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Markt,* the Bucten Kant,t and the Plantagje, f he remarked and followed a very beautiful, neat, and innocent looking young girl, who attended the children of a wealthy and highly respectable merchant, named De H- -n, who then dwelt in the Warmoesstraat.
It was long before the unprincipled voluptuarist found means to commence a conversation with this young creature ; next, professing to have fallen desperately in love with her, he induced her to keep his assignations; he tempted her avarice, by an ostentatious display of wealth; he flattered her vanity, by pretending to adore her matchless beauty; and, lastly, under the promise of marriage, he induced her to quit the benevolent family by whom she had been fostered, and commit her future destiny to a man of whom she knew next to nothing.
The fatal source of the disgrace and misery which quickly overwhelmed the lovely, and till then the virtuous, Margaretta, arose from her thoughtlessness in suffering the addresses of a stranger, and in concealing from her friends and protectors the overtures he was making to her.
The unfortunate girl thought that her charms had captivated a wealthy foreign merchant, who would lift her from her
humble station, and make her the equal of those whom she then served. A short space of time dispelled the illusion, and proved, that she had fallen into the hands of a character of the most wicked and desperate description.
The real name of the miscreant was W-n-n: he was born at Rotterdam, of honest but poor parentage.
At an early age he had addicted himself to bad company, and was sent to sea ; he ran away from his ship, entered into the British navy, and, after serving two years, robbed an officer on whom he attended, and then deserted. Having no inclination to gain his living by honest industry, he commenced with petty depredations, in the outskirts of London; next associating with desperadoes, he joined in the commission of more important crimes : he was frequently taken up and imprisoned ; was tried for his life at the Old Bailey; but owing to some informality, he escaped conviction. His conduct, as a robber, was marked by peculiar ferocity and cruelty: the judge told him to beware how he appeared again at the bar as a criminal. Having acquired a competent kuowledge of the English tongue, he returned to his
The flower-market, near the Stadt-house, under-am grove of lofty trees, upon the banks of the Amstel. + A noble quay, facing the river Y, and the harbour of Amsterdam.
The Plantatim, a favourite promenade between the Weesep and the Utrecht ports. The above places are the most frequented of the many pleasant walks in the city of Amsterdam.
own country as an Englishman; where he addicted himself to bad company and bad courses.
At a master shoemaker's in Amsterdam, he met by chance with a journeyman, whom he had known in London as a professed housebreaker. They recognized each other as staunch hands ; who were free from all compunctious visitings of conscience, and the fear of death. They commenced operations in Amster
and several important burglaries occurred, which attracted much attention, from the boldness and dexterity with which they had been planned and executed.
M-t-n took lodgings at the house of Mr. M—smn, an English master tailor, in whose care a sea captain had left a large chest full of valuable property; which, on the first opportunity that presented itself, the treacherous inmate carried off ; and not that chest alone, but every thing portable and valuable belonging to the unsuspecting tradesman. The property stolen was worth. several hundred pounds: the robber got off to Brussels ; but bis English accomplice was suspected, and put into the cells of the Stadt-house. Circumstantial evidence made very strongly against him; but there being no direct proof of his having been accessary to the robbery, he was released, after a confinement of several months.
During this separation, M-n committed a most daring burglary in a rich farmer's house near Dordrecht, in South Holland. Meeting with resistance, he murdered the man into whose house he had broken; and then, with the utmost deliberation, completed the work of plunder : soon after which he was apprehended, tried, and condemned to suffer death, by beheading with a sword.
Under the old government of the United Provinces, M-t-n would have been broken on the rack; but he avoided meeting his just deserts, by effecting an escape of the most difficult and perilous nature. The criminal possessed great bodily strength, the most determined courage, unshaken fortitude, and unwearied perseverance. Being thus far gifted with great qualities, and his only chance of life depending upon his success, he made exertions, and overcame difficulties, under the pressure of which almost any other mortal would have sunk.
As the fugitive was climbing the side of the canal which surrounds the prison in which he had been confined, a noise, occasioned by the falling of some loose earth, gave an alarm, and he was fired at by two centinels, but without being wounded. He continued swimming, and soon felt himself on terra firma. Being swift of foot, he made all possible haste towards the river side, which appeared impassable, being full of drift ice, and the wind blowing a perfect hurricane.
Weakened by the fatigues he had undergone, he found his pursuers gaining upon him: a cannon shot, fired from the fort,
announced that some prisoner had escaped. Before him rolled a mingled mass of ice, snow, and water, fearfully agitated by the storm ; and close behind him were his pursuers.
Finding he could not reach the Maas' side without being overtaken, he halted, waited for the foremost of his pursuers, whom he soon disabled and disarmed ; and again commencing his flight, gained the dike, and threw himself headlong upon a huge mass which the eddy had dashed upon the shore. Almost in an instant the mass separated, and the fugitive was seen by the second soldier, borne by the torrent far away upon the fragment of floating ice, sometimes above water; at others, overwhelmed by the food; at last he disappeared, and it was fully believed he had perished ; every one concluding it was impossible he could escape being drowned or dashed to pieces by the drift ice, with which the river was then full.
Contrary to every probability, the fugitive maintained his position on the fragment, till it grounded near Caltendracht, opposite to Rotterdam ; where, miserably bruised, and half dead, he was thrown upon the shore. Slowly he recovered ; and perceiving where he had been thrown by the torrent, he crept amongst a bed of tall rushes, where he lay concealed till nightfall. He then ventured out to procure a small quantity of brandy, and a little biscuit, which enabled him the better to bear those hardships; and on the second day after this wonderful escape, he reached Amsterdam, and received from his English accomplice a hearty welcome, and every assistance of which he stood in need. Instead of taking warning by the narrow escape he had
experienced, the infatuated man seemed more than ever bent to support a luxurious and voluptuous life by rapine. The shoemaker acting as his scout, gave him intelligence of a lone widow, residing near Nimeguen, who kept a large property in money and jewels in her house ; of which soon afterwards M-t-n deprived her; and it was with the proceeds of this burglary, that he obtained the means of assuming the character of an American merchant, and ship owner at Amsterdam.
Such was the real character and occupation of the stranger who seduced Margaretta - to forsake her benefactors; whose sorrow was unaffected, when they found that neither entreaty, advice, nor admonition, had the least effect in shaking the rash resolution she had taken.
Having prevailed upon the credulous girl to trust to his oaths and protestations of intended marriage, the miscreant hired expensively furnished lodgings in the Kalver-straat, at a linen draper's shop; where the victim of his artifices was received as his wife. She was soon decorated with costly and fashionable apparel; was taken to all the principal places of amusement; and wherever she appeared, her extraordinary beauty attracted general admiration.
By these expensive amusements, the funds of the marauder were reduced ; and it seemed as if the possession of this young creature made him less inclined to engage in new enterprises. When he could no longer conceal the poverty that rendered retrenchment unavoidable, he pretended that the English men of war had taken his ships ; and affected to lament his inability to support her any longer in the style they then lived.
This intelligence came wholly unexpected : the shock was violent; for the hope of enjoying affluence, and rising far above her menial station in life, had compelled her to listen to his overtures.
There was, at the period in question, living at a noted tavern in Amsterdam, an elderly person, calling himself a Polish nobleman ; his wife, an English lady, about ten years his junior ; and a plump well-grown young woman, who appeared to be full twenty years old, passed as their daughter, dressed out in style of a girl of fourteen.
By means of his accomplice before alluded to, M-n heard that this nobleman had been suddenly sent away from London by the Alien office, at the instigation of the P- of -, that he was in distress, and wanted to raise a couple of hundred ducats, upon a rich star composed of brilliants of great value, and a set of jewels belonging to his lady.
To this nobleman, in the assumed character of an American merchant, the robber found means to procure an introduction ; and so well did the two adventurers sustain their respective parts, that they deceived each other ; M-t-n giving the sham Count fifty counterfeit ducats that a Jew had imported from England, and receiving, in return, a casket of false jewels, that bore a still less proportion, in point of value, to real gems, than the gilt ducats to those made of gold.
M-t-n had arranged with his accomplice to quit Amsterdam, and make the best of his way to Berlin, if he should be able to gain possession of the Count's casket of jewels. Having examined these precious articles, the sham merchant agreed not to open the case for a given time ; and each party set his seal upon the casket in which those gems were contained. To prevent accidents, as soon as he quitted the Count's presence, M-t-n hastened to depart; and to prepare the best expediter, he broke the seals, and took a broach to a Jew; for which the Count produced a bill of parcels, in which it was charged £31, 10s. To his utter amazement, he found it nothing but false gems : he had the rest examined ; and the whole proved to be counterfeit !
Upon this important discovery, he hastened back to the tavern, and caught the Count just as he was sporting his new ducats in a silken purse at the billiard table. A few words sufficed to produce a return of the jewels to the one, and of the ducats to the other ; and, as they perfectly understood each other, from that day they became associates in false gaming, in which they were adepts.
To this family M-en introduced the unfortunate Margaretta, as his wife ; and in their society her morals sustained further injury.
A plot to entangle a nephew of the Procurator General of Amsterdam, into marriage with the pretended daughter of Count
having failed, which event being succeeded by a run of ill luck at the gaming table, the whole party were reduced to poverty: and the Countess advised Margaretta to quit Mr. M—-n, and go again to service, till his circumstances mended.
Through the aid of some of her former friends, she obtained a situation as companion to an elderly widow lady, who lived in the Bagyn Hof, near the Engelske Kirk, in Amsterdam. There she might have lived in peace and happiness, but for the unfortunate connection with M-t-n, who had sought the acquaintance of an Englishman, who lodged at a working silversmith's, with a view to rob the workshop ; and just as he stood on the point of making the attempt, the wife of his accomplice, stung by remorse, and anxious to save an innocent person from suffering, went to him, and told the history of M—-n, and of the crime he then meditated.
This person sent word to M—-n that he was betrayed, and gave him notice, that within six hours his name, &c. would be given to the police! This warning, which, from erroneous though humane motives, was given to the criminal, proved the source of shame and destruction to Margaretta ! The unhappy girl was then from home, attending her mistress. Thitber M-t-n followed her; and, with suborned tears, said he must take a long leave of her, as a writ was issued against him on account of an unpaid bill of exchange. There is every reason to believe that his victim had not even then ascertained the real character of this miscreant; and that, melted by his entreaties, it is more likely that she gave him a key to her mistress's house, from a wish to protect her lover, than to enable him to rob the premises.
Be that as it might; when the lady and her attendant returned, the latter hastened to her chamber, in expectation of finding M--t--n there, who had visited her under the character of a cousin. But instead of finding him, she missed a small trunk, which contained the best of her clothes, and many of the presents the robber had bestowed ; and before she could calm her ruffled spirits, her mistress, pale and trembling, came to announce, that her bed room had been forced, and a case containing plate, jewels, and money, to a very large amount, carried off.
The wretched young woman fell senseless on the floor. Some neighbours being called in, one of them gave evidence that he had met Mm-n quitting the house with some packages under