Thursday, May 29, 2014

Highwaymen

Travel in the 18th century was a risky business. This story shows how travellers were willing to take the law into their owns hands where necessary to make sure that highway robbers did not get away with it. This story is told about an enterprising clergyman who did not hesitate to exact justice on the highwayman he chased.

From the London Caledonian Mercury, 2nd July 1766

Letter from a Gentleman at Coventry, June 25th
"The account of the officer being robbed on the Towcester road was as follows. I happened to pass soon after and saw the dead body:
"On the Thursday the officer was riding alone between Towcester and Stony Stratford; the highwayman attacked him and robbed him of seventeen guineas; the Captain immediately galloped away to Stratford, hired a couple of post horses, and a boy to accompany him and went in pursuit of the highwayman; he overtook a clergyman on the road who agreed very readily agreed to accompany him; they soon overtook the fellow, when the clergyman called out several times to him to surrender, which he swore he would not do, and was getting out one of his pistols to fire at him, when the post boy, who rode almost even with him, desired the parson to fire, otherwise, he said, the fellow would shoot one of them; accordingly he did so, and shot him in the back; he rode a few yards, and then fell off his horse dead. He swore, when he set off in pursuit of him, that he would have him dead or alive.

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