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might have my cue how to act when before him. Upon this question being asked, the man went into an affected passion, and threatened that he would inform his master of my impertinence. “ What," said I, " is it such a wonderful thing to meet with mad members in the House of Commons, that you pretend to be ignorant of the fact?"
“ Come, come," said he, “I didn't think you were so well acquainted with the great folks; and we servants, you know, must not be free in letting the ignorant world know too much; if we know our master's weakness, it is our business to turn it to account, and not blab till we are out of the wood." He then told me, that the family had long been aware of his insanity; he was however harmless, and they allowed him to have his way and humours without restraint ; giving, as a reason, the elevated post he occupied in the state, and the great admiration his speeches were held in by his party and the public. Concluding with saying, “ that a man was employed, without his knowledge, to follow and watch him to and from the Parliament House, to guard against any sudden freak of the mind which might tend to his personal injury, or exposure of his unhappy condition in the world."
The following morning, at the hour appointed, I was in attendance ; being introduced into his breakfast-room, he desired me to be seated, and then at once entered upon the business which induced him to send for me. “I must inform you," said he, “ that I know your history; you have seen the worst side of the picture of life, and must have known an infinite number of unfortunate, or criminal, men in your time. I want to collect a history of as many as I can ; I mean," continued he, “authentic accounts of men, and not such as are now every day published as correct biographies, to deceive and delude the world upon the matter."
* I think, sir,” said I, after a little consideration, “ I may be able to furnish you with some facts."
* Well," continued he, after a long pause, “suppose you collect for me a correct account of the most notorious offenders which come under your notice for the future. My object is to compare their course and progress through crime, in connexion with our system.”
I made my obeisance, and was withdrawing, when he said, “ Go on with your work, but do not come again until I send for you.”
Two questions of difficulty presented themselves to me as I returned home; first, How an insane man could appear in manner perfectly rational ? And, secondly, What could occasion his sending for me upon such apparent nothingness of matter?
On my way home, having a little business to transact with my friend the surgeon, I called and mentioned the affair to him. “ Take my word for it," said he, “ that you will never hear any more from him. I know these characters better than you do; theirs is a madness not yet defined or named in our profession. My father," continued he, “ used to say that it was peculiar to English legislators, and endemic only in the neighbourhood of St. Stephen's Chapel. I think, he explained, that it was occasioned by a small worm or maggot getting under the bump which inclines men to the practice of law mak
ing; and that there it tickled or irritated that portion of the brain so
.."Twill not be subject, nor rebel,
But where there's something to be gain d."
It fell out just as my friend predicted; the legislator probably for--got both me and his new theory the next day, as I never had any other cominụnication from him, either upon that subject or any other, but it set me to work, and caused me to make many inquiries respecting criminals, which otherwise I should have neglected.
The first remarkable case which came under my notice after the interview above named, was that of a gentleman of a most respectable family, who was committed to Newgate on a charge of forging the acceptor's name on three bills of exchange for 3331. 6s. 8d. each. I shall first relate the history of the case, as I think it a useful one to publish, and then inform the reader how I possessed myself of the particulars.
An extravagant and fashionable young man of good family, having lost a considerable sum of money at the gaming-table, had his attention arrested by an advertisement in the public newspaper, wherein the advertiser offered to lend money to any amount upon personal 'security. The young man, anxious to pay some debts of honour and replenish his funds for another venture at play, vainly flattering himself that he might redeem his losses, in an evil hour applied for assistance to the good-natured people, who cried aloud in the highways for others to come and relieve them of their money. He had Aattered himself, from the wording of the advertisement, that he should obtain
the money upon his own security ; but to this mode of lending cash many objections were made, the parties saying they must have a collateral security, and he came away disappointed. On the following morning, however, while at breakfast, a gentlemanly man (a stranger) was shown up by his servant; after making his obeisance and taking a seat, he said,
“Sir, I have been privately informed that you want the temporary loan of a thousand pounds."
“ Yes," replied the novice, “I did make an application yesterday to some parties for that purpose, but as they discount only bills accepted by other persons than the borrower, I have abandoned my hopes of raising the money. I have no bills, and, as I would not make my want public, have made up my mind not to ask a friend for his name." . .
“I am aware of this,” rejoined the stranger, “and hence my visit here this morning. I am no money-lender myself, but I am acquainted with a respectable person whose situation in life will bear the strictest inquiry, yet from pecuniary private difficulties must very shortly go through the “Gazette:” he is now in great want of money, and I have no doubt, when I inform him that in accepting bills for you there is no risk, he will, for a small gratuity, accommodate you with his name."
It is unnecessary to detail the whole of the subsequent conferences, suffice to inform the reader, that the person addressed in the end paid the sum of thirty-five pounds for three bills of 3331. 6s. 8d. each, he being the drawer and another person unknown to himself the acceptor. The following day the young man went, as directed by the procurer of the bills, again to the money-lenders, who, first and last, advanced about two hundred pounds in cash, and as they (the money-lenders) said, as much more in jewellery, that is, valueless trash,i still continuing to promise, from time to time, further advances, until the first bill became due. Now the dénouement of the plot developed itself';' a new performer in the drama was introduced, namely, a stranger, who represented himself as a respectable tradesman, and the holder of the three bills for which he had given value.
" I know nothing,” said he, “ of the money-lenders; I have given value for these bills in the way of my business; in faet, hard cash, and must have payment without delay,"
Thus ended the first visit. The second, the next day, the same individual appeared again with a friend; both assuming an air of great mystery, and assumed tone of authority.
“ Pray, sir,” said one of them to the gentleman,“ do you acknowledge yourself the drawer of these bills ?”
“I do," was the answer.
“ Have you many such bills out in the world ?" continued the other.
“ No, only those three; for which I have not received the value of one,” rejoined the drawer of the bills.
“Ah!" said the holder of the documents, “ quite enough to hang you, sir; these bills which I hold in my hands I have ascertained are all forgeries, so far as regards the accepted name upon them; you
have before this gentleman acknowledged yourself the drawer of them, and I have no terms to make with you; pay me the money, or take the consequence."
I have before told this story, which is a true one ; but then suppressed the fact, that the young man was committed to Newgate upon the charge of forgery without knowing or foreseeing the peril of his situation. When his friends learnt the facts of the case, they paid the money ; on which the evidence which it was said would appear before the grand jury was withheld, and the bill of course ignored. I have often thought what a book could be made, were all the matter which has been discussed in the cells of Newgate collected, were we to go back only to the period when the present building was erected, after the burning of the last in Lord George Gordon's time. My readers must understand, that I had now learnt, when any striking or doubtful case presented itself, to inquire for the name of the accuser, and the principal witnesses, by which plan I often found either an old acquintance, or one that I had heard of in my career; when, however, this happened, I always knew there was something wrong in the affair with which they were connected.
In the last-named case I had heard of one Jack Nose, as he was called, having something to do with it, and the following session, this man coming into Newgate for trial, he being afterwards transported, I went to visit him as an old acquaintance, and from him obtained the particulars of the money-lending swindlers' tricks. His own case, as related by himself, I have every reason to believe is a true one, and that many such do often occur at the Old Bailey court, but which no laws or any judge can prevent; and many say, ought not, as it is a benefit to the public whenever one rogue transports another. Jack had for nearly eight years acted as clerk, messenger, livery servant, and gentleman alternately, as required, for three of the party, who were his especial masters, having no regular payment of wages, relying upon their liberality whenever a scheme succeeded, to give him something for his support out of the profits. After the last affair was terminated, two out of three of his employers each gave him a ten pound note, which led him to calculate upon ten pounds more from the third, to whose lodgings, a few days subsequently, he was sent with a note by one of the other confederates ; having no further orders than to deliver it, and being unacquainted with its contents, when it was read the receiving party said, “ Very well, that will do; then, as if récollecting himself, said, “Here, Jack, here's a ten pound note.” Jack conceiving it to be his own, put it into his pocket as he had done the other two, and it did not attract his attention that another man stood by at the time. The following day he was in the custody of police officers, on a charge of embezzlement; of which he was afterwards convicted, and sentenced to fourteen years' transportation. It seems, that when the affair of the young man's robbery of the thousand pounds came to the ears of the father, that he, notwithstanding the settlement made, threatened to prosecute all the parties for a conspiracy. Now, the part that Jack had taken in the affair made him the only witness who could bring them to jus. tice, so that when they took the alarm about the impending prosecu
tion, they at once resolved to make the law an instrument in destroying the evidence against them: and this they succeeded in doing, by handing him a ten pound note under circumstances which they were aware would induce him to consider it his own. The note, however, was read in court, and contained a threatening application for cash to that amount, while the strange man, who had been placed there for the purpose, proved the delivery of it; thus completing all the machinery of the trap to catch their victim in. Fenn's case, which is mentioned in another part of this work, was precisely of this nature; few of them, however, verify the adage, that “when rogues fall out, honest men obtain their rights."
The case of Fauntleroy, the Berner Street banker, is of comparatively recent date, and claims some notice. Firstly, because he was a member of a superior class in society to offenders in general. Se. condly, because his practice of committing forgery commenced much earlier in life than is generally known; and lastly, because the mode was novel, and of considerable extent in its mischievous effects.
Fauntleroy said while in Newgate, that after he became of age, and was admitted a partner into the banking-house, he found it in a state of bankruptcy, (these were his own words to one who attended on him.) As the active management of the concern shortly afterwards devolved upon him, his pride, interest, and more than all, his partiality and liberality for the fair sex, prompted him to make the most desperate struggles to maintain his station in life, and with it the means of indulging his passions. It may be, however, that the recklessness of his situation, known only to himself, throughout his miraculous · long run, might have impelled him to the gratification of passions, which a more regular course would have taught him the propriety of restraining. If this be a doctrine unintelligible to the generality of my readers, I can only reply, that it is one verified and proved by my own experience. I feel even now, had I been born to know my parents, and by them taught to fill any regular station in life when young-even that of a chimney sweeper that I should have gone through life's probation without being troubled with any unruly or inordinate desires, more than those to which all humanity is subjected, and which would not have seduced me from the path of honesty. To make a man or woman honest, we must give them a motive to its practice in early days; the possession of property, the acquirement of honour, fame, health, and long life, must be placed in their view, when the aid of religion will come in to teach, that the welfare of the soul hereafter, as well as the body here, dictates and points out to man the direct and straight high road of probity, as the only one of safety to travel on. Fauntleroy, unlike me, had a prize to win ; but then, unfortunately for him, he did not in time see that the honest would have answered his purpose better than a contrary course. He was well educated, and, moreover, was not driven by hunger and nakedness to the commission of crime, but was tempted to it by pride, and a false notion of station; as if a less elevated post in society than a principal in a falling banking-house, could not be one of happiness. His crime is ascribable to the self-determination of a strong will, acting upon the accidents of individual destiny: he found the affairs