The Newgate Calendar - RICHARD BOWERS

RICHARD BOWERS
Transported for "Duffing."

            This offender was one of the most notorious of the class of thieves of which he was a member.

            The particulars of his trial do not reach us in any very perfect form; but the following is the report of his examination before the magistrates at Marylebone police-office, upon the charge, upon which conviction finally ensued, as it appeared in one of the newspapers of the time. The circumstances detailed well describe the artifices to which a person following the practices of "Dick Bowers," as he was familiarly called, had recourse. Dick was perfectly notorious throughout London; and we believe that there was scarcely a police-office in the metropolis at which he had not been in custody. It may be remarked that he had but one leg, the deficiency being supplied with what he usually denominated a "timber toe."

            "Dick Bowers, who has been several times in custody for duffing, was charged with having robbed Mr. Philips, of Bryanstone-street. The complainant said, that on the 6th July, (1827,) he was accosted, in Duke-street, by a person who said he had a quantity of kid gloves, shawls, &c., which he could afford to sell cheap. He accompanied the person to a public-house in Robert-street, Oxford-street, and on entering the room he was introduced to another person, and they produced from a bag a pair of gloves as a sample; and it was agreed upon that he should have two dozen pairs for a sovereign, the price demanded being ten pence a pair. One of the men wrapped up the pair of gloves, and produced a small silk shawl and a piece of cloth, and delivered them into his hands, saying, that he was only an agent, and, therefore, could not let him have the two dozen pairs at that time, but he might take the piece of cloth as a security; and on furnishing him with his address, he (Mr. Philips) might rely on receiving the gloves in a few days. He, accordingly, gave the man a sovereign and took up the parcel. Both the men then left the room, and the prisoner entered, who pushed rudely against him and seized the parcel out of his hands. He told the prisoner that the parcel was his property, having just paid a sovereign for it; but the prisoner insisted on retaining it unless he consented to give him more money. He of course refused to pay anything more, and attempted to take it away by force, but not succeeding, he quitted the house."

            It subsequently turned out that Bowers was a member of the gang of "duffers," by whom Mr. Philips had been accosted, and that his violent effort to procure the return of the property to himself was only a part of the scheme intended to be put in operation.

            At the ensuing Old Bailey sessions. Bowers was convicted of the offence imputed to him, and on Tuesday, 17th July 1827, he received sentence of transportation for fourteen years.

 

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