THOMAS ESTRICK was born in the Borough of Southwark, in the year 1676. His father was a currier, and instructed him in his own business; but the boy shewed a very early attachment to pleasures and gratifications above his age, and incompatible with his situation.
When the time of his apprenticeship was expired, he was of too unsettled a disposition to follow his business, and therefore engaged in the service of a gentleman of fortune at Hackney; but he had not been long in this new place before his master was robbed of plate, and other valuable effects, to the amount of above eighty pounds.
The fact was, that Estrick had stolen these effects; but such was the ascendency that he had obtained over his master, and such the baseness of his own disposition, that he had art enough to impute the crime to one of the servant maids, who was turned out of the house with every circumstance of unmerited disgrace.
Estrick, having quitted this service, took a shop in Cock-alley, near Cripplegate church, where he carried on the business to which he was bred; and while in this station he courted a girl of reputation, to whom he was soon afterwards married. It should be remarked, that he had been instigated to rob his master, at Hackney, by some young fellows of a profligate disposition; and he had not been married more than half a year when these dissolute companions threatened to give him up to justice, if he refused to bribe them to keep the secret.
Estrick, terrified at the thoughts of a prosecution, gave them his note of hand for the sum they demanded; but when the note became due he was unable to pay it; on which he was arrested, and lay some time in prison, but at length obtained his liberty in defect of the prosecution of the suit.
As soon as he was at large, he went to lodge with a person who kept his former house in Cock-Alley; but, on taking possession of his lodgings, he found that a woman who lodged and died in the room during his absence had left a box containing cash to the amount of about ninety pounds.
Having possessed himself of this sum, he opened a shop in Long-alley, Moorfields; but, his old associates having propagated a report to the prejudice of his character, he thought he should not be safe in that situation; and therefore took shipping for Holland, having previously disposed of his effects. On his arrival in Holland he found no opportunity of employing his little money to any advantage; and therefore spent the greater part of it, and then returned to his native country.
It was not long after his return before he found himself reduced to great distress; on which he had recourse to a variety of illegal methods to supply his necessities. He was guilty of privately stealing, was a housebreaker, a street-robber, and a highwayman. In a short time, however, the career of his wickedness was at an end. He was apprehended, tried, and convicted; and, in consequence thereof, was executed at Tyburn on the 10th of March, 1703, before he had attained the age of twenty-seven years.