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Newgate Calendar - JOHN M'CLOUD


Executed for the Murder Of Mr. Stoddard, October 24th, 1768

            Though the crime for which this unfortunate youth justly suffered was of the deepest dye, yet his execution excited much commiseration. He was not twenty years of age when he met his untimely and ignominious death, and was apprentice to a glazier; but he gave way to that fatal habit to all apprentices of attending public houses when his master's business was done for the day; when evil example soon caused him to throw off almost all restraint, and he was frequently seen intoxicated when he should have been at work.

            This kind of life, everyone knows, is supported at no little cost; and the lost youth is soon driven to some dishonest practice, in order, for a short time, to keep up the enticing, but fatal, career he has begun. Their first plunder is too often upon their masters, because it is done with less danger, and frequently without mistrust. M'Cloud chose the highway for this purpose; and, accompanied by another stripling, who escaped justice, on the 15th of October, 1758, sallied out, armed with knives and bludgeons, on the road leading to Islington. The first unhappy passenger whom they met was Mr. Stoddard, keeper of Clerkenwell Bridewell, returning to the prison from Islington—a man of resolution, and the keeper of robbers. He resisted their attack, and would have secured them both, had they not drawn their knives, and stabbed him many times, when he fell, and the villains ran off, after rifling his pockets. The unfortunate man died of his wounds on the 18th.

            M'Cloud alone was apprehended, and, untaught in villainy, confessed his crime; that it was his first attempt to do a dishonest act; and that the murder was involuntary, for that neither his companion nor himself had any such intent. He further said, that he could not say which of them gave the death-wound; but that, finding himself pressed, he drew his knife in his own defence. When brought to the bar of the Old Bailey, it was remarked that so open and honest a countenance, had not often been arraigned there; and his behaviour coincided with his appearance; but what can all this avail in purging so foul a deed?

            He was condemned to be hanged, and his body to be delivered to the surgeons for dissection. At the fatal tree he bitterly lamented his folly, and earnestly exhorted all his fellow-apprentices against neglecting their master's employ, which he said would, sooner or later, bring them to an untimely end. He was executed at Tyburn on October the 24th, 1768.


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