The Newgate Calendar - ROBERT TOWERS,

Imprisoned for Endeavouring to Bribe a Turnkey of Newgate.


            THERE is something in the human breast which endures us to favour the efforts of mistaken generosity, and disposes us to regard with forgiveness those departures from rigid justice which take place in behalf of friendship. The following case is one of those where justice is opposed to feeling; and, though we do not find fault with the sentence, we cannot refuse our sympathy to the sufferer.

            Robert Towers was a warmhearted sailor who felt acutely, and whose actions emanated from his feelings. Allied by blood and friendship to the unfortunate George Skene, whose case we have already given, he forgot his crime in the contemplation of the punishment that awaited his offence; and, with a precipitancy that did more honour to his heart than his head, he meditated effecting the escape of his friend from Newgate, about a fortnight after his committal.

            For this purpose he invited a turnkey, named Samuel Davis, to drink with him. They went to the New Inn, where Towers inquired of Davis what family he had; and then hinted that it was in his power to procure for himself the means of making them all comfortable for life. Davis, thinking that the favour required of him related to Mr. Skene's accommodation, promised to do every thing in his power; but this not amounting to Towers's expectations, he gave him clearly to understand that he expected nothing less than Mr. Skene's escape, promising to release Davis from the necessity of continuing turnkey, and that his reward should be paid, not in banknotes, but in gold. The turnkey refusing to accede to these terms, nothing further passed until Mr. Towers's next visit to his friend, when Mr. Newman called him into a private room, and confronted him with Davis, who had told his employer what had passed.-- Towers did not deny the charge; but contented himself with stating that he offered Davis no specific sum.

            Mr. Towers was now taken into custody, and brought to trial at the Old Bailey, April the 6th, 1812, when, the charge being proved, he was found Guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of fifty pounds, and be imprisoned for twelve calendar months in the gaol of Newgate.


Previous Next