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Account of RICHARD NOBLE, Attorney at
Law, who Suffered for the Murder of JOHN
THERE is something so fingular in the case
before us, that the reader will be glad to have the particulars of an affair that made much noise in the world at the time it happened, and will be remembered to future ages.
John Sayer, Esq. was possessed of about 1000l. a year, and was lord of the Manor of Biddlefden, in Buckinghamshire.' He does not appear to have been a man of any great abilities; but was remarkable for his good nature and inoffensive disposition.
In 1699 he married Mary, the daughter of Ad. miral Nevil, a woman of an agreeable person and brilliant wit; but of such an abandoned disposition as to be a disgrace to her sex, Soon after this wedding, Colonel Salisbury married the admiral's widow; but there was such a vicious fimilarity in the conduct of the mother and daughter, that the two husbands had early occasion to be disgufted with the choice they had made.
Mr. Sayer's nuptials had not been celebrated many days before the bride took the liberty of kicking him, and hinted that she would procure a lover, with whom she might enjoy those .pleasures not to be found with her husband. Sayer, who was dittractedley fond of her, bore this treatment with patience; and at the end of a twelvemonth she bare him a daughter, which foon died: but he became ftill more fond of her after she had
made him a father, and was continually loading her with presents.
Mr. Sayer now took a house in Lisle-street, Leicester-fields, kepe a coach, and did every thing which he thought might gratify his wife: but 10 far from being influenced by this generous conduct, she declared that she would never again admit him to her bed. Irritated by this treatment he went among the women of the town, in consequence whereof he contracted a disorder that obliged him to have the advice of a surgeon: and his wife fufpecting what had happened, he made no scruple to acknowledge the fact, and avow the occasion of it.
His health, however, was soon re-established; on which his wife voluntarily admitted him to her bed: but the consequence was; that both the parties were soon afterwards indisposed. As the surgeon who had attended Mr. Sayer was a man, of character, and professed himself ready to swear to the perfection of his cure, it was shrewdly suspected that the lady, having contracted the disorder, had given it to her husband, in order to criminate him in the opinion of his friends.
However this be, she affected to be greatly difgufted, again forbad him her bed, and consoled. herself with the company of a colonel in the army. At times she behaved with more complaisance to her husband, who had, after a while, the honour of being deemed father of another child of which she was delivered; and after this circumstance she in. dulged herself in still greater liberties than before ; her mother, who was almost constantly with her, encouraging her in this shameful prostitution of manners.
At length a scheme was concerted; which would probably have ended in the destruction of
Mr. Sayer and Colonel Salisbury, if it had not been happily prevented by the prudence of the latter. The colonel taking an opportunity to represent to Mrs. Sayer the ill consequences that must attend her infidelity to her husband, she immediately attacked him with the most outrageous language, and infulted him to that degree that he threw the remains of a dish of tea at her. The mother and daughter immediately laid holdofthis circumstance to infame the passions of Mr. Sayer, whom they at length prevailed on to demand satisfaction of the colonel.
The challenge is said to have been written by Mrs. Sayer, and when the colonel received it, he conjectured that it was à plan concerted between the ladies to get rid of their husbands. However, he obeyed the summons, and going in a coach with Mr. Sayer towards Montague-House, he addressed-him as follows : " Son Sayer, lec us come “ to a right understanding of this business. ''Tis
very well known that I am a swordsman, and I “ should be very far from getting any honour by
killing you. But to come nearer to the point in " hand. Thou shouldit know Jack, for all the “ world knows, that thy 'wife and mine are both 66 whores.
They want to get rid of us at once. “ If thou shouldít drop, they'll have me hanged " 'for it atter." There was lo much of obvious truth in this remark, that Mr. Sayer immediately felt its force, and the gentlemen drove home together, to the great mortification of the Jadies,
Soon after this affair Mrs. Sayer went to her house in Buckinghamshire, where an intimacy took place between her and the curate of the parish, and their amour was conducted with so little VOL. I. No. 4.
relerve, that all the servants saw that the parson had more in Auence in the house than their master.
Mrs Sayer coming to London, was soon fol. lowed by the young clergyman, who was seized with the small-pox, which cost him his life. When he found that there was no hope of his recovery, he sent to Mr. Sayer, earnestly requesting to se him: but Mrs. Sayer, who judged what he wanted, said that her mother had not had the small pox, and such a visit might cost her her lite; wherefore the insisted that her husband should not go; and the passive man tamely submitted to this injunction, though his wife daily fent a footman to enquire after the clergyman, who died without being visited by Mr. Sayer.
This gentleman had not been long dead before his place was supplied by an officer of the guards; but he was soon difmifred in favour of a man of great distinction, who presented her with fome valuable china, which the pretended was won at Astrop-Wells.
About this time Mr. Sayer found his affairs considerably deranged by his wife's extravagance ; on which a gentleman recommended to him Mr. Richard Noble, an attorney, as a man capable of being very serviceable to him.
Noble was the son of a man who kept a very reputable coffee house at Bath, lived in great credit, and his mother was fo virtuous a woman, that when Noble afterwards went to her house with Mrs. Sayer, in a coach and fix, she shut the door againft him. Noble had been well educated, and articled to an attorney of emlnence in New Inn, in which he afterwards took chambers for himself; buç he had not been in any
considerable degree of practice when he was intro,
Noble had not been long acquainted with the
The unhappy gentleman, being perpetually Teazed by the women, at length consented to execute a deed of separation, in which he assigned some lands in Buckinghamshire, to the amount of 150l. a year, to his wife, exclusive of 501. a year for pin-money; and by this deed he likewise covenanted that Mrs. Sayer might live with whom she pleased, and that he would never molest any perTon on account of harbouring her. Mr. Sayer was even so weak as to sign this deed without hai ing a council of his own to examine it.
Not long after this Mrs. Sayer was delivered of a child at Bath: but that the husband might not take alarm at this circumstance, Noble sent him a letter, acquainting him that he was to be pricked down for high sheriff of Buckinghamshire; and Mrs. Salisbury urged him to go to holand to be out of the way, and supplied him with some money on the occasion.
It does not seem probable that Sayer had any suspicion of Noble's criminal intercourse with his wife, for the night before he sec out he presented him with a pair of sadule-pistols and furniture worth above 401.
Soon after he was gone Mrs. Sayer's maid speaking of the danger her master might be in at