James Dalton, Notorious Criminal in London

 

Researched, complied & edited by Rodney G. Dalton from World Wide Web sources

 

Note that the Old English spelling has not been updated to present day English.

 

 

File:Old Newgate.jpg

Original Newgate Prison

 

2nd Newgate Prison

 

The history of the Newgate Prison probably dates back to the 12th century or perhaps earlier. After the old jail burned, a new prison was built in 1672. This prison was rebuilt in 1770-8, destroyed by riots, and rebuilt once more in 1780-3. It sits north of the Central Criminal Court on Old Bailey and near Saint Paul's Cathedral (see figure - domed building in back of the prison to the left).

 

After the latest rebuild, the prison became the place of execution in London. Persons were hanged outside Newgate Prison before enormous crowds, dangling from a scaffold erected in front of the Prison on Old Bailey Street near the corner of Newgate Street. These public hangings finally came to an end in 1868.

 

The prison was mentioned in the writings of Charles Dickens (1812-1870), notably in Barnaby Rudge, in Oliver Twist (Fagan waits for the end, sitting on the stone bed in the Condemned Hold), and in Great Expectations (Pip is shown inside the grim stone building to view the yard where the gallows are kept and the Debtors Door through which came those to be hanged).

 

The Newgate Prison is shown in 1859 as a black rectangle in the upper right section of K 19, just to the east of Old Bailey Street. The prison is presented more clearly in the 1873 map, although labeled as Newgate Gaol (British version of jail). Newgate Prison was eventually demolished in 1902.

 

James Dalton was "captain" of a street robbery gang in 18th century London. His father, also James Dalton, was Irish and fought as a sergeant in the British Army in Flanders. He was convicted of street robbery on 3 March 1720 and was sentenced to transportation. On being found in London in 1721, reputedly informed upon by the self-appointed Thief-taker General, Jonathan Wild, the elder Dalton was hanged.

 

His mother re-married a butcher, but both were convicted and sentenced to transportation. By then, the younger Dalton had already begun his criminal career. James Dalton got into the company of thieves as a youngster, picking pockets, breaking shops, and robbing people on the street, in the Smithfield and Old Bailey area.

 

It is reported that he went on two trips to Bristol, to practice his calling there; and he was convicted and transported (but persuaded the crew to mutiny near Cape Finisterre), was pressed into HMS Hampshire, and was a spectator of the siege of Gibraltar in 1727, and thence returned to London, although this account may be somewhat fanciful. He gave King's evidence in the trials of various of his underlings in May 1728, and received a Royal pardon for his part in the offenses. A "Genuine Narrative" of his exploits was published shortly afterwards.

 

He was arrested in December 1729 and convicted in January 1730 for assaulting Dr. Mead near Leather Lane in Holborn, for which he was fined and imprisoned for three years at Newgate Prison. While he was in prison, he was recognized by John Waller, who claimed that Dalton had robbed him at gunpoint in a field near Bloomsbury. Dalton was tried for highway robbery on 8 April 1730. The complainant was said to be an affidavit man, or "knight of the post," and made similar complaints against a number of other men; indeed, Waller was convicted of perjury, and he was beaten to death by Edward Dalton, James' brother, and accomplices on 13 June 1732 while he was in the pillory at Seven Dials. Dalton admitted having committed other offenses, but he denied this one; he also called witnesses to testify that he was not guilty. Nevertheless, he was convicted, and sentenced to death. He was hanged at Tyburn on 11 May 1730.

 

* John Waller had ‘a fruitful genius, which he applied to the wrong purposes’, and his fraudulent use of the law made him many enemies:

 

He used to worm himself into the acquaintance of people who had but small fortunes, or such as they acquired by their daily labour, and particularly those who had families to maintain. He would cause such as these to be arrested at his suit, and would not scruple to swear that they were indebted to him in sums sufficient to have them committed to jail, and then under a specious show of compassion would bring them to a composition. He thought he could take advantage of the poorer sort, many of whose families were reduced to beggary by his illegal proceedings.

 

As a solicitor, he also took money from clients to pursue cases which he had no chance of winning. Worst of all, he was a corrupt thief taker, who prosecuted men on trumped up charges in order to secure a reward. His technique was to identify men whose reputations were poor and who were already considered suspicious and to manufacture charges against them. His most famous prosecution was of the well-known street robber James Dalton, whose gang terrorized London during the late 1720s. In April 1730 he enquired at the Wood Street Compter to determine when Dalton had been released from prison in the preceding year. He then used this information to choose the date for an accusation that Dalton had robbed him in the fields near Tottenham Court. There were no other witnesses to the alleged crime, but to confirm his accusation Waller used inside knowledge to claim that the pistol used in the attack was the same one Dalton had brandished during his robbery of another man, Dr Mead, for which crime he had already been convicted.

 

Dalton admitted his many crimes, but always denied that he had robbed Waller. As reported in the proceedings, Dalton Denied the fact charged upon him by Waller, and exclaimed against him as a man of a vile character, that he was a common affidavit man, and was but lately, before the time charged in the indictment, come out of Newgate himself. That though he himself had done many ill things, and had deserved death many times, yet not for this fact, he being innocent of it; and said, Waller was as great a rogue as himself, and there was never a barrel the better herring. Despite his protestations of innocence, Dalton was convicted, sentenced to death and executed in May 1730.

 

Newgate Prison was a prison in London, at the corner of Newgate Street and Old Bailey just inside the City of London. It was originally located at the site of a gate in the Roman London Wall. The gate/prison was rebuilt in the 12th century, and demolished in 1777. The prison was extended and rebuilt many times, and remained in use for over 700 years, from 1188 to 1902.

 

The first prison at Newgate was built in 1188 on the orders of Henry II. It was significantly enlarged in 1236, and the executors of Lord Mayor Richard Whittington were granted a license to renovate the prison in 1422. The prison was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and was rebuilt in 1672, extending into new buildings on the south side of the street.

 

According to medieval statute, the prison was to be managed by two annually elected Sheriffs, who in turn would sublet the administration of the prison to private "gaolers," or "Keepers," for a price. These Keepers in turn were permitted to exact payment directly from the inmates, making the position one of the most profitable in London. Inevitably, the system offered incentives for the Keepers to exhibit cruelty to the prisoners, charging them for everything from entering the gaol to having their chains both put on and taken off. Among the most notorious Keepers in the Middle Ages were the fourteenth-century gaolers Edmund Lorimer, who was famous for charging inmates four times the legal limit for the removal of irons, and Hugh De Croydon, who was eventually convicted of blackmailing prisoners in his care.

 

Over the centuries, Newgate was used for a number of purposes including imprisoning people awaiting execution, although it was not always secure: burglar Jack Sheppard escaped from the prison three times before he went to the gallows at Tyburn in 1724. Prison chaplain Paul Lorrain achieved some fame in the early 18th century for his sometimes dubious publication of Confessions of the condemned.

 

The old prison was demolished and replaced by a new building designed by George Dance between 1770 and 1777. He also designed the adjacent court-house. The new prison was attacked by rioting mobs during the Gordon Riots in 1780: the prison was set on fire, many prisoners died during the blaze and approximately 300 escaped to temporary freedom.

 

The prison was rebuilt two years later (in 1782), to an architecture terrible design intended to discourage law-breaking. The building was laid out around a central courtyard, and was divided into two sections: a 'Common' area for poor prisoners and a 'State area' for those able to afford more comfortable accommodation. Each section was further sub-divided to accommodate felons and debtors.

 

In 1783, the site of London's gallows was moved from Tyburn to Newgate. Public executions outside the prison - by this time, London's main prison - continued to draw large crowds. It was also possible to visit the prison by obtaining a permit from the Lord Mayor of the City of London or a sheriff. The condemned were kept in narrow sombre cells separated from Newgate Street by a thick wall and receiving only a dim light from the inner courtyard. The gallows were constructed outside a window in Newgate Street.

 

During the early 19th century, the prison also attracted the attention of the social reformer Elizabeth Fry. She was particularly concerned at the conditions in which female prisoners (and their children) were held. After she presented evidence to the House of Commons, improvements were made. In 1858, the interior was rebuilt with individual cells.

 

From 1868, public executions were discontinued and executions were carried out on a gallows inside Newgate. Michael Barrett was the last man to be hanged in public outside Newgate Prison (and the last person to be executed in public in Great Britain) on 26 May 1868.

 

The prison closed in 1902, and was demolished in 1904. The Central Criminal Court (also known as the Old Bailey after the street on which it stands) now stands upon its site.

The original door from a prison cell used to house St. Oliver Plunkett in 1681 survives today and is on display at St. Peter's Church in Drogheda, Ireland. The original iron gate leading to the gallows was used for decades in an alleyway in Buffalo, New York and is currently housed in that city at Canisius College.

 

 

The Life of JAMES DALTON, a Thief; Author unknown.

 The character of this criminal is already so infamous, and his crimes so notorious that I may spare myself any introductory observation which I have made use of as to most of the rest with respect to his birth. He was so unfortunate as to have the gallows hereditary to his family, his father, who was by birth an Irishman, and in the late Wars in Flanders a sergeant, coming over here was indicted and hanged for a street robbery. After his death, Dalton's mother married a butcher, who, not long before Dalton's death, was transported, and she herself for a like crime shared in the same punishment.

 

This unhappy young man himself went between his father's legs in the cart when he made his fatal exit at Tyburn. It has, indeed, remained a doubt whether Dalton the father were a downright thief or not; his own friends say that he was only a cheat, and one of the most dexterous sharpers at cards in England. It seems he fell in with some people of his own profession, who thought he got their money too much easily, and therefore made bold to fix him with a downright robbery.

 

As for James Dalton the younger, from his infancy he was a thief and deserved the gallows almost as soon as he wore breeches. He began his pranks with robbing the maid where he went to school. By eleven years old he got himself into the company of Fulsom and Field, who were evidences against Jonathan Wild and Blueskin, and in their company committed villainies of every denomination, such as picking pockets, snatching hats and wigs, breaking open shops, filching bundles at dusk of the evening.

 

All the money they got by these practices was spent among the common women of the town, whose company they frequented. Then the Old Bailey and Smithfield Cloisters became the place of their resort, from whence they carried away goods to a considerable quantity, sold them at under-rates, and squandered away the money upon strumpets.

 

Towards Smithfield and the narrow lanes and allies about it, are the chief houses of entertainment for such people, where they are promiscuously admitted, men or women, and have places every way fitted for both concealing and entertainment. The man and woman of the house frequently take their commodities off their hand at low prices, and the women who frequent these sort of places help them off with what trifling sums of money they receive; for though they are utterly devoid of education, yet dinning and flattery are so perfectly practiced by them, that these bewitched young robbers make no scruple of venturing soul and body to acquire wherewith to purchase their favors, which are frequently attended with circumstances that would send them rotten to their graves, if the gallows did not intercept and take them before they are got half way. But it happened that Field was apprehended, and to save himself immediately made an information against his companions, named Dalton and Fulsom, whereupon they were obliged to be very cautious and durst venture out only in the night. It happened that in Broad Street, St. Giles's they met about twelve o'clock at night a captain in the Foot-Guards. Dalton commanded the gentleman to surrender, but persons of his cloth seldom parting with their money so peaceably, there happened a skirmish, in which Fulsom knocked him down, and afterwards they rifled him, taking some silver and a leaden shilling out of his pocket, together with a pocket book, which had some bank notes in it, and therefore was burnt by them for fear it should betray them. But in this fact, Dalton, who had not even honesty enough for a thief, cheated his companion of seven guineas and a watch.

 

The woman to whom they sold their stolen goods was one Hannah Britton, who, upon Lambert's being committed to New Prison, was named in his information, taken up and committed to Newgate. At the sessions after she was convicted for that offense, and thereupon whipped from Holborn Bars to St. Giles's Pound; which proceeding so affrighted Dalton that he resolved for a time to retire out of London for awhile.

 

Dalton then returned to London where joining himself with the remainder of the old gang, shortly after his arrival they broke open a toy-shop near Holborn Bars, and carried off eight hundred pounds worth of goods, with a pretty large sum in ready money. Of the goods they did not make above two hundred and fifty pounds, and for the ready money, which was about twenty pounds, they shared it amongst them.

 

Dalton about that time frequenting a house near Golden Lane, found doxies there to help him off with it, and reduced him to the necessity of making another large stride in the way to Tyburn. Not long after, therefore, he committed a robbery in the road to Islington, for which being taken up he brought three who impersonated a doctor, apothecary and surgeon at his trial, who swore that the time the robbery was said to have been committed he was sick and even at the point of death, upon which he was acquitted.

 

But as this was a narrow escape, so his liberty was of no long continuance, for his companion Fulsom, being apprehended for a felony, to save himself, made an information against his comrades, and amongst the rest named Dalton, and gave so exact an account of his haunts that he was quickly after apprehended, and at the ensuing sessions convicted and ordered for transportation.

 

At sea a great storm arising, they were glad to call up such of the criminals as they thought might be of use towards managing the ship, amongst whom was James Dalton, who no sooner was upon deck but he was contriving to make the crew mutiny and seize the ship. In a very little time he brought enough of them to be of his mind in order to execute their intent, and accordingly got the fire-arms and made themselves masters of the ship, and obliged the men to navigate her to a little port near Cape Finisterre, in Spain, where they robbed the ship of about a hundred pounds, and then went on shore and travelled by land to Vigo. They were scarce got thither before the ship arrived, and the captain charged them with the piracy they had committed; but from the levity of the Spanish Government, they quickly got released, without giving the captain any satisfaction. The Governor, when they were discharged from their confinement, gave them a pass in which, after reciting their names, he styled them all English thieves, which putting them in no small fright, they resolved to prevent its doing them a mischief, committed it to the flames, and then ran the hazard of traveling the country without one. This, accordingly, they did, until they met with a Dutch ship, the master of which readily gave them a passage to Amsterdam, from whence Dalton and two or three more, found means to get over again to England, and came up to London.

 

On their arrival here they fell to robbing with such fury that the streets were hardly safe when the sun was set; but Dalton apprehending that this trade would not lost long, resolved to make a country expedition, in order to get out of the way. Thereupon down he went again to his old city of refuge, Bristol. There he did not continue long before he was apprehended for breaking open a linen-draper's shop but the burglary not being clearly proved, the jury found him guilty of the felony only, whereupon he was once more transported to Virginia.

 

He did not continue long in that plantation before growing weary of labor, he thought fit to threaten his master, so that the man was glad to discharge him, and thought himself happy of getting rid of such a servant. Upon which Dalton soon found out one Whalebone, a fellow of a like disposition with himself; and they went about stealing boats and negroes, running away with them and selling them in other colonies. At last Dalton met with a ship which carried him for England. By the way he was pressed on board the Hampshire, man-of-war, in which he was a spectator of the last siege of Gibraltar.

 

On his return he received his wages and lived on it for a little time. Then he with Benjamin Branch and William Field, took to snatching of pockets. At last they took Christopher Rawlins into their society and in a few months' time they three snatched five hundred pockets. Amongst the rest Dalton cut off one from a woman's side at St. Andrew's, Holborn, for which Branch being in company was taken and executed, although Dalton and Rawlins did all they could to have made up the affair with the prosecutor but in vain. This trade therefore being at an end, he and his companion Rawlins fell next to robbing coaches in the streets, and being once more apprehended, he found himself under a necessity of making an information against his companions, six or seven of whom were executed upon his evidence. He also received ten guineas to swear against Nichols the peruke-maker, but after he received the money, his conscience checked him, and though he did not return it, yet he absolutely refused to give any evidence against him. But Neeves, who had been taken into the same plot, went through with it, and as has been said before, hanged him for a fact which he never committed.

 

A multitude of wives Dalton married during his life, and many of them were alive at the time of his decease, four of them coming at once to see him in Newgate when under his last misfortune, and appearing at that time to be very friendly together. He had not been long out of Newgate before be fell to his old practices, and a few sessions after was apprehended, and tried for stopping the coach of an eminent physician with an intent to rob it. For this he was sentenced to a fine and imprisonment, which upon insulting the court was ordered to be in one of the condemned cells in Newgate. But he did not remain long there, being the very next sessions brought to his trial on an indictment for robbing John Waller in a certain field or open place near the highway, putting him in fear of his life, and taking from him twenty-five handkerchiefs, value four pounds, five ducats value forty-eight shillings, two guineas, a three guilder piece, a French pistol, and five shillings in silver, on the 22nd of November, 1729. The prosecutor deposed, that being a Holland trader, the prisoner met with him as he was drinking at the Adam and Eve at Pancras, in his return from Hampstead, where he had sold some goods, and received a little money; that Dalton perceiving it grow dark, desired to walk to town with him, and that they had a link with them, which Dalton put out in the fields, and then knocked him down, beat him and abused him, and then robbed him of the things mentioned in the indictment; and that he threatened to blow his brains out if he made any noise or called for help. He swore also to a pistol which had been produced against Dalton on a former trial.

 

 

In his defense the prisoner insisted peremptorily upon his innocence, charged the prosecutor with being a common affidavit man, and a fellow of as bad if not worse character than himself. However, in order to falsify some circumstances which he had deposed against him, Dalton called three witnesses, Charles North, Edward Brumfield, and John Mitchell, who were all prisoners in Newgate, but were permitted by the Court to come down. Some of them contradicted the prosecutor as to a gingham waistcoat which he had swore Dalton wore in Newgate. They swore also to the prosecutor's visiting Dalton there, and owing that he never damaged him a farthing in his life. But the jury on the whole found him guilty, and he received sentence of death.

 

As he had little reason to hope for pardon, so he never deluded himself with false expectations about it, but applied himself, as diligently as he was able, to repent of those manifold sins and offenses which he had committed. He confessed very frankly the manifold crimes and horrid enormities in which he had involved himself. He seemed to be very sensible of that dreadful state into which his own wickedness had plunged him. He behaved himself gravely when at public prayers at the chapel, and applied himself with great diligence to praying and singing of Psalms when in his cell; but as to the particular crime of which he was convicted, that he absolutely denied from first to last, with the strongest asseverations that not one word of all the prosecutor's evidence was true, and indeed there has since appeared great likelihood that he spoke nothing but the truth.

 

Dalton, he continued to behave uniformly and penitently all the time he lay under conviction, and as the friends and relations of Nichols applied themselves to him about clearing the innocence of their deceased friend, he said that Neeves himself actually committed the fact, which he swore upon the person they mentioned, and that he was entirely innocent of whatever was laid to his charge.

 

When the bellman came to repeat the verses, which he always does the night before the malefactors are to die, Dalton illuminated his cell with six candles. In his passage to the place of execution he appeared very cheerful. When he arrived there, having once more denied in the most solemn manner the fact for which he was to suffer, he yielded up his breath at Tyburn, the 13th of May, 1730, being then somewhat above thirty years of age.

 

 

James Dalton serving sentence at Old Bailey, London: Highway robbery, 1st May 1728.

 The Proceedings of the Old Bailey

 

William Russell , William Holden and Robert Crouch , of St Giles's in the Fields , were indicted for assaulting Martha Hyde on the Highway, putting her in Fear, and taking from her a Broadcloth Coat, value forty Shillings, a Looking-Glass, value 30 and a Gown, Apron, and other Goods, value 30 s. on the 8th of December last.

 

James Dalton depos'd, That he in Company with the three Prisoners, on the 8th of March last, overtaking the Prosecutor about 9 at Night in Fleetstreet, they agreed to snatch the Bundle from her, but not having an Opportunity in Fleet-street, they followed her from thence to Lincoln's-Inn-Fields , where Crouch knock'd her down, and Russell ran away with the Bundle. When they opened the Bundle, he said, they Found in it several Aprons, a Womans Mourning Gown, and 3 Black Hoods, and that when they took the Bundle there was a Looking-Glass in it, but it not being bound up well, it fell out and broke to Pieces: He said that they sold the Bundle altogether, to one Susan Watts , a Buyer of stolen Goods, for 24 s. (which in their Language is call'd a Lock) and to their great mortification they heard afterwards, that there was forty Shillings in money wrapt up in Rag, which was contained in the Bundle.

 

Mary Hide depos'd, That she was knock'd down in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields at the Time aforsaid, and that a bundle was taken from her, in which was the Goods and Money mentioned in the Indictmemt.

 

Bartholomew Nichols depos'd, That he saw Russell and Crouch at a Brandy Shop soon after this happen'd, when a Quarrel arising between them, Russell said to Crouch, If you meddle with Nichols, I'll cut the Coat off your Back, for it is the Woman's Coat which I knock'd down in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, and I have as much Right to it as you. He further depos'd, That to his certain Knowledge, Crouch pawn'd an old Coat to pay for the Alteration of this Coat, and that the Coat had a picked Cape of Cloth, which he had taken off, and a Velvet Cape set on instead thereof.

 

Mr. Willis depos'd, That when he took Russell, he confess'd his taking these Goods, and that they were sold for about 22 s. And Dalton further said, That when Russell was taken, he said he did not value it, for as much as he should die among such Brave Fellows. The Fact being plainly proved, the Jury found them all three Guilty . Death .

 

Christopher Rawlins, Isaac Ashley, John Rowden, Violent Theft highway robbery, Violent Theft robbery, 1st May 1728.

 

Christopher Rawlins , alias Thomas Rawlins , Isaac Ashley , alias Ashby , and John Rowden , alias Hulks were indicted for assaulting Mr. Francis Williams on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Silver Watch, value 3 l. 2 Guineas and a Moidore in Money, on the 24th of Feb. last.

 

Mr. Williams depos'd, That on Saturday the 24th of Feb. last, in the Night-time, coming home in a Hackney Coach, between Watling-street and St. Paul's School in St. Paul's Church-Yard , he heard the Coachman commanded to stop, and immediately a Man came up to the Side of the Coach, and putting a Pistol into it, demanded his Money, and then four others came and presented Pistols at him, and one of them saying they had no Time to lose, put his Hand into his Fob and took out his Watch and Money.

 

Mr. Jones produced the Watch in Court and depos'd, That he had it of James Dalton , which Watch, Mr. Williams depos'd, was the same that was taken from him as aforesaid.

 

James Dalton depos'd, (after he had received the Admonitions of the Court to keep up to Truth, and notwithstanding the Indulgence he had met with, as being admitted an Evidence, to be careful how he swore in a Matter of such Consequence) That he, in Company with the Prisoners at the Bar, and another Person not yet taken, attacked the Coach, that he himself went first up to it, and that Rowden took the Watch from Mr. Williams, and he took the Money, a Guinea of which he and Rawlins kept secret from the others, and the Watch they pawned for two Guineas, of which he inform'd Mr. Jones when he was taken into Custody, who setch'd it out of pawn by his Directions.

 

Mr. Thomas Willis depos'd, That being in search of Disorderly Houses, they found Dalton, against whom he having Information, he seized him, who made an Ingenious Confession, and said, if he could be admitted as an Evidence, he could be of great Service to the Public, and naming the Prisoners at the Bar, he said, That he with them robb'd Mr. Williams, and shew'd them a Pistol, to which Rawlins, he said, had the Fellow, and directing him to a House in Chick-Lane, he, with his Brother Robert Willis , who confirm'd his Evidence, went and seized Rawlins and Rowden, Sword in Hand, Ashley made no Resistance, but got under the Bed; with them they found a Pistol the exact Fellow to that which Dalton gave them, and drawing it, they found a Slug therein, which exactly corresponded with the Slug taken out of Dalton's Pistol; for great Williams they had but very little Excuse, only pretended not to have any Knowledge of Dalton: But he produced one Wyatt, who depos'd, That they were very well acquainted, and frequently met and lodged at his House. The Fact being plainly proved upon them, the Jury found them all guilty. Death.

 

They were a second Time indicted for assaulting Mr. Downs near Snow-Hill , on the 20th of Feb. last, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Purse, in which was Ten Guineas and 14 Shillings in Silver, (which they took out of his Pocket) and a Bunch of Keys.

 

The Prosecutor depos'd, That near Snow-Hill, on the 20th of Feb. about 12 o'clock at Night, he fearing he might fall amongst Thieves, drew his Sword, when he was immediately attacked by several Men, who took his Money from him, but taking it they let it fall into the Mud; that the first who came up to him had a drawn Sword and a Pistol in his Hand, and that they swore if he spoke a Word they would shoot him; and that he having a Link-Boy with him they put out the Link, and one of them stood on his Right Side, and another at his Left, with Pistols, whilst a Third picked out his Money; and though a Watchman came by in the Interim they never fled, nor dare he call out whilst they stood in that Posture: After this they drove him down Fleet-Ditch, and went off.

 

James Dalton depos'd, That he and the Prisoner at the Bar attack the Prosecutor at the Time and Place aforesaid, and that he having a Sword, went up to the Prosecutor, and told him he would fight a Duel with him, but if he could not match him at Sword he could at Pistol, and drawing a Pistol, he obliged the Prosecutor to drop the Point of his Sword, otherwise he threatened to shoot him: Rawlins and himself, he said, held the Pistols at his Head, and Rowdens took the Money out of his Pocket, but filling down, they found only eight or nine Shilling and a Bunch of Keys, which he said, they flung into Fleet-Ditch; the Prosecutor remembering the Circumstances as Dalton related them, confirmed his Evidence; upon which the Jury found them Guilty . Death .

 

Old Bailey Proceedings supplementary material, James Dalton, Thomas Neaves, 17th July 1728.

 

James Dalton , and Thomas Neaves , pleaded to His Majesty's most gracious Pardon, and were discharged.

 

James Dalton, Violent Theft, highway robbery, 16th January 1730.

 

Verdict: Guilty

 

James Dalton, of St. Andrews Holbourn , was indicted for a Misdemeanour in assaulting Dr . Mead on the High-way, with an Intent to rob him of his Money and Goods, December 1.

 

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Dr. Mead depos'd, That driving through Holbourn on Monday in the Evening between 9 and 10 o'clock, near Leather-Lane , a Person much like the Prisoner came up to his Chariot side, in great haste, and demanded his Watch and Money, that his Footman jumped down from behind, and the Person run away, my Footman run after him, and took him .

 

Edmund Howard thus depos'd, The Prisoner came to the Coachman, bid him stop, or he would shoot him; then comes to the Chariot side, presented a Pistol to me, and said, if I stir'd, I was a dead Man , demanded my Watch and Money; I jumpt down, and called stop Thief, a Shopkeeper run after him, and he flash'd a Pistol at him, which grazed on his Face; the Prisoner was never out of my sight, while taken; the Pistol he dropt in the Street, when pursued , and was making towards Leather-Lane when taken, we carried him to the Black Bull-Inn , and found shot and powder upon him .

 

Joseph Watkins thus depos'd, The Dr. sent for me, and gave me Charge of the Prisoner; when I came to him, I searched him, and found a Penknife, and some large shot upon him; the Prisoner said, the Court could not hang him for this, but he wished he had done Murther, for he had rather be hanged .

 

John Brearcliff thus depos'd, I was shutting up my Master's Shop, and heard them cry, stop Thief, I stopt the Prisoner, and he said he would shoot me, flashed his Pistol in the Pan, which grazed on my Face .

 

John Stevens depos'd, That going up Holbourn, near Leather-Lane, he heard a Person call, Hold - Coachman, stop a little, thought some Body had wanted his Master; and he stopt, then a little Man, much like the Prisoner, came up, and presented a Pistol, and swore, if he did not stop, he would shoot him through the Body .

 

The Fact appearing plain, the Jury found him Guilty of the Indictment .

 

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors, who were executed at Tyburn, on Tuesday the 12th, of this Instant May, 1730.

 

James Dalton, of Pancras, was indicted for assaulting John Waller, in a certain Field, or open Place, near the Highway, putting him in fear of his Life, and taking from him 25 Handkerchiefs, value 4 l. five Ducats, value 48 s. a three Guilder Piece, two Guineas a French Pistole, and 5 s. in Silver, the 22d of November last.

 

The Prosecutor depos'd, that he being a Holland-Trader , the Prisoner met with him, as he was drinking at the Adam and Eve in Pancras, in his Return from Hampstead, where he had sold some Goods and receiv'd a little Money, that he desir'd to walk in his Company to Town; that it being Dark, he put out the Link, knock'd him down, wounded and beat him unmercifully, and then robb'd him of the Goods and Money mention'd in the Indictment, and threatn'd to blow out his Brains, if he made any Noise. He swore also to the same Pistol, with which Dalton had attack'd Dr. Mead in his Chariot, near Hatton Garden, as was found by the Description he gave of it when produc'd in Court. The Prisoner denied the Fact charg'd upon him, exclaiming against the Prosecutor as a common Affidavit Man, and of a Life and Character no better then himself, and then call'd for three Witnesses, Charles North, Edward Bromfield, and John Mitchel, whom the Court order'd to come out of Newgate. The last was not allow'd to depose, but the two first swore, that Dalton never wore a Gingham Waistcoat while he was in Newgate, contrary to what the Prosecutor affirm'd, and that he said to Dalton, when he came to visit him in Newgate, that he never wrong'd him of a Farthing in his Life. The Prosecutor having positively sworn the Fact upon him, and his Evidences being Persons of no Character or Reputation, the Jury found him Guilty. Death.

 

James Dalton, as he said, about 30 Years of Age, of Parents, who had a very indifferent Character, for his Father was an Irishman, and a Taylor in Dublin, whence he went to the Wars in Flanders, and was advanced to be a Serjeant; he afterwards came to London, liv'd here for some Time, by gaming and biting, till some Years ago one swore a Robbery upon him, for which he was executed. His Mother, after the Death of his Father, marry'd a Butcher, and was some Time since transported for some felonious Fact, and she now lives in some of these foreign Places, where she may have Leisure to lament the Fate of herself and her deserving Family; for they say that a Sister of his is likewise transported. Dalton being the Son of such a notable Family, one may easily conjecture what Sort of a Tree grows from such a Stock. However, while his Parents liv'd in any Credit, they put their Son James to School, where he was so unruly, that his Master put him out of School; he went to two other Schools, in the last of which he rob'd the Maid, but was immediately found out, which prevented his doing any further Mischief there: Dalton was a Thief from his Cradle, and imbib'd the Principles of Art from his Mothers Milk. He went between his Father's Legs in the Cart, to his fatal Exit at Tyburn; and it seems he intended to outvie him in Wickedness, for he said his Father was not a down-right Thief, but one of the most notorious Cheats at Cards of any Man in Europe, which Talent if he had improved as some others have done, and had not met with some Sharpers, who did not think upon being choused out of their Money at such an easy Rate, possibly he might have been still living: But James who was both Heir of his Fortune and good Qualities, took himself directly to all Manner of Theft and Robbery, and as he himself said was one of the most impudent irreclaimable Thieves that ever was in England.

 

 

He took ten Guineas from a certain Person in Town to swear falsely against one Nichols, who was executed with the Street Robbers upon Neaves's Evidence, but said that his Conscience check'd him for engaging to do such an unjust Action, and he would neither return the Money nor appear as Evidence against him; he begg'd God Pardon for undertaking so villainous a Design.

 

Misc. Photos

 

 

 

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Newgate Execution Bell

 

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The chapel of Newgate Prison during the 19th century. 

 

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The exercise yard in Newgate Prison during the 19th century

 

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The crowd gathers in the 1850s to see a public execution at the hanging post in the center background.
The view is north along Old Bailey with Newgate Prison to the right

 

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An execution before the debtor's door at Newgate Prison, London, c1809