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The Newgate Calendar - Supplement 3

The Newgate Calendar - TOM GARRET


Highwayman, who Proved less Clever than his Victim

            THOMAS GARRET was an only son of respectable parents, living at Ipswich, in Suffolk; and, being bred an ironmonger, began trade with a stock of one thousand pounds, and soon married a wife with a portion of eight hundred. In the space of two years, however, he, by gaming and dissipation, wasted all his means, and, in order to evade the importunities of his creditors, came up to London. Arrived in the capital, he was soon versant in all the ways of vice, and, to support his extravagance, he soon began to collect upon the highway.

            When his father was informed of his embarrassments, he came up to town, and again gave him a thousand pounds to commence business in an honest way. But even in this situation, he and a profligate mercer frequented the road, and took a purse occasionally.

            He and his companion were, one evening, at an inn in Hertfordshire, and a gentleman lodging there, gave the landlord his portmanteau to put up for safety. Acquainted with the character of Garret and his companions, the rascally innkeeper gave them the hint, and, introducing the gentleman to them, that so they might learn from himself the route he intended to take, they entertained him, and would not suffer him to pay anything. Next day they breakfasted with the gentleman, insisted upon paying the whole bill, and then proceeded on their journey. When they found a convenient place, they opened the gentleman's portmanteau, took out of it two hundred pounds, and rode off.

            Finding that he had paid too dear for his supper and breakfast, he alighted from his horse, took out his penknife, and slightly wounded his horse in the foot, so that he halted; he then filled the vacancy of his portmanteau with stones, returned to the inn, and, informing the landlord that an accident had happened to his horse, it was necessary to send immediately for a farrier. Meanwhile he again gave his portmanteau to the landlord to preserve, who, finding that it was not lessened in its weight, was much chagrined, because he was to have his share of the booty. As the farrier was dressing his horse, the gentleman requested the favour of the landlord to drink a bottle with him, and the whole of the conversation turned upon the generous travellers; and the gentleman remarked, that if he knew where to find them, he would bring them down, and spend ten guineas in treating them. From this conversation the landlord was confirmed in his suspicions that he had not been robbed; therefore, gave him their names and places of abode. He expressed his satisfaction on receiving this information, and said, that "he was resolved to see them as soon as he could." The farrier assured him, he might ride safely to London, without injuring his horse; accordingly he set forward and arrived in town that evening.

            At five next morning, he called at Garret's house, and when the servant answered, he told him, "He must speak with his master." The servant replied, "He was not stirring, and he believed he would not until ten or eleven of the clock, as being weary and fatigued in coming off a journey late last night." The gentleman replied, "It is upon such extraordinary business I want to see him, that I must and will speak with him just now." The servant then acquainted Garret, that "there was a gentleman below stairs, who says, he must and will speak with you presently." Conscious of guilt. Garret, with tremulous heart, put on his night-gown, and moved down stairs. Seeing that it was the gentleman he had robbed the day before, he took him into a back room, when the gentleman told him, "that he had borrowed a hundred pounds of him, which, if he would not then pay, he must expect to feel the utmost severity of justice. The money was instantly paid. He then went to the mercer's house, made the same uproar, and received the same sum.

            The anecdote was circulated, but the person concealed. Even this narrow escape wrought the reformation neither of the one nor the other. After rendering themselves notorious upon the highway, they turned to house-breaking, and Garret was apprehended, and suffered for his crimes.

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