receive no satisfaction in it. I had now a second plantation, a very considerable one, and it went forward very well. I had on it almost a hundred servants already of sundry sorts, and an overseer that I had a great deal of reason to say I might depend upon, and but that I had a third in embryo, and newly begun, I had nothing to hinder me from going where I pleased.

However, I now began to frame my thoughts for a voyage to England, resolving then to act as I should see cause, but with a secret resolution to see more of the world if possible, and realise those things to my mind which I had hitherto only entertained remote ideas of by the help of books.

Accordingly I pushed forward the settlement of my third plantation, in order to bring it to be in a posture either to be let to a tenant or left in trust with an overseer, as I should find occasion.

Had I resolved to leave it to an overseer or steward, no man in the world could have been fit for it like my tutor; but I could not think of parting with him, who was the cause of my desire of travelling, and who I concluded to make my partner in my travels.


4.    I was not called Colonel Jacque as at London, but Colonel, and they did not know me by any other name.    [back]

5.    He did not now talk quite so blindly and childishly as when he was a boy, and when the custom-house gentleman talked to him about his names.]    [back]

6.    Here he showed him the horsewhip that was given him with his new office.    [back]

7.    So the negroes call the owner of the plantation, or at least so they called him, because he was a great man in the country, having three or four large plantations.    [back]

8.    To be drunk in a negro is to be mad; for when they get rum they are worse than raving, and fit to do any manner of mischief.    [back]

9.    He understood the plot, and took the opportunity to tell him that, to see what he would say.    [back]

10.    He understood him; he meant he would beg your honour for me, that I might not be hanged for offending you.    [back]

Colonel Jack - Contents    |     Volume II

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