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one of the letter-carriers in London; and that, therefore, he need not trouble himself to enquire any farther about the matter: subscribing herself, Mary Young, alias Brown, alias Stewart, alias Forbes, alias Boner, &c. of which pretty piece of impudent raillery, my reader shall have the true copy, when it comes in its course,
His last forgeries practised at St. Albans, that have come within my observation, were upon Mr. Olds of Coventry, and Mr. Billers of London.
But, before I proceed to these, I must acquaint my reader, that Robert Young had owed Mr. Olds aud Mr. Billers an ancient grudge, of as long standing as the year 1683; because then he could only defraud them of ten pounds, and a ring, and not of one hundred pounds, as he designed. The case was thus :
Robert Young, in June 1683, forged a bill in the name of Mr. Joseph Olds of Coventry, for one hundred pounds, upon Mr. John Billers of London, payable at sight.
He likewise forged a letter of advice of the said bill, which he procured to be put into some post upon the road. And accordingly it was delivered in London to Mr. Billers, on June the 12th.
The next day, being June the 13th, Robert Young, in a canonical habit with a scarf on, presented to Mr. Billers the forged bill for one hundred pounds; the counterfeit was exact, and Mr. Billers had received a letter of advice before; whereupon he straight ordered his cash-keeper to pay the Reverend Mr. Young his bill.
Robert, seeing the money come so freely, would have taken it upon content ; the servant would not pay it, except he would tell it over ; which at length be did.
But, before he could carry it away, the servant whispering this to his master, and Mr. Billers himself observing something in the bill, that gave him reason to suspect it, came to them, and said to Robert, that he desired to be better satisfied in the said bill, and that he was the person, whose right it was to receive it, since he knew him not.
Robert replied, he was a country minister, altogether a stranger in town, and known to none but the Archbishop of Canterbury. • Well, said Mr. Billers, when you bring me any of the archbishop's 'gentlemen to give me an account of bis grace's knowledge of you, 'you shall presently have the money.'
But Robert pretended very urgent occasions for it, and that he was to pay away some of it that night; and therefore earnestly intreated he might have the whole, or at least ten pounds of it for the present. Mr. Billers consented to this last request ; Mr. Young gave a receipt for the ten pounds; and, to prevent a farther trouble of telling the money again, Mr. Billers desired him to seal the rest up in the bag where it was put. Mr. Young had no seal. Mr. Billers pulled off his finger a gold ring set with a cornelian stone; bid Mr. Young seal the bag with it ; gave the ring into his keeping, and appointed him to bring it again the next day, when he came for the residue of the money. Mr. Young very fairly went away with the ten pounds and the ring, but never came again for the
remainder of his bill, or to bring witness, that he was acquainted with the archbishop.
Having now set forth this matter of fact of Mr. Billers's keeping back ninety pounds from Mr. Robert Young, even just when he was in the very act of receiving it, I leave it to my reader to judge, whether Robert did not owe hin a good turn. My next business is to shew how he paid it him: sume years, indeed, had passed, before he took his revenge; which I somewhat wonder at; but he took it at last to some purpose.
The manner how it was done I shall express as briefly as I can, because the circumstances of this were very near the same with his other aforementioned St. Albans, forgeries.
About the middle of February. 1688, be sent his faithful instrument Mary, under the name now of Mrs. Sarah Harris, to pay the same Mr. Olds ten pounds at Coventry, for which he gave her a bill of exchange upon the same Mr. Billers, payable at sight: So, for very good cause, Robert took care all, or most of his bills should be worded.
By this means Robert renewed his acquaintance with Mr. Olds's hand, and soon perfected himself in it, by watching over all his letters of correspondence with Mr. Billers, which must come from Coventry through St. Albans, where he governed those who governed the post-house.
Being thus prepared, he began at first to play at small game, that he might keep his hand in use; for, finding in one of Mr. Olds's letters two bills, the one of fourteen pounds ten shillings, the other of twenty pounds, both payable to Mr. Billers, he took possession of the letter, forged indorsements on the bills, in the name of Mr. Billers, that they should be paid to his servant, James Moreton (whose true name was James Young, and he was really Robert's servant) and accordingly both these bills were paid, Ang. 5, 1689, to James Moreton, alias Young; as, it seems, nothing can belong to Robert Young, without being intitled to an alias.
This James Moreton, alias Young, I say, did actually receive both the bills; and, thinking it was but reasonable he should have à share in the profit, as he had in the knavery, paid the sum of the one bill to his master, and kept the other to himself: the first cheat (and the last, I believe) that was ever put upon Mr. Robert Young
But, after these less gainful experiments, it seems, Robert Young thought it now a fit season, that his main plot upon Mr. Olds and Mr. Billers should begin to work ; for, by his long familiarity with the northern mails, he had learned, that, at this time, there was a considerable eash of Mr. Olds remaining in the hands of Mr. Billers.
Wherefore, by the same method which he had used in his other cheats of this kind, he forged a bill of two hundred pounds to be paid at sight to the same Mrs. Sarah Harris, proceeding in the same steps as before; that is, he intercepted one of Mr. Olds's letters, transcribed it, adding an advice of having drawn the said billof two
hundred pounds for Mrs. Sarah Harris; then suppressed the true letter, and put the false one into the post ; which was delivered to Mr. Billers, at London, upon August the 11tb, 1689.
The next morning came Mrs. Sarah Harris to Mr. Billers, and produced her forged bill. He could discover no deceit in the hand, owned he had received the letter of advice, and was just giving order for the payment; when, by good fortune, he recollected, that he had heard Mr. Shipton of Friday-street had, not long before, been defrauded after the same manner, by a woman coming, as this did, in the morning, and of the same sum of two hundred pounds.
The fresh remembrance of this gave him just grounds of being jealous of the like trick; so that, while the money was telling out, he thought it would not be amiss to send and desire Mr. Shipton to come and take a view of this Mrs. Harris, intimating the reason why he sent for him.
Mr. Shipton came accordingly, and, upon the first sight, declared her to be the same Mary Young, that had lately cheated him of his two hundred pounds.
She, being thus unexpectedly charged with this crime, confessed it upon the place; whereupon she was apprehended, and committed to the King's-bench, after she had received above five-hundred pounds, in a short space, by the like ways, wbilst she was such a kind of agent at London for Robert Young as my reader will find she owned upon oath afterwards at Litchfield.
But in the King's-bench I must leave her for a short time, that I may look out after her dear friend, and inquire how he behaved himself, in this sad catastrophe of their affairs, after they had so long proceeded smoothly and prosperously,
It was high time for him now' to intermit his correspondencies at St. Albans, and to remove to a greater distance from London ; so that the next footsteps, I have traced of his rogueries, were at Litchfield ; whither, I find also, he had made some excursions in the year 1688: but now, in the year 1689, it seems, be went thither, resolving to settle there for some time.
There he appeared in a genteel habit, with his man, James Young, alias Moreton, to wait upon him: there be personated again an Irish clergyman, of considerable preferments in that church, and a plentiful temporal estate. He kept iwo horsés, rode often abroad in an equipage, rather fitting a highway-man, than a divine. He had plenty of gold and silver, and some plate; the product, no doubt, of his late cheats upon Mr. Clarke, and Mr, Mathew, and Mr. Olds, besides some remains, probably, of what was collected for Mr. Green, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Sunith, whilst they, good men, perhaps, lay in prison for it, all the while.
During his abode at Litchfield, he professed himself to be a single man, and, upon that pretence, made love to divers women, in the way of marriage ; believing, that his former Mary was lodged so safely in the King's-bench, that she could never get out to disturb bis designs.
But there he was deceived: for, when the fire broke out in Southwark, she made her escape, and so had leisure to look out after him, and came time enough, to prevent his intended marriage.
For just then he was in close pursuit of a young woman at Tamworth, who had at least one thousand pounds to her portion, and he was in great probability of obtaining her. But Mary, having got loose by the above-mentioned accident, wrote him divers letters, that all her money was spent; that she would be with bim shortly, though she begged by the way. Which, at last, she made good, and arrived there, some few days before his new designed wedding, and challenged him for her husband. Or else, undoubtedly, he had served Mary Hutt the same trick, for the sake of a thousand pounds, as my reader will find, he really served Anne Yeabsly, for one hundred and fifty pounds.
But this had like to have cost Mary her life : for Robert, being inraged at the disappointment, practised with his man, to meet her in her coming down ; and either to cut her throat, or drown her. And, when he refused (which was a wonderful honesty in any one, that could submit to be bis man) Robert's next attempt was to dispatch and kill his man, as he went abroad, one day, with him a shooting
My reader, no doubt, will be amazed at this lorrible story; yet I say no more than what his man himself declared upon oath, at Litchfield, and what all the country thereabout believes to be true.
But, the gun not going off, his man fled from him, first to Litchfield, and thence to Coventry; where he acquainted Mr. Olds, a mercer there, whom I have already so often mentioned, with the several cheats, that his master Robert Young had formerly acted upon him, by forging bills of exchange.
Mr. Olds, having never before, by all his search, been able to discover the contrivers of those forgeries, without delay, repaired to Litchfield, and lighted upon Robert Young, whilst he was yet in flush of money and plate; which he pretended to bave brought out of Ireland, where he affirmed, he was a dean.
Mr. Robert, being thus unawares charged with all these cheats, freely confessed them all to Mr. Olds : and, that he might not lose his new-gotten reputation in the church there, and all his hopes at once, privately made up the business, and repaid to Mr. Olds all he could demand : that is to say, the fourteen pounds, ten shillings ; the twenty pounds; and the ten pounds ; and the value of the gold ring: which unlucky blow to his fortune made bim, for the future, be content to be served without plate.
But this was also the occasion of a worse mischief, that shortly after befel Robert Young and Mary ; I say Mary also. For, before this, she arrived safe at Litchfield ; and though, at first, he positively denied her to be his wife, and forswore her too, according to his custom; yet, in a short time, I know not how, they were pieced together again, as seeming indeed to be born for one another's society.
I have already told my reader, that Mr. Mathew of Daventry had used all possible industry, and written a vast number of letters, and made many fruitless journies, in quest of the author of his two-hundred pound forgery. But all in vain, till now the noise of it, spreading all over the country, came, at length, to Mr. Olds at Coventry. He presently gave intimation by letter to Mr. Mathew, how he bimself had likewise been cheated of divers less sums, and recovered them again, by composition: and that his knave was still in a flourishing condition at Litchfield ; and he might probably be the same man.
Mr. Mathew, upon this intelligence, quickly posted down to Litchfield : beset the house, over night, where Robert and Mary lodged; the next morning Mary was soon taken, and Robert also, after above an hour's search, was pulled out from under a heap of furz, in a corner of the cellar.
They both immediately confessed the fact; and Robert would fain have stopped Mr. Mathew's mouth, as he had done Mr. Olds's, with the small relicks of his ill-gotten wealth.
But, that not sufficing for a sum so considerable, Robert stoutly denied all again, and defied him to do his worst: whereupon they were both clapped up in Litchfield gaol.
During this time, news was come to the secretaries' office at Whitehall, of the aforesaid violations on the post office, at St. Albans : and that the persons offending were in custody at Litchfield. Whereupon, the Right Honourable the Earl of Shrewsbury, then principal Secretary of State, granted a warrant to Mr. Legatt, the king's messenger, to bring them up to town, as being accused for dangerous practices against the government : the persons, abused by the former forgeries, giving their consent, that they should be so removed.
Mr. Legatt brought them up, and laid them first in the Gatebouse in Westminster ; whence, by a warrant of the lord chief justice, they were removed into London, and lodged safely (one would have thought) in Newgate.
To Newgate, they had directly steered their courses the greatest part of their lives; and thus, at last, wrought their way thither, per rarios casus, per tot discrimina. There they were tried and condenined for those forgeries, and underwent again the punishment of the pillory; he being fined, for one fault, a hundred marks ; for the other, a hundred marks; and she twenty marks.
If my reader shall ask, why Robert was found guilty of no more than two of these cheats? It was, because there was no other proof against him for the rest, but the confession of Mary, who plainly confessed him to be the author of all. But that, it seems, in law, is not evidence sufficient, because they supposed ber to be his wife ; it was a pity the judges and jury bad not known how little she was his lawful wife.
However, in Newgare they continued above two years, for want of payment of these fines, till the 25th of May last, when his fines were paid : I suppose his wife's fine was discharged too. For