Page images
PDF
EPUB

Of the managers or abettors of it, there are but very few, hitherto, come to my knowledge ; though, no doubt, there are more still behind the curtain. And many other honest men, in all likelihood, had been accused after the same manner, had this first attempt taken effect.

For how can it be imagined, they would only bare introduced the good Archbishop Sancroft, and the poor Bishop of Rochester, and joining us with three or four persons of honour, and a citizen or two, have then supposed us to be so mad as to engage under our hands, to seize on the Queen's person ; to surprise the Tower ; to raise a mighty army; and to bring the city of London into subjection.

No; without all question, if this false association had once passed for authentick, many other papers of the same nature would soon have been produced out of the same forge: to the involving of many other innocent persons, both of clergy and laity, in the like counterfeit guilt.

But, till time shall bring to light more of this detestable work of darkness, the whole ignominy of it must be shared at present among the pretended witnesses, whom I have already heard named.

Of these there was one Captain Lawe, mentioned both by Young and his wife. And they boasted much of his concurring testimony, when he should appear. Yet of him I have nothing more to say, than that I find, there really was such a man as Lawe, a prisoner too in Newgate ; and freed from thence the fifth day of August, 1691: a captain, Young said, he was; and he might as easily make him one as he made himself a priest; which (I thank God for the church's sake) he was no otherwise than in fiction.

How this captain got his liberty, I have yet no reason, that I know of, to examine strictly ; seeing he has hitherto had either the modesty or the cunning to withdraw himself, and not to venture being an evidence in so bad a cause.

For the present, therefore, I leave Captain Lawe, as I found him, with no other mark of disgrace, but what his friend Young has fixed upon him, by naming him as a man likely to deserve the title of the third discoverer of his plot.

Of Blackhead too, besides what relates to myself, which the reader has had before, I have but one story more to insert here ; though that indeed is home, and to the purpose. For this very Stephen Blackhead was prisoner also in Newgate, and condemned on January 15, 1689, to stand in the pillory, and to lose his ears, together with one Lewis and one Patrick, being all three convicted of one and the same forgery.

Lewis and Patrick, it seems, were so ill befriended, as to have the rigour of the law pass upon them. By what favour, Blackhead came to be reprieved and pardoned, it is not now my business overcariously to inquire : else I could perhaps tell a story, how the knave, being himself a broken taylor, and employed in the solliciting of others' debts; and having, as is usual. some bills and letters of attorney intrusted with him for that purpose, had the good luck,

and the honesty, by delivering up, and cancelling one of them to save his ears, and purchase his pardon.

But, perhaps, I do not well to anticipate any part of Blackhead's other knaveries, not doubting, but he wil, in time, supply abun. dant matter, to deserve a like history of himself. It is more than probable, that some other good and peaceably-minded man, having been as vilely trepanned by him, as I have been, though perhaps, by some other way than a flower-pot, will have the same reason to search into all his tricks, and to set them out with as much variety, in as ample a manner, as I shall now endeavour to do Robert Young's.

It is this Robert Young, that, I conceive, has most merited to be my proper subject. By what appears yet, Blackbead was only. the tool, and the instrument; Young was the chief, if not the first contriver of this treacherous design. Blackhead was touched with some remorse, so far as to reveal some part of the truth : Young persisted to the last, without any relenting. And, when one would have thought he should have been quite overwhelmed with what his colleague confessed, he had the face, in so honourable a presence, with a prodigious and inimitable turn of impudence, to impute Blackhead's confession to my having suborned him.

As to Robert Young therefore, I will first give a true draught, in little, of his whole life; that my reader, keeping the principal passages of that in his memory, may know where to require satisfaction in any particular, from my original papers.

But now, in the very beginning of Robert Young's story, I might be at some loss, what is really his name; for, in several places, he has

gone under divers names; and behaved himself so, as quickly to wear them all out, and to make it necessary for him to change them often.

Thus, on sundry occasions, he has passed under the names of Brown, Smith, Hutt, Jones, Green, &c. In Dublin, he sometimes called himself Marsh : In Raphoe, Hopkins, to render himself more acceptable, in his ill projects ; taking the true names of the worthy archbishop and bishop of those sees, at that time.

Yet, after all, I find the name of Young is most likely to pay all' his scores ; for, notwithstanding his many divings, under other disguises, it has so happened, that he has still risen up again at last, in his own true name of Robert Young.

There may be also as great a controversy raised, what countryman he is. In some of the original papers in my keeping, he passes for an Irishman'; in some, for a Scotchman; in his own letters (which I have the least reason of all to believe, and, being myself an Englishman, I am most unwilling to believe) he gives himself out for an Englishman, born at Chester. Wherefore, till I am more familiarly acquainted with him, than he himself says I am, I must be forced to leave his country uncertain: though I am confident, there will be no great contention or emulation between the three kingdoms, to which of them he owes his birth.

In the same letters, wherein he says he was born at Chester, he affirms, that his grandfather was Sir Peter Young's son, and his grandmother the Duke of Lenox's daughter. Had he really been descended from Sir Peter Young, I might still urge, that he is the more to blame in rendering an honest stock, as he calls it there, infamous, by making it degenerate into the most enormous crimes.

But how can I credit him in this matter of his extraction from Sir Peter Young, and the illustrious House of Lenox; when, in the very same paper, there follows immediately, that which, to my knowledge, is a horrid lie: that he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Clogher? For I shall give infallible proof, that his priest's orders he only imposed on himself, by his own false hand.

But, to clear up this whole business, I have also hy me a true copy of an account, he gave of himself; wherein, quite forgetting this romance of his being a Cheshire man, and his near kindred to the Duke of Lenox, he gives this narrative of his own life.

It is dated, May 26, 1683; and declares that he was born at Warrington in Lancashire ; 'that he went over into Treland, and to school at Iniskillin: that he thence removed to Dublin college, being eighteen years old; where he continued seven years, and was made Master of Arts, eleven years since ; that thence he went to be curate in Leighlin, and, for three years last past, was chaplain to the Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin : that he preached all the courses, for the dean and prebends, at ten shillings a sermon : that he had all the book-money, that is, the fees for marriages, burials, and christenings, there being no other parish-church, but the cathedral: that he lived in the bishop's house, till his death, since Christmas : that, two years before, he married the bishop's house-keeper: that he had testimonials from the college of Dublin, and was ordained by his own bishop.

Now would not any plain honest man take this to be a simple and true narrative of the man's birth, his education, and conversation ? But nothing is more certain than that every line almost of all this is full of gross falshoods. And, as ill-luck would have it, after he and his reputed wife had rambled over England for divers years, and cheated multitudes of well-disposed persons, by the help of false and lying certificates, they being at last apprehended and imprisoned at Bury, as you will hear, confessed before the inagistrates, that all their testimonials and recommendations were false, and forged.

Wherefore it is time for me to leave still in the dark, as I find it, . that age of Mr. Young's life, which he has made 'either to be merely fabulous, or so mixed with truth and fable, that there is no distinguishing between them. I now apply myself to that part of it, which, from undoubted testimony, I can affirm to be historical. And I shall date the beginning of this period about the year 1680.

In that year, or near thereupon, his first famous exploit, that occurs to me worthy of himself, was his marrying a second wife, Mary Hatt, whilst his first lawful wife Anne Yeabsly was living ; with whom he had cohabited five years, and bad three children by her.

Then, to qualify himself for employment in the church of Ireland, and to maintain his family which he had taken such a way to increase) he did really insinuate himself into deacon's orders by the hands of the Bishop of Killaloo ; whom he circumvented by forging the Archbishop of Cashell's, the Bishop of Waterford's, and other clergymen's hands, to false, but very ample testimonials of his morals and learning.

But, as for his priest's orders, he was beholden to no bishop for them: he had only recourse to his own incomparable faculty of counterfeiting hands and seals : so that, if that same Dr. Hookes, you wot of, had been but an honest man, he might easily have found out the false priest, without ever troubling himself to write to me about him.

However, being after this manner ordained deacon, and having ordained himself priest, he got to be entertained as a curate, first at Tallogh in the diocese of Waterford; whence, for divers crimes, he ran away with another man's horse, which he never restored : then at Castle-Reah in the county of Roscommon, whence he was forced to flee for getting a bastard; and, lastly, at Kildallin in the diocese of Kilmore.

Nor had he been long in this last cure, but he was accused, for many heinous offences, before the bishop of that see, who, at the time of my writing this, is the most Reverend Archbishop of DubJin; whese just description of the man I shall give in its due place ; wherein his grace has represented him, as the most impudent, Jying, profligate wretch on the face of the earth.

Wherefore, to escape the justice of his diocesan, who knew him 80 thoroughly, he fled into the diocese of Raphoe. But, being pursued thither, and traced out by the notoriety of some of his new pranks, he was apprehended by my old friend Bishop Hopkins, and first imprisoned at Lifferd ; then removed to the gaol of Cavan, where he was presently loaded with many of his former crimes, especially for having two wives then living; Simon Hutt, the father of the second, being then an inhabitant and inn-keeper in. Cavan.

Whereupon the good Bishop of Kilmore, now Archbishop of Dublin, fearing Robert Young might come to be hanged in his gown, degraded bim from his orders ; if I may call them bis, since the one of them he had surreptitiously gotten, the other was really none at all.

Shortly after he was indicted, and should have been tried for his having two wives : but he had so ordered the matter, by an admirable artifice (which I shall tell by and by) that the two women could never be brought together at bis trial, to own him for their husband.

By this means he was discharged of a crime, whereof I shall presently give manifest proofs, besides his own confession, under his own hand; which, I hope, the reader will not think he did coun. terfeit too.

But, still being in Cavan gaol for fees and debts contracted there, to free himself thence he made application to the Duke of Ormond,

at that time lord-lieutenant of that kingdom; pretending,' that if he were once out of prison, and bad leave to appear before his grace, he could make notable discoveries of dangerous plots against the government ; in which some of the nobility, and several bishops, were concerned.

Whereupon, the popish plot having been just before in full vogue there, as well as here, the duke thought it expedient to grant bim his liberty, in order to his coming up to Dublin, to make good what he had so confidently promised.

But the knave had his end, and having got out of gaol, by a pretence so plausible, he never thought of calling at Dublin, but retired secretly to Iniskillin, and let the discovery of that plot shift for itself; which, they that knew him best may think, was the honestest action of his life ; to break only a promise, that he might avoid being an Irish evidence : and perhaps some of my friends may be apt to say, Si sic omnia.

Whilst he was lurking at Iniskillin, he inticed thither his second wife Mary Hutt, who has ever since run the same fortune with him, and been the inseparable companion of all his frauds, and was the very woman that appeared against me before the lords, to justify the association. So that from that time we hear nothing more of his true wife, Anne Yeabsley. It seems he then intirely cast her off, after he had allured her by the most solemn vows of living with her alone, and for ever renouncing the other, to be the chief instrument of his not being convicted at Cavan; and that by no less than a downright perjuring herself for his sake.

But, whatever became of her, it is certain, that it was with Mary Hutt he fled into England, in or about the year 1683. And, from that time to this, they have run a constant uninterrupted race of all kinds of wickedness in this kingdom, scarce ever passing a month, or a week, of these eleven years, without either being actually in some prison, or committing such crimes as deserved the deepest dungeons

The first news I hear of him after his arrival in England, was upon his making application to the venerable Archbishop Sancroft, for some employment in our church. This he did in the garb, and under the character of a distressed Irish clergyman : and, to prove himself such, he exhibited his counterfeit orders from the Bishop of Clogher. And I must not omit, that, as a testimony of his modesty, this his first visit at Lambeth, and the producing his orders there, was within a month after he had been degraded in Ireland,

But the wise and wary archbishop immediately suspected him and his letters of orders, they being not in form, or the usual style, nor the seal fixed in its due place. Against all which exceptions the falsary fenced as well as he could with a shameless lye. Yet he received no other answer, but that bis grace had no cure void in his gift.

But Young would not be put off so; shortly after he came again, desiring and pressing the archbishop to recommend him to be a

VOL. X,

D

« PreviousContinue »