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Newgate Calendar - THOMAS USHER


Executed for Robbery, 4th May, 1764

            This treacherous thief was clerk to the owner of the Bristol waggon. A captain of a ship having delivered to him, and entered on his books, a parcel to be forwarded to London, containing one thousand eight hundred pounds, the unworthy servant determined appropriating it to his own use. Before he set off, willing to plunder to the utmost, he took two hundred pounds belonging to Mr. William James, his master, and even robbed his fellow-servants of their watches.

            Upon the discovery of the flight and robbery, Mr. James pursued him to London, where he had reason to suppose the thief would take refuge. He traced him to the Oxford Arms, in Oxford Road, to which he came in a post-chaise and four, but he soon after set off in a hackney-coach. Mr. James now despaired of tracing him any farther; but, being persuaded to lay the case before Sir John Fielding, the myrmidons of that active magistrate soon found the coachman who had taken up Usher and his booty. It appeared that he had paid an extra fare to be driven by the Islington road to the Black Bull, at Whitechapel, with a view to evade pursuit. From thence he was followed to Sabridgeworth, in Hertfordshire, and there apprehended. Most of the money lodged by the Bristol captain, which was in Portugal gold, was found upon him. A letter was also discovered, directed to his wife, appointing her to meet him at an inn on Epping Forest, and to invite her brother and sister to come along with her, having joyful news to tell them; no less, continued the letter, than a thousand pounds gained in the lottery, and which he had about him. The wife was, however, deprived of the pleasure of the journey, by the officers apprehending her, on whom they found above one hundred pounds, and one of the watches stolen by her husband, which left little doubt of her having been privy to the robbery.

            Usher was brought back to Bristol, and indicted for the offence at the next Court. Upon the trial, the circumstances already related being proved, and the evidence of his master full and positive, he was found guilty, and sentenced for death. During his execution, which took place at Bristol, May the 4th, 1764, while the attention of the populace was wholly employed upon the malefactor, a single highwayman, well mounted, committed a robbery, in the sight of thousands, and, for a time, escaped!


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