The Newgate Calendar - Supplement 3
THESE men were companions in guilt, and they are therefore united in this narrative. Their first adventure upon the highway was with a poor old man, who had nothing but a pair of spectacles. Dickson took these from him, upon which he earnestly entreated him to return them, because, being above threescore, he could not see without them. Dickson swore that he would not, but Gibson interfered, saying, "Prithee, Dickson, give the old fellow his spectacles; for, if we follow this trade, we may assure ourselves we shall never reach his years to make use of them." One morning, as these brethren were waiting to see what would come to pass, they found the carcass of a dead horse by the wayside, and removed it into the centre of the road.
A countryman came riding at full gallop before it was light, and, stumbling over the horse, was not only thrown from his own horse, but cast into a ditch. The robbers drew him out of the ditch, robbed him of three pounds, bound him hand and foot, while his horse, through fear, had run home with all speed. Some passengers soon relieved the countryman, who, seeing the dead horse upon the road, exclaimed, "Such rogues as these were never heard of before, for they have stolen the very skin of the horse that I rode on." But going home and seeing his horse in the stable, he said to his wife and servants, "How came Dobbin alive again? I'm sure it can't be him—it must be the devil in his shape; for my horse was killed and flayed not above three or four hours ago, by a parcel of rogues, who robbed me of all the money I had about me." Nor could he ever be persuaded that it was his own horse.
These desperate fellows continued their depredations with varied success, until they were apprehended for assaulting and robbing Mr. Thomas Blake, Mr. Samuel Slap, and Mr. John Edwards (who was dangerously wounded by Weymouth) taking from them several goods and money, upon the Queen’s highway in Stepney parish, on the 8th of February 1714. They were tried, and suffered the punishment awarded to their crimes.