Illustration: Hayward Waltzing with a Lady of Quality
FEW men better deserved the appellation of the 'Modern Mac-heath' than the unfortunate Hayward, the Incidents of whose short life deserve to be recorded, as affording not only a view of his own character, but a powerful lesson to youth.
Samuel Denmore Hayward was born in October, 1797. His father was an industrious journeyman currier, who resided in the Borough of Southwark; and, being very poor, he allowed his son to deliver messages for the prisoners in the King's Bench, who regarded him as a boy of great promise. Indeed, it was a general remark in the whole neighbourhood that Samuel had all the appearance of 'a gentleman's child.'
Flattered by the early notice thus shown him, he indulged higher notions than could possibly be gratified by following the humble business of h is father, and, accordingly, he procured himself to be bound an apprentice to a tailor. But business was not his forte; he disliked the confined ideas of trade, and aspired to a higher station in society than that usually attained by a tailor. At the expiration of the first year his master was glad to cancel his indentures; and, thus freed from further restraint, young Hayward became waiter in the New York Coffee House, near the Royal Exchange.
This situation did not exactly accord with his ambition, but it answered his purpose; it afforded him an opportunity of exhibiting his fine person and mixing with gentlemen, though in the humble capacity of an attendant. In dress, too, he could partially indulge his vanity, and this was not the least inducement to his entering this menial occupation. While here his address and pleasing deportment gained him universal esteem, and attracted the observation of Dr. Hughson, who was then compiling his celebrated 'History of London,' and residing in Furnival's Inn. The doctor admired his politeness and attention, and, convinced that he was a lad of parts, took him home to assist him in collecting materials for works on which he was then engaged.
The road to an honourable career in life was now opened to his ambition, and he seems to have laudably availed himself of the opportunity; for he not only acquitted himself reputably in his new engagement, but applied industriously to the cultivation of his mind. He acquired a complete knowledge of the French and Italian languages, both of which he spoke with great fluency; and also became a proficient in music, for which he had a natural taste. He played on several instruments with elegance and skill, and, in short, was deficient in none of those polite accomplishments so necessary to a man of fashion. He remained with the doctor about five years, and then entered the service of Captain Blanchard, with whom he travelled over the greater part of Europe. His new master was too indulgent, looking upon Hayward rather in the light of a companion, until the genteel lacquey, tired of being an attendant, sighed to exhibit himself as a principal in the gay and frivolous scenes he had witnessed at a respectful distance.
Buoyed up with inflated notions of his own personal importance, he quitted the service of Captain Blanchard, and made his first step towards ruin, by returning to London, where he assumed the character of a gentleman, and trusted to his wit and abilities for the means of supporting his apparent rank in society. Apprehensive that his origin might be discovered, he entirely cast off all his former acquaintances and relatives, and pretended to be a young man of family and consequence. The better to disguise himself, he assumed a military appearance, and having the air of a dashing young officer, easily imposed himself on fashionable society as belonging to the Commissariat Department.
Hayward, though now only twenty-one years of age, had read much, and was an acute observer of character. He had remarked that very superficial qualifications, when aided by appearance, were sufficient passports to the fashionable world, who are 'still deceived by ornament,' and determined to make a progress in the fluttering and heartless scene, he set about the necessary preparations. Nature had been prodigal to this vain young man; his person was elegant; his features animated, intelligent, and handsome; and his dress, being in the first style, fully accorded with the form it clothed.
Thus qualified by nature and art. he had only to present himself at the door of the Temple of Fashion to secure a ready admission. His polished manners, superior address, and handsome person, soon secured him the esteem of the ladies, while his military air, sporting phrases, and unblushing confidence, procured him the friendship of the gentlemen. In a very short period he was regarded as one whose society was worth courting, and whose presence could add to the attractions of drawingroom. The 'voluptuous melodies of Moore' he sang with rich and tasteful sweetness, while his execution on the flute was little, if at all, inferior to the performance of the celebrated Drouet. Such an addition to a fashionable party was not to be dispensed with. Hayward was invited by the dowager and the duke, the lord and the baronet, the dissipated and the wealthy, and, in a few months, he had run the complete circuit of fashionable life. In the morning he was to be seen paying a visit to one of the. squares in the west end; in the middle of the day escorting ladies, of the first distinction, to the Exhibition; and, in the evening, encompassed by elegance and beauty at the Opera.
The doors of respectable families were thrown open to him; and it is a melancholy truth that innocent and lovely females were introduced to this unprincipled scoundrel by their unsuspecting fathers and brothers. Is it, therefore, to be wondered at, that so many distressing and immoral scenes take place in high life, since so little caution is shown? Whatever is most estimable mankind guards with most care; but fashion reverses this, as well as most other things, and thoughtlessly exposes the purity and innocence of unthinking females to the polluting contact of every villain who has art enough to worm himself into what is called polished society.
The amatory epistles received by Hayward from the fair sex, during his short career, amounted to upwards of three hundred. These were found in his trunk on his apprehension, but, from a proper feeling of delicacy, were not made public. The frail writers, no doubt, on hearing of the circumstance, were sufficiently punished for their indiscretion and credulity. We shall give one of these billets-doux, which 'wafts a sigh from Indus to the pole,' as a specimen; and we can assure the reader it is one of the least objectionable:
'Mrs. ---'s compliments to Mr. Hayward, and if he will have the politeness to accompany her to the Royal Academy, it will not only prove his attention and kindness, but she will possess the advantages resulting from his good taste and knowledge of the works of the first artists of the day. A corner of her carriage is also at his service, Mr. H. must not refuse.
'S. HAYWARD, Esq.'
But Hayward was a general lover -- a perfect man of gallantry. The lady, the courtesan, and the servant maid, by turns, claimed his attention, as his roving eye fastened on their charms. He was to be seen at Almack's joining in the voluptuous waltz with some honourable miss of the West end, or sporting a toe in a quadrille with a woman of the town at places of inferior note. Hayward danced with ease and elegance, and wherever he exhibited himself was sure to elicit applause; and, as the man was egregiously vain, most probably he did not care much whether the commendations came from elegant females or vicious prostitutes.
To support this gay and dissipated life required means, and as Hayward was without any, he had resource to the gaming table. The profits of play proving inadequate to his necessities, he made the gambling-house subservient to his wants by imposing forged notes on the frequenters of those scenes of vice. He was soon, however, detected and literally kicked out; when, finding himself excluded, he became the visitor of smaller hells, where less notorious wretches play for shillings instead of pounds. The gradations of the vicious are regular and rapid; from the gaming table to the brothel, and from the brothel to the gallows. Hayward, in less than a twelvemonth, found himself obliged to resort to the basest means for support; and as his character began to develop itself, he found himself shut out from families which he had lately visited. In his best day he was a passer of forged notes, was known to have stolen the money out of several tills, having insinuated himself into the bars for that purpose; and was suspected of having picked pockets! To what base means will not the man resort who sets out in life with an assumed character!
Hayward, whilst running his career of fashionable life, attracted the notice of a beautiful young creature, who was the mistress of a superannuated, but wealthy, general. Such an opportunity was not to be lost. He paid her the most marked attention, and she acknowledged his gallantry; he became a petticoat pensioner; indeed, he might be said to be in keeping, as he lived for several months upon the purse of this woman, who evinced for him the most extravagant affection. By her he had one child, unknown, of course, to the amorous veteran; but, neglecting her charms for some other unfortunate woman, she became jealous, and banished him from her presence.
It is a melancholy truth that, in this modern Babylon, thousands are found, in the shape of men, who subsist on the prostitution of unfortunate females, whose nocturnal and vile earnings are spent by these wretches, known by the name of 'fancy-men.' Hayward became one of these, and shared the sinful gains of more than one prostitute. What a degradation! A young man of such talents and acquirements as those possessed by Hayward, need never descend to vice or meanness. In this country, abilities like his are sure to be appreciated, and fair industry is certain of reward. Laudable endeavours seldom fail to procure, at least, the necessaries of life, while all the arts and schemes of the swindler are insufficient to keep him from starving. He may, indeed, be momentarily successful; but his career is always short. Hayward, with all his address, was driven, in less than three years, to the utmost distress; and a little before he committed the crime for which he suffered, he had no means of raising the price of his bed but by forcibly snatching the shawl from off a girl of the town, and running away with it.
A sharper is compelled to be always on the alert, and avail himself of every opportunity to augment his finances. While Hayward was immersed in pleasure, he did not omit to profit by the consequence derived from his associating with men of rank; and tradesmen, seeing him in company with their wealthy customers, could not refuse him credit. Jewellers supplied him with trinkets for his girls, and tailors dressed him out in the first style of fashion. It is needless to say that he owed hundreds and never paid a halfpenny. An anecdote or two will illustrate at once his address and assurance.
Passing one day by the shop of a Mr. Spurling, jeweller, 42. Judd Street, Brunswick Square, Hayward's eye was attracted by a flute with silver keys. He went in and asked the price; finding it six guineas, he lamented that he had only four pounds and ten shillings in change about him, which he laid on the counter, and desired the instrument to be sent to his lodgings, when he would pay the remainder. Before taking his leave, he astonished the jeweller by producing on the flute some of the finest notes he ever heard; and, having thus secured his ear, he took occasion to mention some noblemen whom he should recommend to Mr. Spurling's shop. The jeweller, believing him to he a man of fashion, was flattered by his patronage, and instantly sent home the flute; and, when Hayward called the next day, let him have a gold watch worth forty guineas.
At another time Hayward was detected in attempting to pass a forged ten pound note. The shopkeeper took him before the sitting alderman at Guildhall, when he expressed himself hurt at the suspicion, and assuring the magistrate that being a gentleman a little addicted to play, the note in question came into his possession that way the preceding night, at one of the gambling-houses in St. James's, where the worthy alderman must know such notes are sometimes improperly and dishonourably imposed upon gentlemen, he told this plausible story with so much polished ease and unembarrassed countenance, that the magistrate dismissed the complaint, and the shopkeeper, thinking himself wrong, apologised for his conduct.
Hayward had not been on the town more than a twelvemonth when he found a short absence from London necessary, as his character had got wind. On learning that some of his acquaintance, in the neighbourhood of Russell Square, had gone to the Isle of Wight on en excursion of pleasure, he resolved to follow them. The difficulty of an introduction was no obstacle to one whose life was artifice, and who rather depended on accident than design. He started for the Isle of Wight in the style of a first rate man of fashion, and was received with warmth on his arrival, as one who could contribute to the amusement and pleasure of those circles in which he had been before the delight. He was now upon a new scene, which afforded ample scope for the exercise of his talents, and he did not allow them to lie dormant. He entered with spirit into every party; was esteemed the best shot among the sportsmen; and acknowledged the most accomplished suitor by the ladies. His talents astonished the islanders; for he seemed as much at home in remarking on the scenery of the place as in commenting on a piece of Mozart's music.
Such an agreeable and accomplished companion as Hayward must have been interesting, had he possessed true notions of honour and integrity; and if he had not been led away by his vanity and dissipation, he might now ban formed an advantageous connexion among the circles he visited But pleasure and dissipation left him no time for reflection; and thus his want of thought prevented him from securing his own independence, and saved some elegant female from having to deplore an unfortunate alliance.
While he remained here he became the intimate friend of a gentleman who, with his son and daughter, were making a tour of the island. Hayward's conversation was so agreeable, that they solicited his company on the excursion. He agreed, and during their progress the young lady gave him marked encouragement, which he probably might have availed himself of, were it not for one of those fortunate circumstances which sometimes preserves innocence and discomfits the wicked. While he was one day engaged in pointing out the beauties of the local scenery, several strangers passed by, and among them Hayward espied one of the gamblers who had formerly detected him in the act of imposing forged notes on the blacklegs of St. James's. The unexpected appearance of this person, at such a moment and in such a place, acted on Hayward like an electric shock, and completely overpowered him. Dreading exposure, he became much agitated, made a hasty apology, and, abruptly quitting his companions, returned to London. The upright man is never surprised; but the guilty one is, like the timorous hare, alarmed at even the 'rustling of the brake.'
On his return to the metropolis he entered once more on his vicious course, and was to he seen nightly in the saloons of the theatres accompanied by dashing cyprians, or found at some free-and-easy, surrounded by dishonest characters, with whom he now began to associate. He was no longer a welcome visitor at the fashionable squares, as his deceptions had been in most instances discovered, and in one or two places he was treated rather unceremoniously.
Soon after his return from the Isle of Wight he became acquainted with a lady, who, living separately from her husband, had an allowance of twelve hundred pounds a year. Hayward soon insinuated himself into her favour, and for a time found her a most convenient banker. This absurd woman had long passed the 'hey-day of her youth.' yet she was so vain that her purse was at Hayward's command in return for the encomiums he bestowed on her person; for no further impropriety took place between them than a kind of ridiculous coquetry. This lady recommended her sentimental admirer to lodgings in her neighbourhood; but his landlady not getting her rent in due time, she took the advantage of Hayward's absence to inspect his wardrobe. Not meeting with any thing but a few collars, a pair of false ankles, and some paint for his cheeks, she concluded that all was not right, and that if her lodger was a captain, as he pretended to he, he must have been long on half pay, for he appeared nearly as distressed as the lieutenant who so much interested my uncle Toby and Corporal Trim. Accordingly on his return, she intimated a wish to be paid her rent; but the mock captain replied in terms so disagreeable that she locked him out that night, and refused him further admission into her house. His friend, the liquorish old lady, paid the rent next morning, to avoid an application to her husband on the business.
His landlady had more causes than one for lamenting having let Hayward into her house, for he endeavoured to seduce her daughter; and, failing in his object, he spread reports so injurious to the young lady's character, that a gentleman who had been paying his addresses to her declined to persevere in his suit. Hayward was but too successful in deluding young women. At this time he seduced a girl of a respectable family, who had some money in the funds, and when her little property had been spent he abandoned her, leaving her pregnant and penniless; an act which, in a moral point of view, deserved death more than the crime for which he suffered. This transaction coming to the ears of his female friend, she, either from jealousy or indignation, shut the door in his face, and desired her servants to admit him no more.
Hayward had by this time beware too well known at all the places of fashionable resort to attempt practising his impositions there any more, and, in consequence, he was obliged to resort to the lowest and basest means of procuring the means of subsistence. At one time he ran away with a bundle of gloves off the counter of a hosier, and subsisted for some time by disposing of articles, made of a newly-discovered metal, for gold. Some hinted, after his death, that they suspected him of a crime of disgusting atrocity; but of this there appears no proof.
Disowned and degraded, his career was rapidly drawing to a close, and, as he began to descend, he became more vile and infamous. One night he took a dashing cyprian to one of the hotels which abound near Leicester Fields, and having treated her to supper, wine, &c. she considered him a perfect gentleman, until the next morning, when, under pretence of stepping out to his agent, he forgot to return, and left the unfortunate creature in pawn for the bill, which she discharged by pledging her watch, &c. A few nights after she met him in the saloon .of Covent Garden Theatre, and among other reproaches told him he was well known as a passer of forged notes, and that she would have the pleasure of seeing him hanged,-- a prognostication which even then deeply affected him.
In the spring of 1821, Hayward accidentally fell into company with a young lady, to whom he represented himself as a young man of family and fortune; and the credulous girl believing him, he obtained permission to visit her, at the house of her mother, in Somers' Town. This lady, whose name was Stebbings, imprudently admitted Hayward to pay his addresses to her daughter; and while he affected the utmost attachment, he was only making his observation on her house and premises, that he might give information to a desperate gang of housebreakers, with whom he had now connected himself.
Having observed where the valuables and money were placed, Hayward and his companions met and concerted the plan of operation. In addition to the regular organized housebreakers, there was a young man, named Elkins, an artist, who had become acquainted with Hayward, and who at the time lodged with him.
On the night of the robbery they met at a public-house, in Somers' Town, and after twelve o'clock proceeded to the back of Mrs. Stebbings's house. Hayward then gave the housebreakers, five in number, the necessary directions; and he and Elkins remained in the brick-field behind, while die others went to work. The robbers succeeded but too well, and brought out their booty without having excited any alarm; but Hayward discovering that they had left a valuable article behind them, he re-entered the house with them, and brought it away. His avarice on this occasion was the cause of his apprehension; for, by the time they had returned, after the second visit, a watchman had, in his rounds, come near the place where they were, and, seeing bundles with them, resolved to bring them to an account. On his approach they fled, and Hayward threw away a parcel, in which several articles of plate were tied up; but the watchman being nearer to him than the others, he succeeded in apprehending him. On being taken to the watch-house, several articles of Mrs. Stebbings's property were found on his person. Next morning this lady identified the property, and went away without knowing who was the robber -- a circumstance which seemed to disappoint Hayward; as he expected, had she seen him, she would have declined to prosecute.
A female, named Mary, who lived with Hayward as mistress, having called at the lock-up-house, was traced back to her lodgings, where Elkins was found sitting at the fire, and he was immediately taken into custody. This young man soon turned king's evidence to save himself, but as he only knew Hayward, an offer of pardon was held out also to the latter, if he would deliver up his more guilty companions to justice; this he indignantly refused, and was accordingly fully committed; Mrs. Stebbings resolving to prosecute, though two hundred pounds had been offered, by a secret agent, if she would forbear.
A report of the transaction having appeared in the newspapers, the young lady who lived with the general, commiserating Hayward's unfortunate situation, applied for permission to see him; but being in the first instance refused, she contrived to let him know that she forgave him, and, during the remainder of his short life, supplied him with money to meet all his demands.
In prison he manifested the same minute regard to his appearance that he had done through life, and dressed every day with as touch exactness as if he was about to figure in Bond-street. Again he was advised to deliver up his guilty companions to justice, but he positively refused. In Newgate, he assumed all his former consequence; and, lest his origin should be known, he told Mr. Brown, the governor, that he had no relation living. His composure never for a moment forsook him; and, though he knew he had a very narrow chance of escape, he seemed but little affected.
Various endeavours were made to induce Mrs. Stebbings to forbear prosecuting, but all was unavailing; and the indictment having been found, Hayward was put upon his trial at the Old Bailey. His appearance in court excited the greatest surprise; his dress was rich and elegant, and he appeared more like a man about to enter the drawing-room than one going to be tried for his life. He affected all the ease and grace of a polished gentleman, and every thing about him bespoke inordinate vanity and self-love, which predominated over the terrors of approaching infamy and destruction. He seemed, during the trial, to have but one apprehension -- lest it should come out that he was of mean origin; and took an indirect way to establish a belief that he was the character he had assumed, by lamenting, on his defence, that he did not then see in court some of the officers who had known him in the Commissariat department. He had subpoenaed several characters of distinction; but knowing how little they could say in his behalf, he had not the assurance to call them.
The principal witness against him was Elkins. This young man was a sculptor, and possessed great intelligence. He gave a clear account of the burglary, and of course established Hayward's guilt, against whom a verdict was delivered. A coachman was tried along with him, on the charge of having aided the robbers in removing the goods, the housebreakers having got into his coach and drove off, leaving Elkins to shift for himself. This man was acquitted, as the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice is not sufficient to convict.
The verdict, when first pronounced, appeared to have affected Hayward very much; but he immediately recovered his self-possession, and on retiring from the bar made a graceful bow to the court.
On being brought up, at the end of the sessions, to receive sentence, his appearance and demeanour rendered him peculiarly distinguishable from his fellow-culprits; and by the attention he paid to the unhappy females who were among the number, he seemed to forget his own wretched situation.
After condemnation, this unfortunate young man laboured to keep up the delusion as to his respectability and high connexions, but he was stripped of his borrowed plumage; for his poor father, having seen the name of his son in the public papers, became alarmed, and repaired to Newgate to ascertain whether his fears 'forebode him right.' He sent in his name, but Hayward refused to see him, saying that he must be under a mistake, as his father was not living. The governor of Newgate, however, was struck with the anguish of the miserable parent; and desiring him and his wife to come on a certain day, he introduced them into the press-room, where Hayward was walking, without communicating his intention to either party. On catching each other's view, they, for a moment, stood transfixed with surprise and horror; then wild exclamations of emotion burst from each, as they rushed to embrace; while convulsive sobs expressed the anguish of their feelings. Hayward beat his forehead, exclaiming. 'Oh father, forgive your wicked and undutiful son. I have abandoned and disowned you, but you have not forgotten me in my afflictions;' and he repeatedly prayed to God to spare his life, to afford him the opportunity of showing his gratitude to his father, and atone for his past transgressions.
The interview lasted for a considerable time, and it was with difficulty they were separated; when the wretched father set about making every possible exertion to save the life of his unhappy son. Indeed Hayward, from the strong solicitations in his favour, indulged in the hope of a commutation of his sentence to transportation until the Saturday before his execution, when he learned the dreadful fact that he was included in the number that was doomed to suffer, every application in his behalf having failed.
From the moment of his awful fate being communicated to him he evinced a proper spirit of resignation, and attended the chapel on Sunday, to hear his condemned sermon, in a suit of full mourning; his hair was tastefully arranged, and his irons were kept up by a black leather belt and buckle. He received the sacrament with great devotion, after which he returned to his cell. The next day he was visited by about forty gentlemen, whose houses he had been in the habit of frequenting, and who could not believe, without ocular demonstration, that it was Sam Hayward who was about to suffer the ignominious sentence of the law. On Tuesday morning, November the 27th, 1821, he entered the press-yard in the most gentlemanly manner; and, though he looked pale and feverish, advanced to the block to have his irons knocked off with a firm step. During this operation he was supported by the sheriff and the ordinary, to the former of whom he returned thanks for the interest he expressed in his fate. On being asked how he felt, he replied, 'As a man ought to feel who had violated the laws of God and his country.' Hayward evinced a sincere spirit of contrition, and appeared grateful for the pious attention of the ordinary. In a few minutes the prison bell announced that he had but a few minutes to live, when, casting his eyes around, he asked, 'Is there not a poor female to suffer?' Being answered in the affirmative, he exclaimed, Oh! gracious God, have mercy upon her!' He then advanced towards the place of execution with a firm tread, and, while his miserable companions were tying up, he leaned his head upon his hand. From the dreadful agony of this moment he was aroused by the executioner, when, having bowed to all around, he mounted the scaffold with astonishing firmness: his youth and gentlemanly appearance excited universal commiseration from an immense crowd of spectators. His dreadful situation seemed to penetrate his soul, and, as if willing to escape from the anxious gaze of the multitude, he requested the executioner to pull the cap over his eyes. He prayed most fervently until the drop descended, when he was launched into eternity.
Joseph South, for uttering a forged ten pound note, and Anne Norris, for robbing a man at a house of ill-fame, suffered with Hayward.
Such was, and ever will be, the termination of an ill-spent life.
Hayward possessed talents that might, with laudable exertion, have placed him in a situation of honourable independence; but, as all the gifts of nature were perverted by him, he reaped the consequence -- a short and miserable life, which ended ignominiously, but without securing oblivion; for the infamy of his memory has survived his breath, and casts back its stigma upon his name and family. Let not unthinking youth be led from the even and peaceable paths of integrity and virtue by the alluring invitations of the vicious, who draw so pleasing a picture of gay and fashionable life; for be it remembered that, according to Mr. Colquhoun, twenty thousand individuals awake every morning in this vast metropolis, without knowing where they shall lay their heads at night, or where they are to procure the necessaries of the day. These are not the children of virtuous poverty, whose misfortunes arise from circumstances beyond their own control, but deluded and mistaken beings, most of whom probably are the victims of vanity and dissipation; and who, rejected by society, have no means of supporting an infamous and miserable existence, but by preying upon the honest and industrious part of the community.
We must here repeat, what we have frequently said before, that virtue and rectitude have the advantage of deceit and villainy, even as regards the happiness of this world; and, in support of this remark, we can refer to the case before us. The reader may estimate the abilities of Hayward, and can picture the miseries of his short career of vice; and then say what would have been the reverse had he followed an opposite line of conduct. We have no doubt but the conclusion will be in accordance with the old adage, which says, 'Honesty is the best policy.' In that vile pursuit, where the talents of Hayward failed to prosper, let no unthinking young man flatter himself that he shall succeed.