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Hence let us learn to admire the inscrutable mysteries of the providence of God, which, as they surpass our finite comprehension, should excite our wonder and our gratitude. Nothing can be hid from the all-seeing eye of heaven; and the man that commits a crime with the hope of concealing it, does but treasure up a fund of uneasiness for his own mind: for even if the crime should be concealed from the public, he will be perpetually harrassed with the corroding stings of a guilty conscience, and at all times carry with him a hell in his own bosom!
Narrative of the remarkable Actions of John
Hawkins, and GEORGE SIMPSON, who were executed for robbing the Bristol Mail, and hung in Chains.
S the crime for which these malefactors A
suffered is very pernicious in its own nature, and their other transactions made a great noise in the world at the time they took place, we propose to give a particular account of them.
John HAWKINS was the son of a poor farmer at Staines, who not being able to afford to educate him properly, he went into the service of a gentleman, which he foon quitted, and lived as a waiter at the Red Lion at Brentford; but leaving this place, he again engaged as a gentleman's servant.
After living in different families, he became butler to Sir Dennis Dutry, and was distinguished as a servant of very creditable appearance. Indeed his person was uncommonly graceful, and he was remarkably vain of it. He used to freNn 2
quent and then
quent gaming tables two or three nights in & week, a practice which led to that ruin which finally befel him.
About this time Sir Dennis had been robbed of a considerable quantity of plate; and as Hawkins's mode of life was very expensive, it was suspected that he was the thief; for which reason he was discharged without the advantage of a good character.
Being thus destitute of the means of subsistance he had recourse to the highway, and his first expedition was to Hounslow-Heath, where he took eleven pounds from the passengers in a coach; but such was his attachment to gaming, that he repaired directly to London, where he lost it all.
He continued to rob alone for some time, losing at the gaming houses what he obtained at so much risk ;. and he then engaged to rob with other highwaymen; but the same fate ftill attended him: he lost by gaming, what he got by thieving, and was frequently so reduced as to dine at an eating-house, and then sneak off without paying his reckoning
Several of Hawkins's old companions having met their deserts at the gallows, he became acquainted with one Wilson, a youth of good education, who had been articled to a solicitor in ·chancery; but had neglected his business through an attachment to the gaming-tables. Those associates having committed several robberies in conjunction, were tried for one of them; but acquitted for want of evidence; though Wilson, in an account published after Hawkins's condemnation, confeffes they were guilty.
Immediately after this Wilson went down to his mother, who lived at Whitby in Yorkshire, and continued with her for about a year,
then coming to London, lived with a gentleman of the' law : but having lost his money in gaming, renewed his acquaintance with Hawkins, who was now concerned with a new gang of villains; but one of these being apprehended, impeached the rest, which foon dispersed the gang, but not till fome of them had made their exit at Tyburn; on which Hawkins was obliged to conceal himself for a considerable time ; but at length he ventured to rob a gentleman on Finchley-Coinmon, and shot one of the servants so that he died on the spot.
His next attack was on the Earl of Burlington and Lord Bruce, in Richmond Lane, from whom they took about twenty pounds, two gold watches, and a sapphire ring. For this ring a reward of 100l. was offered to Jonathan Wild; but Hawkins failed to Holland with it, and there sold it for forty pounds.
Hawkins returning to England, joined his companions, of whom Wilson was one, and rob, bed Sir David Dalrymple of about three pounds, a fnuff-box, and a pocket-book, for which last Sir David offered bol. reward to Wild; but the robbers having no connection with that exécrable villain, who did not even know their persons, they sent the book by. a porter to Sir David, with out expence.
Hawkins and his associates next stoppedMr. Hide of Hackney in his coach, and robbed him of iol. and his watch, but missed 300l. which the gentleman then had in his poffeffion. After this they stopped the Earl of Westmoreland's coach in Lincoln's Inn-Fields, and robbed him of a fum of money, though there were three footmen behind the carriage. The footmen called the watch;
but the robbers firing a pistol over their heads, the guardians of the night decamped.
Hawkins had now resolved to carry the booty obtained in several late robberies to Holland, but Jonathan Wild having heard of the connection, caused some of the gang to be apprehended; on which the rest went into the country to hide themfelves.
On this occafion Hawkins and Wilson went to Oxford, and paying a visit to the Bodleian library, the former wantonly defaced some pictures in the gallery; and 100l. reward was offered to difcover the offender: and a poor taylor being taken up on suspicion, narrowly escaped being whipped, merely, because he was of whiggish principles.
Wilson and Hawkins returning to London, and the former coming of age at that time, succeeded to a little estate his father had left him, which he fold for 3501. a small part of which he lent to his companions, to buy horses, and soon diffipated the rest at the gaming-table.
The asociates now stopped two gentlemen in a chariot on the Hampstead Road, who both fired at once, by which three nugs were lodged in Hawkins's shoulder, and the highwaymen got to London, with fome difficulty. On Hawkins's recovery they attempted to ftop a gentleman's coach in Hyde-Park; but the coachman driving haftily, Wilson fired, and wounding himself in the hand, found it fficult to scale the Park wall, to effect his escape.
This circumstance occasioned some serious thoughts in his mind, in consequence of which he set out for his mother's house in Yorkshire, where he was kindly received, and fully de:erinined never to return to his former practices.