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The Newgate Calendar - WILLIAM GUEST


Executed at Tyburn, 14th of October, 1767, for High Treason, in diminishing the Current Coin of the Realm

THIS man's crime was aggravated by a breach of public trust. He was the son of a clergyman of unblemished character, of the city of Worcester, who placed him apprentice to a genteel business.

He then came to London and took a shop in Holborn, where he carried on business for some years, with the usual success of trade. His father's good name assisted him in procuring a clerkship in the Bank of England, and there the constant handling of gold shook his integrity. He took a house in Broad Street Buildings, in a room in the upper part of which he used to work. Having procured a curious machine for milling guineas, not unlike a machine made use of by mathematical-instrument makers, he used to take guineas from his drawer at the bank, file them, and then return them to the bank and take out guineas of full weight in their stead. Of their filings he made ingots, which he sold to an assayer, who, on his trial, deposed that the filings were of the same standard as our guineas.

The cashier of the bank, having his suspicions aroused, sent Mr Sewallis and Mr Humberton, servants of the bank, with proper officers to search Mr Guest's house in Broad Street Buildings. In a room up two pair of stairs there stood a mahogany nest of drawers, in which, on being broken open, were found a vice, files, and an instrument proper for milling the edges of guineas.

Mr Throughton, a jeweller, deposed he had sold two bars of gold for the prisoner, one of which weighed forty-six and the other forty-eight ounces.

The circumstances above mentioned were deemed to adduce such evidence of guilt that the jury did not hesitate to convict Mr Guest; the consequence of which was, that sentence of death was passed on him.

After conviction this malefactor made the most serious preparations for the awful change that awaited him. Consistent with the plan respecting persons convicted of high treason, he was conveyed to the place of execution on a sledge. His dress consisted of a suit of mourning and a club-wig. At Tyburn, the place of execution, he appeared to exhibit every mark of penitence and resignation. He prayed devoutly, and when he was turned off, and his body had hung the accustomed time, it was delivered to his friends to be buried.


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