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The Newgate Calendar - JAMES GIBSON


A Gentleman, executed at Tyburn, 23rd of March, 1768, for Forgery on the Bank of England

THIS gentleman had received a liberal education, and was bound clerk to Mr Francis, an attorney of eminence, residing in Lincoln's Inn. His good behaviour and the rapid improvement he made in the profession of the law induced his master, on the expiration of his articles, to take him into partnership. In the early part of life he had married a young lady, with whom he received a genteel fortune, and by whom he had five children. Notwithstanding these tender pledges of his love, he deserted his wife and family for the embraces of a mistress who had been kept by a Scottish nobleman, leaving them to suffer the extremes of want while he was enjoying the luxuries of life.

Mr Francis's business was of an extensive nature, and was principally transacted by Gibson, who gave proof of the most consummate abilities in his profession. Among other engagements, Mr Francis was employed in a cause respecting an estate in Chancery, on which an injunction was issued; and a person was appointed to receive the rents of the estate till the Lord Chancellor should make his final decree. In the interim, Gibson, having reduced himself by a profuse mode of living, forged the handwriting of the Accountant-General of the Court of Chancery in a suit which he was soliciting for Robert Lee, Esq., and others, executors to the late Sir G. Brown, Bart., Robert Pringle and others, in consequence of which he received above nine hundred pounds.

Discovery of this transaction being made in a short time, Gibson was taken into custody, and lodged in Newgate, in September, 1766. When brought to trial for the forgery at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey the jury brought in a special verdict, subject to the determination of the twelve judges. From this time Gibson continued in Newgate till January, 1768 (upwards of fifteen months), and it was the prevailing opinion that no further notice would be taken of the affair. However, Gibson, by repeated applications, urged that this case might be determined by the judges; and at length, in Hilary Term, 1768, the learned Bench made a final decision on his case, importing that it came within the meaning of the law. Consequently he received sentence of death, and was removed into the cells of Newgate. After sentence his behaviour was in every way becoming to his melancholy situation, and he reflected with much sorrow on his unkindness to his wife and family. He was carried to execution in a mourning-coach, and requested that his fellow-sufferer, Benjamin Payne, a footpad, whom he saw placed in a cart, might accompany him, which the sheriff refused.


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