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Queen of Sheba; yet such was her address in shop-lifting, that she escaped, during the astonishing period already mentioned. “Some days ago,” says the Flying Post, of October 24, 1695, “a spark of the town hired a fine house in Portugalrow, in Lincoln's-inn-fields, which had a back retreat, behind the buildings, near the playhouse; and giving out that he was newly married to a lady of great fortune, and repairing to Mr. C-, a jeweller in the city, did so far create a belief of the reality of the affair in the said jeweller, as to engage him to bring to his house £.500 worth of his choicest commodity, next morning; where he was conducted into a stately diningroom. The spark came forth of his withdrawing apartment, and, viewing the jewels, desired leave to shew them to his wife, in her bed-chamber; but no sooner had the sweet purchase in his possession, but descends a bye pair of stairs, and made off, without being ever since heard off; leaving the jeweller, at leisure, to bewail both his credulity and misfortune.” This paragraph, and the Queen of Sheba, demonstrate, that dexterity in stealing, and contrivance in swindling, had arrived at a tolerable degree of perfection in the reign of William III. ; which

may

be

accompanied by another artifice, practised by two persons, named Peck and Holford, who are said (in the Post Boy) to have sent a circular letter, thus worded, to most of the principal goldsmiths in

London

trade;

which you

London —“Sir, Whereas you have sustained a great damage, by a person coming to your shop, I thought it convenient to give you notice; and if you please to meet me at the Three Tuns Tavern, on Snow-hill, I shall give you a further account - not only you, but some others of your so you will all meet together, for it is a thing of great consequence and damage to you, are not sensible of. Pray keep this note to yourself, and let nobody see it; for what is stole from you, is sold to some others of

your

trade.” It may be perceived, that these men were by no means adepts in their profession; and it appears some of the jewellers thought the same; for, viewing the letter as intended to extort money, a constable accompanied them to the interview, who apprehended Peck and Holford; and conveying those persons to the lord mayor that magistrate bound them over to answer the charges which might be preferred at the next sessions of

the peace.

The January following the last transaction was distinguished by an outrage highly disgraceful to the

person who committed it. “ Sir Harry Duttoncolt,” observes the Flying Post, for January 11, 1696, «

a justice of peace, was dangerously wounded on Saturday night, about 12 o'clock, by one Mr. Fielding - the occasion as follows. Madam Fielding's maid desired a warrant from the said justice against her mistress, for her wages;

with which Sir Henry did very civilly acquaint Madam Fielding, who promised to discharge it; but by the same not being performed, and Mr. Fielding returning from France, the maid renewed her application for a warrant; with which Sir Henry acquainted Mr. Fielding, who promised either to pay the maid, or give a recognizance to pay at the sessions, but failed in both ; so that, upon fresh application by the maid, Sir Henry granted her a warrant; but Mr. Fielding resisted the constable who came to execute the same, and, meeting Sir Henry afterwards, told him he had given a recognizance to another justice, and would bring a certiorari to remove it; whereupon Sir Henry went to the lord chief justice, and obtained a procedenda ; so that Mr. Fielding found himself obliged to pay it; and happening to be with Sir Henry, at the dutchess of Mazarine's, he followed him to the street; and, attacking him, Sir Henry's sword broke in the re-incounter; and Mr. Fielding, continuing to push, run Sir Henry through the shoulder ; but, the sword being intangled in his cloaths, Sir Henry catcht hold of it, and broke it off together with his own; and in the mean time Mr. Fielding escaped."

The house lately taken down (called the Bowling-green House), situated in the field North of the Foundling-hospital, was a place of great resort in 1696, and notorious as the haunt of

gamesters.

gamesters. In the month of March, in the above year, this house was suddenly surrounded by king's messengers, a party of soldiers, and several constables, who seized every person within it, and conveyed them to a justice of the

peace,

"who tendered them the oaths; some of which took them, and others refused, chusing rather to pay their forty shillings apiece, according to the statute made and provided in that case.”

Another swindler was apprehended in this year, who possessed the art of deceiving in a supereminent degree: her name was Jane Smithers, alias Cox. When under examination before justice Negus, she assumed the character of an innocent country girl with such success, and so gaffered and gammered the magistrate and his lady, that the former had almost consented to liberate her; but was prevented by the most positive evidence. One of her favourite schemes was the personation of a young lady from the country, of ample fortune; and, when she had attracted the notice of a credulous rich man, she contrived to invent some plausible story to procure a supply of money, to be repaid by her hand

and purse.

A transaction of rather more turpitude caused the succeeding whimsical and good-humoured advertisement, which is extracted from Salusbury's Flying Post, of October 27, 1696: “ Whereas six gentlemen (all of the same honourable pro

fession),

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fession), having been more than ordinary put to it for a little pocket-money, did, on the 14th instant, in the evening, near Kentish town, borrow of two persons (in a coach) a certain sum of money, without staying to give bond for the re-payment: And whereas fancy was taken to the hat, peruke, cravat, sword, and cane, of one of the creditors, which were all lent as freely as the money: these are, therefore, to desire the said six worthies, how fond soever they may be of the other loans, to un-fancy the cane again, and send it to Wells's coffee-house, in Scotlandyard; it' being too short for any such proper gentlemen as they are to walk with, and too small for any of their important uses; and withal, only valuable as having been the gift of a friend.”

Sir William Temple says (vol. I. p. 268), “I think I remember, within less than fifty years, the first noble families that married into the city for money; and thereby introduced, by degrees, this public grievance, which has since ruined so many estates, by the necessity, of giving great portions to daughters; impaired many families, by the weak or mean productions of marriages, made without any of that warmth and spirit that is given 'em by force of inclination and personal choice; and extinguished many great ones, by the aversion of the persons who should have continued 'em.” The custom of going to “ see the lions” at the

Tower,

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