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The Newgate Calendar - HENRY PERFECT


A most plausible Begging-Letter Swindler, transported to Botany Bay, in April, 1805

   HENRY PERFECT was the son of a clergyman in Leicestershire, and had been a lieutenant in the 69th Regiment of Foot. He was twice married, and had had considerably property with each wife. Being at length found out in his impositions, which he carried out by means of begging letters, he was indicted on the statute of George II. for obtaining money under false pretences from the Earl of Clarendon. His trial, which occupied the whole of the day, and excited universal attention, came on at the Middlesex Sessions, Hicks's Hall, 27th of October, 1804. Mr Gurney, in a very able and eloquent address, expatiated on the enormous guilt of the prisoner, who had personated the various and imaginary characters of the Rev. Mr Paul, the Rev. Daniel Bennet, Mrs Grant, Mrs Smith, etc., and who also had had the art of varying his handwriting on every occasion, having kept notes in what hand every original letter had been written, with what kind of wafer or wax it was scaled, etc. He likewise kept his book of accounts, as regular as any merchant in London. When his lodgings were searched a book was found, in his own handwriting, giving an account of money received (by which it appeared that he had plundered the public to the amount of four hundred and eighty-eight pounds within two years), with a list of the donors' names, among whom were the Duchess of Beaufort, Lord Willoughby de Broke, Lord Littleton, Lady Howard, Lady Mary Duncan, Bishops of London, Salisbury and Durham, Earls of Kingston and Radnor, Lord C. Spencer, Hon. Mrs Fox, etc.

   The jury found the prisoner guilty, and the Court sentenced him to seven years' transportation. He was sent to Botany Bay in April, 1805.

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