Prisoners' Letters to the Bank of England, 1781-1827. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 2007.
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PRISONERS' LETTERS TO THE BANK OF ENGLAND
Letters, nos 1-100
1. [F25/1/1] J. Marshall, Clerkenwell prison, 1 March 1796
Sir, When I was desired to withdraw yesterday I thought it only temporary or I should have convinced you & the Directors that I meant (to use your own words) "to be candid" – & have given you the Information you have justly sent for and have only to lament that you should have been so precipitate as to plunge myself and my poor wife who I can most solemnly assure you is perfectly innocent into Disgrace & Wretchedness such as I never could have suppose existed in this Country had I not experienced the Cruelty of it last Night by being obliged to stand all Night in a cold damp Stone apartment & denied even Straw to lie on – I hope & trust that she has met with different Treatment. Had Voltaire ever visited this place He would have written
'Un est le Sommeil, l'autre l'Espérance
Deux Etres benefiques meme aux Sein d'Indigence'
For the poor can get no Sleep here in the Winter I am sure. I beg therefore that you will allow me to have my Razor to shave & a Change of Linnen brought me – and you will add to the obligation if you will send a Permission for Mr Willey attorney in Basinghall Street to visit me as I have some Business to transact relative to my private affairs which I shall be materially injured by the Delay if I do not see him immediately.
The Information here inclosed I got by Chance and have for several weeks been trying to get the Plates but hitherto without Effect for tho' the Parties at one time offered to sell them I am persuaded they are not using them themselves
I am with great Respect Sir your most Obednt Hle Sert, J. Marshall Addressed to William Addington Esq.
2. [F25/1/2–9] J. Marshall, Clerkenwell prison, 1 March 1796
The late Laurence Jones who died in Newgate was I believe the first contriver of the present Forgerys of 10. 20. 50. & 100L Bank Notes in conjunction with Idswell who was executed for forging stamps – Idswell married Jones's widow when he died and Jonas, a Jew, now in Newgate (brother in law to Idswell) became possessed of the Plates, Moulds etc Jonas being soon after committed for the Rescue of Idswell's Brother – agreed with Mrs Idswell to sell the whole lot, but when an offer was at last made for the Purchase She prevaricated & there is no doubt has found it more advantageous to use them and I firmly believe that the present Forged Notes are from her Plates. The Mother or Mother-in-Law of Jonas who lives near Nightingale Lane Tower Hill is privy to the Transaction & I should imagine its probable that some of the Materials or Notes are concealed at her House.
Mrs Idswell visits Jonas & if She was stopped in Newgate in all Probability something that would lead to Discovery would come out. J. Marshall Annotated by Bank solicitors, 5 Mar. 1796, that there was insufficient ground for holding Mr and Mrs Marshall; he had given useful information. Attached: letter and covering note from Marshall to acquaintance, Matthias Koops, debtor in Fleet prison, explaining his arrest on suspicion of uttering forged notes, asking Koops to confirm his innocence; letter from Koops to Bank attempting to blacken Marshall's name; notes from Bank solicitors to Bow Street magistrate requesting Marshall's discharge; acknowledgements from Bow Street magistrates' court.
3. [F25/1/10] P[eter] Catapodi, Clerkenwell prison, 20 November 1797, held on suspicion of forging promissory note, gives Bank information about engraver whom he suspects of forging Bank notes.
4. [F25/1/11–14] Three bills for prisoners' upkeep from George Smith, keeper of Tothill Fields bridewell, with covering letter, 23 August 1781.
5. [F25/1/15] Samuel Mayner, Tothill Fields bridewell, 23 August 1781 Honor'd Sirs, I am sorry to be so troublesome but Mr Smith [prison keeper] will not advance me one Shilling more till his Bill be paid, he give me 5.5.0 from your Notes you was Pleased to send, and stopp'd the rest for my Lodgings, as I have nothing to subsist on, either me or my wife, wich obliges me to trouble you a second time, but Mr Smith says that he knows one of the Directors, and purposes speaking to him, and waiting upon the Governor therefore took the Liberty of writing to know, if it would be agreeable to you weather Mr Smith should, nor not, Sir Please to send an answer will much Oblidge Your Huble Servant, Sam1 Mayner
6. [F25/1/16] A. Mayner, wife of Samuel Mayner , 29 August 1781
Sir, Sensible of your Worthy Disposition by your former proceedings towards my husband makes me hope you will excuse my taking the liberty of writing to you again as it is with great reluctance I trouble you. I have Deferred it till I have not a Shilling left to help myself with except I sell the bed from under me wich I flatter myself you nor the Gentlemen dont wish. Mr Smith dont not chuse to pay him any more therfore what your Generosity pleases to allow him I hope you will appoint some place where I shall most thankfully go to receive it. I will wait on you tomorrow Eveing when I hope your Goodness will Condescend to give me an answer from your most obedint Hlc Servt A. Mayner
7. [F25/1/17–19] Bills for prisoners' keep in Tothill Fields bridewell from keeper, George Smith, and letter from his widow, undated in 1785, requesting outstanding payments from Bank.
8. [F25/1/20] Sarah Walker, debtor in annuities' lawsuit, King's Bench prison, letter, undated in 1785 about her case.
9. [F25/1/21] Note of expenses at Poultry Compter, undated, unsigned, in 1784, in respect of lodging, coach hire, providing turnkeys.
10. [F25/1/22] Bill from keeper, Alexander Fenwick, undated, probably 1780s, for expenses at debtors' prison (unspecified) in respect of William Roydhouse, debtor to Bank.
11. [F25/1/22–33] Papers, 1787 re: Sophia Pringle, charged with forgery of power of attorney for Bank stock, concerning her expenses in Newgate and Bank's disbursements to witnesses, etc.; complaint from Joseph Kaye, Bank solicitor, about rudeness of a turnkey towards him.
12. [F25/1/40–42] Misfiled copies of 1812 custody order, charge sheets and depositions for Maria Franklin, remanded in Coldbath Fields prison, shortly released uncharged.
13. [F25/1/43] Savile Robinson, New Prison, Clerkenwell, 17 March 1783, held for unspecified offences wishes Bank solicitor to call on him as he has information to give.
14. [F25/1/44] Humphry Potter, prisoner in New Gaol, Borough, detained on burglary charges unrelated to Bank, undated.
15. [F25/1/45–89] Folder containing typescript copies of 42 letters, correspondence between Bank and Parson Edgcumbe, inmate of Wood Street compter, 1783–4, unrelated to Bank note forgery.
16. [F25/1/90–1] Misfiled papers about raising money to build Bridewell prison, 1844.
17. [F25/1/92] Mary Charlton, prisoner in Horsemonger Lane gaol (unspecified charge) about Bank stock in her name; misfiled from 1844.
18. [F25/1/93–7] David Old, pin-maker, Poultry compter, imprisoned for debt of £95, together with petition and discharge note, 1794.
19. [F25/1/98] Order for discharge of John Walker, debtor in King's Bench prison, 1796.
20. [F25/1/99] Warrant for arrest of J. Angers, debtor, detained at 30 Wych Street (spunging house) 1800.
21. [F25/1/100–1] Arrest warrants for Mr Thomson in custody of Mr Hindon, 24 November 1798, then of Mr John Janson, 2 January 1799.
22. [F25/1/102–4] Thomas Coe, butcher, Kennington, formal petition on behalf of his son, James, undated in 1799
That your petitioner is the Father of James Coe now in confinement on the prosecution of your Honorable Board on suspicion of uttering a counterfeit Note.
That your petitioner's Son for some time previous to this transaction lived Shopman with a Mr Turner of Fore Street London Linendraper. That Mr Turner having taken the note in question in the fair course of Trade and having paid it away the same was afterwards returned to him as being counterfeit. That your petitioner's son took this Note by mistake from the place where Mr Turner had laid it, and paid it away with other Notes, without knowing at the time that it was the Note that had been returned to Mr Turner and for which offence he is now in Prison.
That your petitioner can with the greatest truth and confidence state that his son is wholly unacquainted with any of the parties who have wickedly counterfeited the Note and that he has innocently become the object of prosecution by passing the Note in the manner stated, without the least intention of committing any fraud.
That previous to this unfortunate affair, the Son of your petitioner has preserved an unblemished character for Honesty and Sobriety, as appears by the certificate at the foot of this petition signed by the said Mr Turner and other respectable persons, some of whom have known him from infancy.
Your petitioner therefore most Humbly prays that your Honorable Board will be pleased to order your solicitors to stop all further proceedings against your petitioner's son and that proper directions may bee given for his immediate discharge.
And your petitioner as in duty Bound will ever pray
Attached: page of 19 signatures in support; letter from James Coe to Mr Windsor to whom he says he unwittingly paid the note.
23. [F25/1/105–6] Two letters from Captain W. C. Davis, debtor to Bank, King's Bench prison, asking for early trial, 1800.
24. [F25/1/107] Letter from Moses Harby, prisoner in Wood Street compter, 1799, asking to see Mr Acton, Bank solicitor; offence unspecified.
25. [F25/1/108] Rev. B. Forde, Ordinary of Newgate prison, 1799, offering information on forgers.
26. [F25/1/109] H. Row, New compter, 7 June 1799
Sir I having been detaind here a long time without having received any assistance except the half Guinea I recd I believe from you I am under the Necessity to apply to you for some little reliefe as I am at present in great distress I was led to hope their would have been some small allowance to witness detained by there suite but having received nothing hope your goodness will take my case into consideration as I am informed I am to be removed soon
I remain your Humble sert H. Row
Annotated: June 1799 Bank Commissioners from Mrs Row, Give her a G[uine]a
27. [F25/1/110–12] Receipts for payment of doctor's fees for attendance at inquest on prisoner, Benjamin Clinton, who died in Poultry compter in 1801.
28. [F25/1/113] Ann Macarthy, Newgate, 2 July 1804
Hon Gentlemen, Impressed with sentiments of the greatest respect I should be wanting in gratitude, I should be divested of every principale of duty I owe for the many favours I have received, Favours which I (from having acted wrong) had no reason to expect; – It is these sentiments, flowing from a heart not un-mindful, not callous, or lost to a sense of the sacred Obligations it owes to kind and generous Benefactors has stimulated me to obtrude these lines to your humane Consideration, hoping they will be received with favour in your sight.
Gentlemen, there is I am informed a Ship taken up to transport the Female Prisoners in Newgate to some one of his Majesty's Settlements, and as I have long been burthensome on your hands, it is from these motives that has induced me to acquaint you that I should be happy to be sent abroad, to avoid those reflections which the unthinking and ill-natured might cast on me: – Could I gain permission, from the Hon the Governor and the Hon. Court, it would be the means of my spending the remainder of my years in peace and happiness. – Should you be inclined to grant this my humble Prayer, (as my Life has not been led in scenes of profligacy, vice and immorality) and be graciously pleased to allow me a trifle (should I be sent away) to procure tea and sugar and a few common necessaries, it will be most thankfully acknowledged and applied to the best purposes, as your bounty ought to demand and expect.
Endeavouring to follow then as I ought the rule of good Living, reflecting daily on the liberality you have shewn, with grateful esteem do I subscribe myself Your much obliged and Respectful Humble Servant Ann Macarthy
29. [F25/1/114] Ann Macarthy, Newgate, 30 July 1804
Hon Gentlemen With the greatest humility do I take the Liberty to address this Letter hoping I shall from the humanity and kindness extended to me have the redress I most humbly crave, my situation Gentlemen, you who are possessed of the noblest feelings of humanity can picture to your minds the anxiety which persons experience in a prison, especially when they keep themselves select from the Lower Orders of Society, and owing to this reason I have been most cruelly calumniated it being daily asserted that I was the cause of the death of the unfortunate men who suffered the sentence of the Law last Thursday, and this assertion cruel as it is, is accompanied by threats from the Traducers of my Character, that when I go on board of Ship, I shall be treated with the greatest severity and likewise abroad, I hope Gentlemen you will believe me when I assert that I had not the least knowledge of the two persons: therefore though I am immured in Prison for my act of indiscretion from the Kindness you have shown me I most humbly hope that the Gentleman who kindly comes to me will have the goodness to speak for me to Mr Kirby which will prevent their ill usage in future and confer a great favour, added to the very many obligations conferred on Your much obliged servant, Ann Macarthy
30. [F25/1/115–18] Ann Macarthy, Newgate, July 1805
Hon Gentlemen Thankful indeed might I be for your unbounded Generosity to me, without your benificient aid I and my dear infant would have suffered the greatest distress
Since my confinement I have endeavoured to behave myself with becoming propriety sorry for any misconduct
As I am now going to be sent away at two o'clock this afternoon I humbly implore a small Relief as in your Goodness may seem meet Ann Macarty I hope I shall ever keep in mind your goodness
I Sirs have signed this supplication to certify that the Bearer George Bridgemen is sent from the unfortunate Ann Mcarty [illegible signature] Turnkey Newgate
Attached: copy letter from Bank solicitors to Moses Greetham jr, their agent, Portsmouth, 13 July 1805, enclosing letter to captain Boyce of transport ship William Pitt, Spithead, asking to know when delivered; annotated to show acknowledgement received 19 July 1805; letter to Boyce requesting he lay out £15 for items to contribute to comfort of Ann Macarthy and her child, giving her remainder on arrival, since she has conducted herself with great propriety since her conviction. Afford her all the protection you can.
31. [F25/1/119] Ann Macarthy, William Pitt transport ship, Portsmouth, 13 July 1805
Honrid Gentlem [illegible word] parden me taking the liberty of writing to you I have pact up my things in Newgate an directed them as I thought to go with me But I have lost them I Begd of Mr Shuter to send me them if he could find them, all my Child's Cloas is in the Bundle I left Behind like Wise all my own things. If you will have the goodness to see Mr Shuter baut them an send me some small Relieaf to the Capt, I shall for ever be in Dutey Bound to Pray for your goodness your most obedent humble servant Ann Macatey
Annotated: Mr Suter Gaoler.
32. [F25/1/120] Sarah Whiley, Newgate, 19 October 1804
Gentlemen, If the contrition of an unfortunate woman can have weight in my favour to induce you to have compassion on a misguided and deluded Female, mine is truly sincere.
I have never pleaded in anyway in extenuation of my offence, though it is well known I have fallen a prey to delusive and false persons, being unacquainted with the dangerous tendency to Society or fatal Consequences of the crime I now justly suffer for.
I am now, through distress, reduced to the painful alternative of imploring your Benevolence for a small Relief – I am well aware of your goodness towards the Unfortunate – I have no Friend to help me through my misconduct. Alas! But a few years ago I lived in honest and good repute, now lost to the world – through ignorance, – am I plunged in the lowest ebb of misery – pray have pity on me, and your Goodness shall not be mis-applied – My Prayers and my nine innocent Children shall join with me in Gratitude for your Benevolence extended to Your humble Applicant, Sarah Whiley
33. [F25/1/121] Sarah Whiley, Newgate, 29 October 1804
Honoured Gentlemen, With Grateful Respect do I return you my sincere Thanks for your Generous Relief to me, and I hope you never will have occasion to think me unworthy of your kind Benefaction; through the inhumanity of my husband have I involved myself in distress but my Contrition for my imprudence my sorrow for the Crime I committed has been such that I trust you will still kindly think on The Unfortunate Person who implores your Pity, who humbly subscribes herself Your Great Obliged Servant, Sarah Whiley
34. [F25/1/122–4] Sarah Whiley, William Pitt transport ship, Falmouth, 5 August 1805
Oh most Honrable Gentlemen Your humanity and goodness I humbley hope will Please to Pardon the Leberty taking by me to Return you my sencear thanks for the Benevolent kindness you have shewn me sence my Confinment for without your Generous aid and Support I should have been reduced to the greatest misery and want and it behaves me ever to be mindful of the gracious bounty I have received, and Gentlemen as I am so well Convinced of your fellings for the Destressed eaven of those who have been guiltey of so base a Crime the heniousness of which indeed I was not aware But I Bag Leaff to informe you kind Gentlemen that we are going to Saill from hear in a Day or tow and as its not in my power to Procure me a Little Tea and Shuger for the voige has emebolden me to aske the favour for a small trifle for that Purposs for thare is no more Aloude tell we go to Sea and then onley half Ounce per Wick and quarter Pound of Shuger for Eatch Person
So Pray Gentlemen with your wanted goodness take Compassion on the Unhappy Mother who has left nine children forever to Lament her Case Oh how great is my Trouble none is like to Mine Leave so many infant Children never more to see them But I hope God will protect them from all Bad Company from for that as Ben my Ruen
O most Hond Gentlemen I hope your Goodness will Please to Excuse this Liberty taking By me and Sirs I am in Duty Bound for ever to Pray for your kindness while Life Remains Sarah Whiley
Attached: copy note from Bank solicitors, 8 Aug. 1805, to agent, James Tippet, in Falmouth, enclosing £5 for small necessaries to be given to captain of William Pitt for Whiley, to be used to contribute to her comfort; annotated: £5 30th July 1805 No. 5563 put into the post on date; note to Bank solicitors from Tippet stating he missed boat by 8–10 hours and was returning money.
35. [F25/1/125] Ann Foss, Newgate, 22 October 1804
Hon Gentlemen I hope it will not be thought impertinent in me, in imploring your Benevolence or inquire those to whom you are kind; I have incurred your displeasure, have merited the punishment I receive, and am convinced that what I suffer is justly inflicted on me, but after the sentence I have received, the little I had is expended, and in hoping you will excuse the Liberty, I may also, if it is but a small Relief, have reason to thank with heartfelt Gratitude my Generous Prosecutors and endeavour as I have hitherto done, while in this Country, and also, should I be sent abroad, to prove myself deserving (by a sincere atonement) of his Majesty's Gracious Mercy and your Charitable aid. I would plead in extenuation of this intrusion on your Charity that in the unfortunate Pl where I am confined your generous Goodness soon transpires, and having now no husband, who can help me, through his misconduct. I am inclined to hope that if it is but the smallest sum I may be a partaker of your Goodness.
Should this humble request which I pray to God may not hurt those in the same Prison who consider themselves under the greatest Obligation I humbly subscribe myself Your distressed Humble Servant, Ann Foss – Though shame indicted by the name of Ann Haynes
36. [F25/1/126] Ann Foss, Newgate, 30 October 1804
Gentlemen Pardon the Liberty I take, I sent a Letter to you acquainting you of my distress, imagining you might not have received my Humble Application, I once more presume, though I hope without Offence, to intreat your Benevolence, I know I have been Guilty, the Laws of my Country have proved it to my disgrace, but Gentlemen, am I more guilty than my Companion [Sarah Whiley] implicated in this offence for which we are both in Prison. I therefore most humbly intreat and with the greatest submission, hoping you will consider an unfortunate woman, subscribe myself Your Distressed Humble Servant, Ann Foss
37. [F25/1/127] Ann Foss, Newgate, 14 February 1805
Hon Gentlemen Pardon the Liberty I take which distress alone impels me in thus humbly imploring in your known Goodness a small relief, the last time I humbly addressed you you were led to believe I did not stand in need of your Generous assistance, but keen Necessity has once more stimulated me to humbly request a small relief as in your Goodness may seem meet. I have not any friend in the world, or I would not have supplicated this great favour. In pity then, Gentlemen, good and kind as you are be graciously pleased to grant me a trifle, sorry am I that I should have incurred your great displeasure and daily do I in secret deplore my past misconduct. I have no Friend to render me assistance or I would not dare to trespass on your Liberality. I have been guilty of a Great Fault but I am truly sensible & convinced of my error and would wish that it were in my power to call back the days of happiness I enjoyed before I was guilty of a crime which has brought on me such great disgrace. Pray have compassion on me and in your willingness to do good even to those who have offended I most fervently intreat you to take into your human consideration the distress of Your humble Petitioner, Ann Foss
38. [F25/1/128] Ann Foss, Newgate, 11 May 1805
Mr Bliss [Bank investigator], Sir I hope you will Pardon ther Liberty of Riting to you. But Real Nessety oblige me to rite to you Hoping Your goodnes will Pardon me for ther Lebty I take I have ben heare one year and all my clothes is gone Sir I Hunderstand som Body hes bin so good to Tell Messrs Winter and Keas I have got a great deal of monee to send I had it I wold not take yor monee in name Sir if I did But no my wants you wold pity me I rote to them and thea sade I did not want anea I have not anea body to give me a Singel things Sir if by yor intersehon thea will give me triful to By me some tea and sugar for I hunderstand We are a geoing a Broard in a short time. Mrs Whiley has got a husband and dauters to help her I ham by my slef no frend in ther world o Sir if you will put in a werde for me god will Bless you and your Sir your Humbel Srnt, Ann Foss
39. [F25/1/129] Ann Foss, Newgate, 9 July 1805
Gentlemen In Expectation of being sent abroad in a few days I humbly implore you to have pity on me, it is well known in the Prison that I am reduced almost to poverty not having sufficient to pay for a Bed to sleep on.
Pray then Sirs have compassion on me the smallest trifle will be acceptable and will be received with gratitude by an unfortunate, an unhappy Woman, with the greatest respect, in the deepest sorrow, subscribes herself Hon. Sirs, Your Most Respectful Humble and Obedient Servant
40. [F25/1/130] Elizabeth Ware, sick ward, Newgate, 20 August 1803
Gentlemen It is with the greatest humility I venture to obtrude my supplication praying that your Compassion may be extended towards me for the sake of my Destitute and very Distressed Infants, trusting that their unhappy case will aid their captive mother by meeting those Benevolent feelings, which have often been the means of restoring the penitent offender to a grateful family.
My Sorrows, Gentlemen, under my Dilemma are great and I really deplore the Fatal Error I have fallen into; fatal indeed to me, having deprived me of every comfort of domestic Life, and left me with three helpless children (the eldest being not above Five years) and an Increase in Expectancy – entirely friendless and fatherless, having never heard, nor received the least Assistance, from my Husband since my Confinement, and who will be truly Orphans unless, Gentlemen, your Condescension and Humanity should alleviate my Condition – by interceding for some Mitigation of my dreadful Sentence – to be transported for the long and dreary space of Fourteen Years.
Be assured, Gentlemen, that I shall ever most gratefully feel and acknowledge your great goodness, and look upon you as the instrument of the Mercy of Almighty God in raising me from the Lowest Depths of Sorrow and Misery to Joy, Comfort and Happiness, and ever most ardently pray that you may receive the due reward of Compassion to the Penitent and distressed.
I most humbly beg leave to subscribe myself Gentlemen Your dutiful and devoted Servant, Elizabeth Weare Her mark
Please turn over
PS I beg pardon, Gentlemen, for further intruding to mention that the threatening Expression, said to have been uttered by me towards my Husband must (with great Reverence and Humility I signify it) have arose through a misunderstanding as it was ever my Advice for him to speak the Truth when questioned on the greatest of all consideration Vize that of his Family.
41. [F25/1/131] Elizabeth Ware, Newgate, 20 September 1803
Gentlemen I very humbly beg Pardon for the Liberty I take in again obtruding on your Notice; but the Distress of myself & Children & the Remorse and Anxiety I daily experience on account of my sad Situation, will, I trust, be considered as some Apology for so doing.
I only beg, Gentlemen, in this to be permitted to draw to your Recollection an Intimation that some pecuniary aid would (on sending) be charitably bestowed on me & while I should acknowledge any, the smallest Donation with the deepest Impressions of Gratitude, my feelings would likewise teach me ever to pray that the divine Protection may attend on those who might be instrumental under Providence to soften my Affliction, by interposing for some Mitigation of my unhappy Doom before a Draught of Female Convicts should be sent from hence, which I am led to believe will shortly take place. I most humbly rest, Gentlemen, with the greatest deference, Your devoted servant, Elizabeth Wear her mark
42. [F25/1/132] Elizabeth Ware, Newgate, 28 September 1803
Sir, Having received your Charitable Donation, I catch the first Opportunity – very humbly- to express my sincere Regret of having been under the Necessity to make such an obtrusion and from the Receipt of your Bounty am convinced that Justice only was the Motive for prosecuting me – and being also convinced of the Necessity that absolutely exists for the Punishment of offences against Society, I humbly submit to my Country's Laws trusting under Providence to the Exertions of Humanity for an Amelioration of the dreadful sentence they have pronounced against me. In the meantime, Sir, permit me to say, that the comfort myself & Children have derived from your Bounty will ever impress on my mind sentiments of real gratitude by enforcing a Duty of always praying for the Happiness & Prosperity of my Donors Elizabeth Wear her mark
43. [F25/1/133] Mary Ann Jenkinson, Newgate, 10 May 1805
Hon. Gentlemen, Extreme distress impels me to trespass on your humanity. I would not dare to obtrude on your known liberality were I not bereft of Aparels, I hope my misconduct will be a warning to others not to commit offences, which entail on them the sad appendages of misery and want, for myself I can assure you that I knew not the danger to which I have been exposed, acting like a foolish Woman, ignorant of the crime, I have become a victim to justice, yet now made sensible of my error I feel the sad effect of my duplicity and with Contrition would endeavour to atone for the Fault I have been Guilty. As I have lost almost all my Cloaths, if you would be so humane as to grant me a trifle, as in your Goodness may seem meet it will be received with Gratitude by her who ought always to acknowledge your humanity, and who subscribes herself Your obliged, distressed Servant, Mary Ann Jenkinson
I have several duplicates of cloaths in pledge, but have not money to take them out, or I would not obtrude on your Charity.
I should be happy to see Mr Bliss [Bank investigator] as I have something to Communicate to that Gentleman if he would be so kind as to Call
44. [F25/1/134] Mary Ann Jenkinson, Newgate, 20 May 1805
Hon. Gentlemen, In the unfortunate situation in which I lamentably am placed, it would certainly behove me to inform you of any Circumstances that would tend to my advantage, and from the mercy I have received from his Most gracious Majesty it would be a duty incumbent on me to acquaint you of any Person concerned in the nefarious Practice, I through ignorance am the unoffending sufferer.
I would inform you, that having seen Mr Bliss, whose Civility to me I am now thankful, has requested information of me respecting the persons who circulate bad Notes, but I can assure you I never was concerned with any person, nor knew not that Mr Holt was a vender of bad Notes.
In the business I carried on as a Japanner, Ann Adams who has changed her name to Portucie claimed an acquaintance, this woman was intimate with a man of the name of Whiley, whose conduct is well known, and as I have reason to believe that bad Notes are yet vended, though I do not practice such nefarious practices I will make it my study to apprize you of any such proceedings.
Trusting that you will (from the humanity you shew to Others known to be Offenders) grant me a small Relief to her, who with the greatest humility subscribes herself Your Distressed Humble Servant, Mary Ann Jenkinson
45. [F25/1/135–9] Mary Ann Jenkinson, Newgate, 17 June 1805
Hon. Sirs, I trust the Apprehension of Elizabeth Brown will not only tend to my advantage but be the means of developing the nefarious practice of issuing Forged Notes, and proving to you Gentlemen my ignorance of the Transactions in which I have been innocently involved. I should indeed be happy to see some of the Gentlemen of the Bank, whereby I might endeavour to exonerate myself as to what knowledge I have had of the woman, who perhaps has been the cause of my misfortunes- If I could be honoured with an interview it would confer a favour on Your Distressed Servant, Mary Jenkinson
Attached: two copy letters – 21 June 1805, in which Bank solicitors request sec./state (Lord Hawkesbury) for immediate transportation of Ann
Macarthy, Ann Foss, Sarah Whiley, Mary Ann Jenkinson and Elizabeth Weare, and 28 June 1805, in which they request from owner of transport ship, William Pitt, letter of introduction to captain so they may get some money to Mary Ann Jenkinson; letter from Bank's agent, James Tippet, Falmouth, 23 Aug. 1805, saying his clerk had missed William Pitt, returning money, and asking Bank solicitors to recommend his son for legal partnership; copy reply from Bank solicitors, 26 Aug. 1805, acknowledging return of money, which we are sorry for the sake of the Unfortunate object to learn reached you too late, and stating they would be happy to help Tippett's son, but know of no lawyer needing a partner at the time.
46. [F25/1/140] Mary Prince, Newgate, 6 May 1807
Hon. Gentlemen Your humanity I hope will excuse my trespassing on your known Commisseration, having had a Petition presented to the Right Hon. Lord Hawkesbury, in hope of a mitigation of my Sentence, humbly intreating your kind Recommendation. The length of Time I have been in Prison hath reduced me to great want, therefore I beg of you, having an infirm Husband, and Four Children with an aged Mother in her 89th year, to whom did your Petitioner tend to render Comfortable, considering Good Sirs that I was drawn into Error, be pleased to alleviate my keene Distress, which will ever be Gratefully acknowledged by Hon Gentlemen, Your distressed Servant Mary Prince
47. [F25/1/141–3] James Clarkson, Newgate, 25 May 1807
Gentlemen In my deplorable Situation I once more presume to intrude trusting my Application under all Circumstances may meet your Approbation.
I find it is shortly expected such Persons as are under sentence of Transportation will be removed when among that unfortunate Number my Name may be composed, with that view I now again Solicit Your Aid.
A Petition is afloat endeavouring to obtain a Conditional Pardon to Transport myself from this Country rather than be sent to any of the Hulks. The Respect for my Dear Wife & Children may in some Measure operate for the Prayer to be granted but a little Time is required.
I have therefore Gentlemen most earnestly to Solicit Your Kindness to send orders for my being detained in the Place until a decision is known, which from your hands I am Creditably informed is sufficient.
I humbly hope Gentlemen you are Sensible I am fully contrite & been erroneously led into this calamitous Affair and am persuaded you will in this Instance save me and my family.
Under the most assured heartfelt Obligation I remain, with utmost Respect Gentlemen your obedient, James Clarkson.
Attached: letter to Bank from J. Beckett, home office, 29 May 1807, transmitting Clarkson's petition for consideration by governor and directors; copy of Bank's reply, 30 May 1807 stating that since they allowed Clarkson to plead to lesser offence when they could have indicted him capitally, sufficient lenience already shown; their duty to public did not warrant further interference.
48. [F25/1/144] Simon Boutell, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 12 July 1807
Sir Pardon the Liberty I Take of Addressing you – I have one favour to beg of you which is. That I may have the Opportunity of Going to New South Wales or Botany bay – with the first Draft. I hope you will undertake for me & your kind answer To this will be Thankfully Received. I am Particularly desirous of going out of the Country to Prevent further Trouble – which might Occur – I hope you will Supply me with a few Shillings To Purchase a Small Quantity of Sea Stores such as Tobacco &c as I am inform'd The Gentlemen of the Bank has been Very generous To Persons before. Sorry To inform you my friends has not been To see me Since I have been here – which I am in much Trouble About. I Ever desire To be Unfeignedly Thankfull for Preserving my Life from So Shamefull & Ignominious a Death as my Crime deserves – I freely Acknowledge The Justice of My Sentance & I hope in future To Return & be at Peace with all men – & a Usefull Member of Society. I Shall be Extreamly Thankfull if you would be So Oblidging as To Assist me in my Request & Shall be in duty bound to Pray for your Everlasting welfare. I am Sir your Most Obt & Huml - Servt, Simon Boutell
Pray return an answer if agreable to you I am on board The Retribution Hulk Woolwich, Kent
49. [F25/1/145] Thomas Rushton, Giltspur Street compter, 13 May 1802
Sirs, I arrived here last night from Chester In my way to Portsmouth, I was Convicted at the last assises Chester for having in my Possession one and two Pound Bank of England Notes, I had Some Conversation with Mr Ward Constable of Chester Castle about ten days Previous to my removal Respecting the one Pound Notes of the new curved Pattern that was hid in Liverpool and offered to disclose who are the Makers, on condition of having liberty to transport myself were I please. They are Persons not in the least Suspected they make the Paper and do all except the Plate one is now in London on this (I mean parting with notes) Business and the other in Dublin, they make Irish notes as well and will Surprise the Bank directors, they are in every respect equal to those issued from the Bank, it was my intention to write to you from Chester but was persuaded by Mr Ward to make the communication to him under Promise that he would transmit it to you, and as I have not heard any more respecting it Suppose Mr Ward has not made it known to you or the Directors of the Bank, believe I shall go from here this afternoon to the place of my destination if my Proposition meet your approbation I can tell how to put the parties into your hands
I am Sir respectfully your obe' humble Servant, Thos Rushton
NB I am now Chain'd to another Person and cannot think of conversing on this Subject but alone T.R.
I before mention'd in a Letter to Mr Ward Constable of the Castle Chester, that the one Pound Notes was hid in Liverpool, I mentioned the Place were the were hid and who I supposed found them, the particulars of that information in my Letter has I suppose been laid before you or the directors of the Bank of England – if these notes can be found, I can point out I conceive how the Person I had them from may be convicted, who is one of the Makers and now in London, I have got the original note they were made from.
50. [F25/1/146] Elizabeth Dudley, Newgate, 23 October 1807
Gentn Understanding it to be the custom of the Bk of Engd to allow a weekly Sum unto persons who are unfortunately confined at their instance, I take the liberty of troubling you upon that score & inform you I have not reced any assistance since yesterday was a month when I recd ½ Gua [guinea]. I therefore solicit your interference in my behalf being greatly Distressed, by communicating the same to the person in whose province it is to attend to this matter which will be gratefully acknowledged by Elizh Dudley
51. [F25/1/147] Elizabeth Dudley, Newgate, 24 October 1807
Gentn Having been convicted last Session for havg in my possession a forged £1 Bk of Engd Note and beeing very much distressed & in want of the common necessaries of life and unable from Age & infirmity to do anything to assist myself, I am advised to apply to you for some assistance to which I am given to understand your humanity extends towards persons who are so unfortunate as to be confined at your instance without the means of support. Any small sum your clemency shall direct will be ever gratefully acknowledged by Gentn. Your unfortunate & Obedt Servt, Elizh Dudley
Annotated: 60 years of Age – much palsied, very distressed. Further annotation by William Smith, BECLS secretary: Present Mr Maitland & Mr Bowden [Bank directors] 27th October 1807, Bank – Mr Kaye is authorized to pay Elizh Dudley 10s/6d per Week until she is sent away from Newgate
52. [F25/1/148] Mary Prince, Newgate, 24 October 1807
Gentn Understanding you assist those who are unfortunate enough to be here at your Suit without the means of support I beg to represent to you that I am one of those unfortunate persons, & have been confined here since January last that I am very feeble & near 60 years of Age my friends quite tired of rendering me that little assistance I first received from them & am in a very wretched state. I therefore solicit the extention of your humanity towards one who will ever gratefully acknowledge your liberality & am Gentn with every sense of Gratitude,
Your very Humble Servt, Mary Prince
Annotated: Under Sentence of transportation for 14 years. Further annotated by William Smith, BECLS secretary: 25 Novr, 1807 – Comee Law Suits. Mary Prince to be allowed ½ a Guinea a Week during her confinement in Newgate. Per Order of Ebenr Maitland Esq. [Bank director].
53. [F25/1/149] James Strickland, unspecified debtor's prison, 4 February 1807, having heard of Bank's generosity, asks their help, reminding them that four years ago he helped them apprehend a forger. Annotated: Bliss says this man has assisted him in enquires he has had to make.
54. [25/1/150–1] Mary Pullen, Newgate, late September 1806
Gentell Man of the Bank, Hope youre Goodness Will Pardon the Lerberty i take in Adreasing these few Lines to you But your known Huemaniety to A Manay unfourtunate Pursons imboldens me An fourtunate Woman to supplicate your Humaine Asistancens in Behalf of my salf Being on the vurge of Leaven my Native Countrey for ever o Most Honourable Gentellman if it tis your Plashour and my own unhapey that i should Goe i hope you Will huemaniley Greant Mee A treafall to Asist mee in My Peresant Rachied situaastuon to gat A few Nerscarys Wich is Rackqusite for so long A Voyage being intierley Naket havin Bin obleged to part With Evereything to surpourt my self and unfouretunat Children with this tan Months i have Bin Confine With in these Gloomey Warells. Gentellman i hope these Merscerable Lines Will have Wate in Huemaine hearts Like yours to Asist Anhapy Widow Whoe has disstrassed hir salfe to the Larest to halfe hir Racheid offens Whoe [illegible word] ourley in dread of Being torn from for ever As i ame too far Advanced in yares Ever to hope to Gat to the Eand of my voyage Much More to Return to tham on My Nees i humbley Bag you to Greant my Requst and shall thing mysalf Ever in duty Bound to pray for you Wile Life shall Larest youre humble pertictoner Mary Pullen
Attached: note from Mr Bliss, Bank investigator: Wednesday 1 October 1806, Sir, I called yesterday to see Mary Pullen but could not see her without Mr Brown's [official, Newgate, from 1817 was keeper] order. I have seen her this Morning and find her to be in great distress, all her things pawned and one of her daughters with her arm in a sling from a fall on the day of her trial – she says she will cause inqs to be made after Willm Stone  and let me know, Your obedient Servant
55. [F25/1/152] Sarah Pilcher, Newgate, 6 October 1806
Gentlemen I hope you will pardon a poor lost woman the liberty she takes in thus addressing you, to request your kind interference with the humane Gentlemen of the Bank to make me some small allowance for my support and to purchase me some stores for my voyage – I understand a ship is about shortly to sail and I have no articles whatever to render me in the smallest degree comfortable as I have for several years been a Widow and in distressed circumstances, and have two children whom I must now leave unprovided, and who must as well as myself already have been without the means of subsistence but by the liberality of one person – I therefore most humbly beg you will condescend to lay these particulars before the Honorable Directors whose accustomed benevolence will I trust be exercised towards me, as I have felt every possible contrition for my misconduct Your most obedient & unfortunate servant Sarah Pilcher
56. [F25/1/153] John Sly, Coldbath Fields prison, 30 September 1807
Sir if you would make it convenient to call upon me I have something to communicate to you if you could get an opportunity to have me in private which you can if you think this worthy of your notice – what I have to say is of no consequence to myself tho' much to the Bank. I am Sir your humble Servt Jn Sly
PS I beg this may be kept a Secret even from the Keepers & not let it be known to them I wrote to you
57. [F25/1/154] John Sly, Coldbath Fields prison, 14 October 1807
Sir I am sorry it has not been in my power to send any further account to you before this but I can now let you know that there is a Letter went to Birmingham & I shall get the answer to it & will send it to you. I should esteem it a favor if you would be so kind as to give the Bearer a Line to the Governor to be so good as to let her in the inner gate to speak to me as tho' she is not my wife she would have been had it not have been for my Imprisonment & I have several things to say to her about my Business that I cannot say at the Gate for every one to hear. There is a number admitted by Bribing the Turnkeys but that is out of my Power as I have not a shilling to help myself & the young woman has done all she can for me. I am Sir, you most humble Servant, Jn Sly
58. [F25/1/155] William Lawton Stone, Horsemonger Lane gaol, 4 April 1808
Honoured Sir trusting your Goodness will pardon the Liberty I have taken in Stating the Situation of an Unfortunate Young Man and family whose Circumstances after Eight Months Confinement are left Destitute of Support and Sorry to say my self under Transportation for fourteen years at the thoughts of the Wretchedness of a Convictt Ship and being Separated from my Wife and dear Children my heart is broken and Attribute my Misfortune to being Ignorant of the fatal Consequences of my Crime and being treacherously Betrayed in hopes that Something may be done to Assist an Unfortunate Victim I have sent to the Bank of England and hope to be Enabled to better Means of Bringing to Justice those that are the Ruin of Many and trust in god for Mercy never to Offend the Laws of my Country any more and trust that Philanthropy and goodness that is Manifasted so Eminently that Character that my Family is Ever bound to Bless and with due Submission Subscribe my Self Your Most-Obedient and Humble Servant W L Stone
Addressed to Esq Goodenough 38 Hertford St.
59. [F25/1/156] Joseph Hodges, un-named hulk, [probably Prudentia] Woolwich, 13 October 1805
Gentlemen I have taken the Liberty of troubling you Beging the favour to have the Goodness to Interseed for me to have the trifling property Returned to me that was taken out of my Trunks at my Lodgings by Mr Bliss after I was taken into custody by him, which was a brace of pistols two Silver Crosses an one pocket Book. Mr Bliss Assured me I should have everything safe Back before I was Convicted at Croyden. I have since made Application for them to Mr Bliss an he informs me that he is is not allowed to Lett me have them. I have Gentlemen before My Conviction and since informed Mr Bliss of Different Shops where whar there has been forged Bank Notes paid away and Likewise the people that pay them away which Mr Bliss has found to be true I discovered since I have been on Board the Hulks that this is found out by some people that is hear for the same Offence as Mine, people in the Country that Make them for sale an likewise pay them away I immediately Aquainted Mr Bliss of the same an Likewise whare the people ware to be found, therefore Gentleman as I have done Eavery thing to Serve the Bank I Hope you will have the Goodness to Interseed for me to have what trifling property belongs to me. As eaver so trifling will be a great help me in this Situation – I Beg to Remain your Most Earnest and Very Humble Sert Joseph Hodges
60. [F25/1/157] John Wood, Prudentia hulk, Woolwich, 10 December 1805
Gentlemen After begging pardon for the intrusion permitt me to state, that I am an unfortunate person who was Convicted at Hertford Assizes in the month of March 1802 of having Counterfeit Bank of England Notes in my possession to the amount of one hundred and fifty pounds, for which offence I was sentenced to be transported to New South Wales for the term of fourteen years:- soon after conviction I was removed to the Hulks on the River Thames where I have since remained under order of transportation without the least appearance of having my sentence put in absolute execution, now Sirs as there has been ships gone out with prisoners from hence and no notice has been taken of me it seems cruel in a degree that I should be neglected, I have no desire to remain in England I acknowledge that I have had such bad connections in the line of circulating bad notes that I wish for a final seperation from; I am not at present warned of being one that is to depart the country in the present expedition to Botany Bay and I much fear I shall be left behind again. Therefore Gentlemen I humbly beg you will exercise your influence (if I am not at present in the Arrangement) that may facilitate my being efectually transported agreeable to the sentence I received, I know I am a usefull man in my present sittuation and that may have been the cause of my remaining here so long, but when I assure you that I wish to rid me of a connection so nefarious to commerce I repose my sanguine trust that you will promote my s[p]eedy departure for Port Jackson. I am Gentlemen with profound Respect &c &c &c your very Humble Servant, John Wood a Carpenter
61. [F25/1/158] Thomas Young, Royal Admiral hulk, Woolwich, 30 September 1805
Honourd Sirs Trusting in the well known benignity & humanity of your hearts I have presumed to become your Suppliant & I hope that as your Philanthropy saved me from an ignominious death, so will it preserve me from an hungry one, I have no friend to assist me I am in the extremes of need, & have no hope but in your benevolence, which I trust you will extend towards me, by supplying me with a trifle to purchase a few Stores for the Passage to Botany Bay, should you graciously condescend to comply with my request gratitude will engrave the obligation so deep, that time will never efface it from the memory of Your Most Obedient Most Obliged and Most Humble Servt Tho. Young
62. [F25/1/159] James Edwards, Prudentia hulk, Woolwich, 20 October, 1806, prisoner awaiting trspn, not Bank offender, received £2 note from friends in Cheshire which he 'changed' with chief mate of Prudentia; chief mate paid it to tradesman in London, who found it was forged, returned it to Bank, where, in conformity with usual practice, it was retained; chief mate had taken money in compensation from Edwards who was now desperate to get first note back from Bank
63. [F25/1/160] Matthew Bell, Prudentia hulk, Woolwich, 26 September 1807
Sir I beg your parden for writen to you about the notes of bankes of England I was taken in Scotland for them and sent to Jedborg and was eximened before Mister Henderson Mister Clever the shereief at Jedborg in scottland witch tha did make me a promes if I wad tell what way I got thes notes I shoud be set fre of them thare ware a thing that I never had on befor to understod any thing about – and I tould them the tim that I got them and the men whare I got them from and tould them all that lade in my pour a bout them and that I went of that pertence to take them but I thenk tha did not want to take them tha wonted to make money of yet or I am sure that might ben got at that time then I was taken from thare to morpeth Jall in Northumberland and was try at Newcastelsyes on the 5 day of august 1806 and now if yet ples you once to do any thing for me now I will be very much oblige to your sir I have got a wife and seven Cheldren all that I want in this world is my helth and leberty to go home gane to work for my wife and familey thare shal nobodey se me ever be scorned in any sich things gane I hope sir if you ples you will do som theng for me now if you plles won yer confinement is beter for a man than seven yeres is yet was the firest time that I ever sed won of thes notes or thar shall never wan of them com in my hand gane if I had my leberty if not I want to be sent from her if you ples Sir if you ples to send me anser Matthew Bell prudenhulk woolwich
64. [F25/1/162] William Banister, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, to his wife, 12 June 1808
Dear Wife and Children this comes with my love to you all. Hopeing it will find you Still in good Health. I recevd your letter on the 6 instant With a light heart to hear that you was all in good health and I trust in god this will find you the same as to my health it alters Every Day. Some times better and some times worse. But the lord's will be done for I trust hee will help mee in time I am sorry to hear of trade and other things being so bad for I Dought you will not Be able to get Bread for my little Children. But I hope that god will be with you and assist you in all things. I disire you will not fail to See Mr Lloyd [solicitor in Stockport acting for Bank] and Mr Baddley and if the can get my pardon I will do anything that lyes in my Power for them and for the good of my Country and Shall Ever be in Duty Bound to pray for them unto my lives End for if I had all the world in gould I would give it all that I might be restored to my liberty and be unighted with my wife and Children to work and indavour to maintain my fear of god as I trust in god I could become a good member of Society
You wished to know how I was Situated. I will just give you a skecth [sketch] of it I am in a Ship with a Bout 400 men all as lowsey as Calves our Vitals is very Bad in the morning wee have some Barley and watter Boild thin without Salt and at noon Some Bread & Beef the Beef is Such as you never Saw most of it is such as Dyes of it Selfsh and Cows that are in a Decline and the Best wee get is leane Bully our Bread is a kind of Bran and Barley ground together just the Collour of ---[writer's dash followed by illegible word] and at night wee have some Barley Boild in the Broth that is made of the Beef but nobody will Eat that as it gives them the flucks and kills men Directly Every other Day wee have a Small lowance of Cheese to Diner in Sted of Beef. But you can Scarsely Cut it with nife – We Get our breakfast at six in the morning and then we are taken a Shore in Boats and work till noon and then goes a gain at one o clock and work till Six our work is Hardley fit for horses and there is men over us with Great Sticks and if we look off our work thay lay on us without mercy our legs is Cheand together Day and night and am amonghts nothing but thives and murderers and robers there is nothing But Blasting and Swearing &c-So you may be Sure I Cannot live Long here. I have not much time to Spare. But what leasure time I have I Spend it in prayer and I Disire you do the Same for if I was with you a gain wee could live a happy life in this world and Bring our Children up in the love of god which I hope you will Do you in Davour all at present from your Ever loving Husband, Wm Banister
NB plase to rite as soon as you know how things will be and let mee know how all my Children
Excuse my pen as I am hardly able to rite
Addressed to Mrs Nancy Bannister, Hempshaw Lane, Stockport, Cheshire
65. [F25/1/161] William Banister, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, to his wife, 21 July 1808
Dear Wife and Children I Recd your letter on the 18 instant With great joy to hear that God Continues to Bless you with good Health to work for bread for your Selves and our little Children that cannot help them Selves which I trust that hee will still keep you in the same for he has promised to be a father to the fatherless and to plead the Cause of the widdow. I have been taken with a very bad faver but through the timely assistance of medicine and the help of god I hope I shall get well in a little time. I got Bluded and took a filtre & other medicines which I trust put a stop to the Disorder. I was very poorly & then I recvd your letter but when I came to read that you was in such good hopes of my pardon I was struck with such an Exstacy of joy that I had quite forgot my pain. So I kneeled Down to return my god thanks and then Went to rest and had a pleasent sleep that night. I am glad you have put my Son James to working [illegible word] you have done right in gateing him hee promised me the last time I saw him that hee would be a good lad and I have not the least Dought but hee will fulfil his promise & is being good to his mother.
You must Remember mee to Mr Lloyd and Mr Baddely – and let them know I shall be ever bound in Duty to pray for them as long as I live beSides rewards and all other things that Ever falls in to my hands which Will Ever be at there Service and will if I get my Liberty seek out that Villan of a morfey that brought mee in to this troble that all their rogery may be found out – there is men here get pardoned allmost Every week and I have great faith in god that through the merrits of his Son jesus Christ hee Will restore mee to my liberty that I may become a useful member of Christian Society if it fails this time it must not be Done away with But Dropt for a while and then tried again people here hav been Denied 3 times and got pardoned the 4 time but hope the will Do it now and Should it be my hapy lot to be restored to my Dear wife and Children in whom I plased all my worldy Delight I should be the happyest man in the world for I could Imploy my leasure time in praising my god and teaching my Children so to Do and Shawing them good Examples to go by such has I have not Done before which I lament to my sorrow. When I am in the greatest Grieff I can ease myself with the thoughts of my Children being united together in peace and love with their tender mother which I hope is a comforth to you all. I find a Deal of Comforth in reeding the following Solms the 86 and 103 the 142 and 143 and Dear John I disire you to read these to your mother and Brothers and Sisters when you have leasure time and Do not neglect Church or Chapel – as many as can go for that is the first thing to do. As to mony as I Get better I shall want some kind of meals to raise my self with that will Nourish mee and what I had is nearly gone for I had 3g to lay out in a chest and other things that I was like to pay for and then you know I could not have much you may send mee a small trifle if you can spare any you know if it plase god that my pardon comes I shall want very little and I hope you will know be fore you need to rite. So I conclude with my Dearest Love to you and to all my Dear Children and May god rest his Blessing upon you and keep you in Safty from all Evil temtations unto your lives end Your unfortunate, Wm Banister
Written down side: You may let Mr Loyd or Mr Baddley look at this
66. [F25/1/163] William Banister, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 17 October 1808, to Mr Lloyd, solicitor for Bank, Stockport
Dear Sir, I Beg you will Excuse mee taking the Liberty of writing these few lines to you as it is with an humble and sorrowful heart I write them it is to Humbly intreat your goodness that you will Soliset the Bank of England to Pardon my Distressed Condishion and to Shaw some mercy on mee for the Sake of my poor Distressed Wife and Eight Children which are Deprived of their tender father and laft to the mercy of the world peraps the greatest part of them will never Remember having seen their father and what must be their bringing up I Cannot tell but the Best of it will I Dout be hard for them tosed about from plase to plase I Can not tell where and often tould of their fathers misfortune while I may languish a few months more for them and then go in Sorrow Down to my greave. I think in my own Brest that it lyes in your power to get my pardon and if I Should meet your aprobation that your goodness will get my liberty I Shall Ever be in Duty Bound to pray for you and will reward you as far as lies in my power and will Ever Do what I Can for my king and Country to Do them good I Durst be bound to be put to Death with out any mercy if I Do not find out murphey that Drowd mee into this Snare and Could in a few months Discover the Whole gang of them that is passing Some Hundreds Every week but I wil Do my in Davour to Do any thing that lyes in my power to make them amends all I Could wish in this life is to be restored to my wife and Children that I might live the rest of my Day in peace and Bring them up in the love and fear of god and repent my sins truly
Your Ever HS Wm Banister
Addressed to his wife for her to pass on
67. [F25/1/164–5] J. Lloyd, solicitor, Stockport, to Bank solicitors, 12 November 1808.
States that he and his clerk found forged notes in Banister's garden; he has been pestered by Banister's wife to write to Bank on his behalf. He encloses 65–6, says he does not wish to say more, but asks Bank to mention in any reply that he has sent them as he does not wish to seem unhelpful.
68. [F25/1/166–8] William Banister, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 18 March 1809
Hond Sir, I trust the necessity of my present unfortunate situation will apologize for the liberty I now take in thus writing you. If you'll recollect I transmitted a petition to you the 18th of last month addressed to the Honble the Governor & directors of the Bank of England, praying they would, in consequence of certain facts therein stated, be pleased to grant me a free pardon, a metigation of sentence, or allow me the privilege of transporting myself beyond seas, and, also begged that an answer might be condescended on & sent me when convenient.
To this petition you have never as yet been pleased to grant me any answer, I therefore hereby earnestly intreat of you to have the goodness to do so, as soon as you can. This, from your well-known humanity and compassion to the distressed, I am led to entertain the most fluttering hopes of a speedy deliverance from this my most miserable situation, which, if this should be effected, I shall always look upon it as the greatest of blessings, and as the highest obligation conferred upon Hond Sir, Your most obedt humble Sert William Banister
Attached: petition stating that Banister lived in Stockport with his wife and children for most of his life, is of good character which can be attested to by gentlemen and principal inhabitants of the town, and that he was innocently led into harm by Archibald Murphy, Dec. 1807, who passed him forged notes in a mercantile transaction. He pleaded guilty to possession although he believed he was innocent, not understanding that sentence would be fourteen yrs trspn. He now believed he should have pleaded not guilty and employed counsel at his trial. He asks pardon, or permission to transport himself; copy note to Banister from Bank solicitors: The Governors and Directors of the Bank having interfered so far in your favour as to relieve you from the Capital punishment to which your offence had subjected you, they decline interfering further
69. [F25/1/169] John Bellairs, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 29 January 1810
Gentlemen, I most respectfully beg leave to submit the enclosed Petition for your approval, if it meets which I request that you will have the goodness to lay it before the Honorable Board to whom it is addressed, and if it is not presuming too far on your charitable goodness, I should be for ever grateful if you would favor me with a line by Post, intimating how far I may hope for the completion of my wishes therein contained, I am, Gentlemen, with the highest respect Your most obedt humble Servant John Bellairs
[Petition no longer attached]
70. [F25/1/170] John Sly, Newgate, 25 January 1810
Sir The person of the name of Braham or Abraham whom I mentioned to you before was (as he states to me himself) nearly apprehended at a Shop in Holborn in passing a 1£ note & had at the time 32 in his possession, he made his escape on acct of the Shop man not being able to get an Officer to take him into Custody. I am at this time in the greatest distress of mind as the Convicts are now going off & I not knowing – whether I am to be so happy as to go with my wife or not & Mr Souter not being at home makes me request of you to give me a line in order to restore tranquillity to the mind of your unhappy Servant Jn Sly
71. [F25/1/171–2] Elizabeth Ware, [under sentence of death for returning from transportation], Newgate, 25 December 1809, formal petition
That your Petitioner in the year 1803, received from her husband, Thomas Ware [prosecuted by Bank, May 1803], sundry Notes, purporting to be good and lawful Notes of the Bank of England; that under the influence and direction of her said husband, she had sent a few into Circulation, previous to her discovery of their being Counterfeits; that on such discovery your petitioner, overwhelmed with the deepest affliction, under a just sense of the enormity of the Crime, remonstrated against the guilty deed, and but too truly predicted the fatal consequence which immediately followed. Her husband having fled from Justice, your Petitioner fell an innocent victim to the offended Laws of her Country, and after pleading guilty to her indictment she received sentence of 14 Years transportation to New South Wales as appears from the records of the Session, at which she was tried, and which was immediately carried into execution, leaving behind her two unprotected female infant Children, and a third, hanging at her breast, has shared the sufferings of its unhappy Mother. Considering her sentence to be for seven Years only, she embraced the only opportunity that might ever probably happen, to infold in her longing arms her long lost Children, but having been delivered into the hands of Justice, the awful Letter of the Law has been pronounced against her Life.
Your Petitioner filled with sorrow and contrition for the Crime, and oppressed with the weight of her sufferings, implores your forgiveness, and under a grateful sense of former favors, subsequent to her first trial and conviction, with the deepest humility, prays, gentlemen, that you will be pleased to take the circumstances attending her very singular case into your serious consideration, and, in your superior wisdom, be pleased to address the sacred person of His Majesty, the Fountain of Mercy, once more to restore to Society and the embraces of her Dear friendless Children, a poor creature who has been nearly seven years drinking the bitterest dregs, from the vials of human misery, for a Crime into which she became innocently involved.
Your humble Petitioner begs leave to assure the Gentlemen of the Bank of England, that should His Majesty be graciously pleased to grant the prayer of a Petition, signed by near fifty of his Majesty Most most dutiful and loyal subjects, and respectable householders, that the Death of her late husband gives her an opportunity of embracing an offer of marriage much to her advantage, with a person of the purest morals, and very respectable connexions, who only waits for the pardon of your suffering petitioner, to make her happy in the management of an extensive eating house.
Under the above circumstances your most humble petitioner prays you will be pleased to grant the prayer of her Petition, the most grateful sense of which, will ever be retained, and your Petitioner, with her Children, and probably Children's Children, will, as in Duty Bound, ever pray for their benefactors &c, &c Elizabeth Ware her mark
Annotated: Cannot interfere.
Attached: copy note from Bank solicitor: Mrs Ware's petition has been submitted to the Govr & Directors of the Bank who cannot interfere on her behalf 4 Jany 1810
72. [F25/1/173] James Clarkson, Newgate (Master's Side), undated, 1810 Honble Sirs With Due Respect I most humbley beg Leave to address you Respecting my Presant Situation about fifteen mounth ago I was tryed and Convicted of having forged Bank Notes in my Possession for witch I was Sentenced to fourteen years transportation since then I have bin Confind in newgate with a wife and two Infant Children who are in the Gratest Distress from my Long Confinement I am Reduced to the utmost not haven aney friends to Render me any assistance and I have a very Bad Rupture witch Gentlemen I am without the meanes of Percuring Nersessity for that Complaint yeasterday I was orderd to hold My Self in Redeness to go out to Bottany Bay by the first Ship witch will be in a feaw Days In Consequence tharefore I most fervently Solicit that you will Condescend to Concider my Case and that you will humanely Contribute Somthing Towards my Relief So far as in your wisdom it may be Deemed Providend I am Honble Sirs yours with Respect your most Obligd Humble Servant James Clarkson
73. [F25/1/174] Sarah Davis, Newgate, 30 September 1811, formal petition
That your Petitioner was Indicted at the last Old Bailey Session, for Uttering (fn. 1) as was alleged, in Company with another, a £5 Bank of England Note, to which Indictment She Pleaded Guilty, and was Sentenced to be Transported for the term of Fourteen Years.
That your Petitioner in her dreadful and much distressed Situation has ventured, (but in the most humble manner) to Solicit that Charitable Aid, which You have ever been pleased to afford to such Unfortunates as Your unhappy Petitioner; And She is the more emboldened to throw herself upon Your Benevolence, not only from the knowledge you have of her truly pitiable Case, but from the circumstance also, of her being absolutely driven to the most extreem poverty, and importunate distress; and which alas would have been truly indescribable, if Your Petitioner had not been enabled in some measure to alleviate it, either by the Sale, or Pledging of what little Wearing Apparel She had left
Your Petitioner therefore most humbly and ardently Implores your humane Consideration of her distresses, by condescending to make her what allowance you may, in your Wisdom deem meet And Your Petitioner as in Duty bound will ever pray
74. [F25/1/182] Elizabeth Ware, Newgate, 25 March 1810
Most Honored Gentelmen I most humbley bow down to you bagen your heuman harts will pardon the Liberty I take in thus Adrasing you was desird by Mr Suter to apley to you as he had sateld all acounts with you and that by your desire you would satel sume one to pay me a trifell weekley wich I have hard nothing about a fortinet is now relapst and I have recd nothing from aney one and being vary frendless Have taken the Liberty of bagen a trifell to suport me whilst Confind in this maloncoley dwaling and for every extreem kindness I have recd bag lave to return my most Gratfull thanks and most humbley Bow down to you kind Gentelmen praying for a Continuens of your kind benovlans and ever will as in deuty bound Constantly pray and bag lave to subscrybd my self Right honored Sirs your vary Obdant humbil sarvint Elizh Ware
75. [F25/1/183] Elizabeth Ware, Newgate, undated
Honoured Sir I humbley hope your Goodness will pardon the Liberty I take of riting as a munth is Now parst since I had aney relief hope your feeling harts have not withdrawn your kindness I would not take the Liberty of riting but being unwilling to part with those neserys wich I have bin [illegible word] with and further bag Lave to return my most gratfull thanks for those favors I have alredy recd and shall ever think my self in deuty bound to for ever pray in the meen time bag Lave to subscryb my self your most obdant vary Humble sarvint E. Ware
76. [F25/1/177] Amelia Bellars, Newgate, undated, probably May 1810
The Humble Petition of Amelyar Ballaiers humbley bow down to you honnared Gantlemen prayeng your Goodness will pardon the Liberty I take in thus Adrasing you haring the ship is redey wich is to Convay me and a maney more of my falow sufferes to a fare distant Country wich Gevs me grate unhapeyness being vary unprovided and my pore Child Likewise for so long a voiage most humbley bag your feeling harts will releve me with a trifell to redeem my Cloths wich through my long Confinemant I have bin obliged to part with and having no frends wich Cane rander me the smalest releff I thus take the Leberty of Adrasing you for such donatteion as it may plase you to bestow will be thankfulley Recd and as in deuty Bound will ever pray the unfertunet Ameler Ballairs Transpoart Newgate
77. [25/1/175 & 178] Amelia Bellars, Newgate, 18 July 1810
Gentlemen I humbly beg pardon for troubling you again, but hope and trust you will be Kind enough to forward my Memorial, to the Secretary of State [Sir Richard Ryder] that I may take my Departure from within those Dreary Walls, by the next Ship for New, South, Wales, which I understand their is one now a fitting out to receive Convicts on board, in August I trust you will do every thing that lays in your power for me, at the same time excuse the Liberty I have here taken – by complying with the above request – You will Much Oblidge an unfortunate prisoner Amelia Bellars
Attached: petition asking that she be sent on first available ship to NSW; she is truly contrite and would like a grant for her eight-year-old daughter to accompany her as there is no-one in England to protect her.
78. [F25/1/177] Amelia Bellars, Newgate, 10 January 1811 Gentelmen I humbley bag permishon to state to you that the ship wich is to Convay me and the rast of my falow suffers to a fare distant Countrey is redey and am given to understand that all are to be on bord in tan days most humbley hope that as nothing Cane be dun to extreycate me from this miserabl dwaling that your feeling harts will use your indavours to sand me a way in this ship bag lave to subscryb my self most honared Gentleman your vary humble sarvint Ameilar Balliers
79. [F25/1/179] Elizabeth Ware, Newgate, 23 October 1810
Gentlemen, I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude to you, not only for a former, but the present allowance of Seven Shillings per Week, you are so kindly pleased to make me, and which I have found of such essential Service to myself and Children, that I should think myself blameable indeed, were I not most gratefully to acknowledge such generosity, in the best manner I am able.
From the distressed state myself and Children were in, previously to your granting me the above allowance, I was of necessity, even for the common Necessaries of Life, obliged to Pawn or part with nearly the whole of my Wearing Apparel, which of myself, I shall never be able to redeem; I therefore have presumed (but reluctantly) to state to you, that in consequence of having received Orders to hold myself in readiness to be sent off to New
South Wales by the next Ship, which is expected very shortly to Sail; and having experienced your liberality on a former (but lamentable) occasion, emboldens me to ask permission to be allowed (and for the last time let my future fate be whatever it may) to again solicit, that you will with your usual humanity, be pleased to afford me such pecuniary assistance, as you have usually extended to such unfortunates as myself, on similar occasions.
I humbly beg leave to subscribe myself with a most greatful Heart Your most Obedient & very humble Servant Elizabeth Were [own signature]
80. [F25/1/180] Elizabeth Ware, Newgate, undated
Honored Gentelmen humbley bag permision to state to you that I am given to under stand that it is but a few day before I shall take my departure from this drery dwaling and most humbley bag pardon for thus Adrasing you being in extreem distress for what few articles wich my Long Confinemant have bin obligd to pawn most humbley pray as Mr Shuter tould me that you had heumanley ofered to remitt a trifell to redeem tham hope and trust what your feeling harts will plase to bestowe that I do not ofend in asking for it before I lave the prison as it will be imposebl to git tham whan on bord with out being defrauded of a part of the money and I will be ever Carefull to Lay it to the bast Advantedge and for such Goodness will as in deuty bound for ever Pray And bag lave to suscryb myself right honored Gentelmen your most obdant vary humble sarvant Elizabeth Ware
81. F25/1/181] Elizabeth Ware and Amelia Bellars, Newgate, 9 February 1811
Honored Gentelmen we unfortunet suffers Elizabath Ware and Ameliar Ballairs humbley bow down to you Craving Pardon in the Liberty we now take in troubling you but whan We had the hapeyness of seeing you yesterday we under stood that Mr Suter was to Give us the money your goodness was plased to Bestow we a Cordinly waited upon Mr Suter this morning in hopes from your Heumanety that he might have let us have the money to redeem our Cloths wich makes us both vary unhapey as Mr Suter seem to doute wether you would not be displased hope your Goodness will not think we take too grate Liberty in bagen you will be plased to sand to Mr Suter emidetly that we may Redeem our litle nessereys as with out tham our Cases will be treribly distrasing to be put on shore in a foring Country Naked and Distrast kind Gantelmen our time is vary short as Tuesday naxt is the day we expact to be put on bord and I hope and trust to have your anser by the barer wich will much alivate the sorows of the treuly unhapey Elizabath Ware and Amelir Ballairs
On reverse of page: We have bin just Cald to Mr Suter and by his desire we was to Rite to you emedtly as thare is not a momant to Loas at the same time we showd Mr Suter our Duplicats
82. [F25/1/184–7] William Hitchen, Newgate, 13 October 1810, prosecuted for transportable offence (not against Bank), brought from Warwick gaol to Newgate, gives information on forgers, with affidavit and petition which Bank solicitors put before directors, who decline to forward his petition
83. [F25/1/188–90] John Davis and John Downs, Newgate, 3 October 1810, serving six-month sentences for uttering base dollars, petition for return of property removed from them on arrest and for some temporary relief. Annotated: Rejected.
84. [F25/1/191–4] Joseph Palethorpe, 15 May and 15 June 1811, debtor in Fleet prison, demands return of mutilated note he submitted to Bank which was retained as a forgery. Bank investigator's office receipt enclosed. Copy reply from Bank solicitors instructs Palethorpe that he has no right over a forged note; the Bank always retains them.
85. [F25/1/195–6] Charles Cooper, Marshalsea prison, 15 October 1810, held for offence unconnected with Bank, offers to inform on dealers in forged notes; he includes list and descriptions of half a dozen he knows.
86. [F25/1/197] Thomas Swarbrick, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 7 December 1809
Hond Sir, It is a painful Subject which I have made bold to trouble you with a few Lines upon trusting you will have the kindness to excuse the Liberty I have taken.
The Circumstances of my Misfortune you are already acquainted with therefore it needs no comment here allow me Hon Sir to supplicate your kind interference on my behalf to enable me to procure the privilege to banish myself with my Family for Life to America, where I have Friends who will be happy to receive me and them, until I shall be able to provide for them, by my Own Industry which shall not be spared
Not doubting you will recollect having assured me and my Wife that you would not overlook my desperate situation, I have made bold thro' these means to remind you the length of Time I have now been in Confinement, experiencing the most severe hardship, and bereft of all the Necessaries of Life. I earnestly hope you will use your Interest with the Govrs of the Bank of England to induce them to grant me this indulgence, the completion of which will restore me to the greatest benefits at the Same Time fulfill the Sentence of the Law Upwards of two years Confinement will surely operate on their generosity and soften their Sentiments towards my misfortunes
to receive a Line from you acknowledging the receipt of these few Lines will confer on me a serious Obligation, and which I remain Confident you will not withold, allow Me, Hond Sir To Subscribe myself, Your Mo. Hume Servt, Thos Swarbrick
87. [F25/1/198–9] William Banister, Retribution hulk, to Mr Lloyd, solicitor, Stockport, 19 March 1810
Worthy Sir I trust my unfortunate Situation will apolligeize for my Bouldness in Riting you knowing that it lyes in your power to help mee in my unfortunate Condishon I trust in god that you of your goodness Will speake to Mr Prescot [Lancs. magistrate] in my behalf to Disire him to Sine mee a petishon for liberty to Stansport my self out of the Country for the Space of my sentence as I have a friend in america where I Could live hapy the rest of my life that god permits mee to live. Sir my Situation here is bad but it is not my Punishment here that makes mee Repine it is the Loss of my poor wife and Children that I morn for look on my distress with an Eye of pity I Beg for Christ Sake and sufer mee not to remain in this [paper torn, word illegible] Where I am in Danger of loosing Soul and Body I am a monght 500 of the worst of men and hears nothing But Blastfaming of God's good name when I am offering up my prayers to god for my sins there is nothing but Cursing and Swearing all around mee and if I Could get out of the Country I Could in time Get my wife & Children to mee a gain and Strive to Bring them up in the love and fear of the lord that we might Save our Souls alive
my Wife will wait on you with this letter and the lord grant I may find favour in your goodness and Shall be in Duty Ever Bound to pray for you &c Your Humble St Wm. Banister
Addressed to his wife
Attached: note, 26 May 1810, from Mr Lloyd, 8, Norfolk St, Strand, passing letter to Bank solicitors without comment on content.
88. [F25/1/200] John Bellairs, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 23 March 1810
Sir, The general Character which you bear for Humanity and benevolence encourages me to hope that you will not only pardon my giving you this trouble, but also comply with the request I am about respectfully to make – Having as you will be pleased to recollect been Sentenced to 14 Years Transportation for having Forged Bank Notes in my possession, I have been since that period (last July) confined on board this Ship, where my sufferings are very great, both of Body and Mind – As the nature of my Offence, for which I feel the utmost contrition, admits not the least hope of any mitigation of my afflicting Sentence, and as I feel I cannot possibly long survive the miseries peculiar to this horrid receptacle of the Guilty and the unfortunate, my only wish is that I may be speedily sent abroad, pursuant to the tenor of my Sentence, hoping that I may in that distant Clime by a Life of Rectitude and Industry obliterate the disgrace I have unhappily incurred, and in time retrieve that fair Character I once possessed in Society –1 have heard it rumoured that a Ship is actually taken up for the purpose of conveying Prisoners to New South Wales, in the course of the ensuing Summer – Should that be the Fact, I most humbly entreat that you will in pity to my present sufferings be pleased to use your Interest in the proper Channel, that I may be included in the Number – Knowing the confidential nature of your situation, as to the Concerns of the Bank of England, and having no Friend to whom I can with propriety apply, I have presumed to address you, and earnestly hope that you will condescend to comply with my prayer – As my anxiety on this head will continue to increase, commensurate with my protracted sufferings, I have further to solicit the favor of a line in answer to this Letter, addressed as above, intimating whether I may hope for a compliance with my wishes. I beg leave to remain with the greatest respect Sir Your most humble but unhappy Servant John Bellairs
89. [F25/1/201] John Bellairs, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 9 May 1810
Sir, I beg leave to express my heartfelt gratitude for your kind attention to my application, and for the hopes – you give me of ultimate success in your favor of the 27th March – After the assurance therein contained, I should fear you would think me presumptuous in again requesting your interference in my behalf, did I not trust that the anxiety of mind so natural to one in my unhappy situation, would plead my excuse – As the time of the Ship's Sailing for New South Wales, according to every report, is fast approaching, and knowing the multiplicity of similar applications which will no doubt be made at the Secretary of State's Office, I am fearful that mine my be overlooked, and therefore most respectfully beg that you will be so kind to take the necessary Steps in order that my name may be included in the List which I am informed will be very shortly transmitted to the Captain of this Ship –
I have also, Sir, to intreat your indulgence on another point, in which without your kind assistance, I feel myself incompetent to proceed –I have been given to understand that in certain Cases bearing a similarity to mine, the Directors of the Bank have, with their Characteristic humanity, generously bestowed on those persons, Convicted at their Instance, a small Sum of Money towards alleviating the miseries of the banishment, and to enable them to provide for their necessities on arriving at their place of destination – I therefore with the greatest deference and submission, request that you will if such a practice is not unprecedented, plead with the Honorable Company, that this their Bounty may be extended to me – as I labor under great privations, and am unprovided with the smallest matter for my future comfort – I beg leave to repeat my apology for this trouble, and am, Sir, with the greatest respect Your most obedient and obliged humble Servant, John Bellairs
90. [F25/1/202] John Bellairs, Indian transport ship, Gravesend, 18 June 1810
Gentlemen In presuming the liberty of addressing you I can only appeal to your kindness trusting you will be pleased to pardon the same
The purport of which is to acquaint you that I am on board this Ship bound for New South Wales in consequence of my conviction for Uttering forged Bank of England Bills. I do not presume to offer any thing in Vindication of my offence but with heartfelt sorrow and contrition bow down to the offended laws of my Country, at the same time acknowledge the Justice of my sentence, and humbly hope that if there is any acknowledgement made in consequence of my leaving the Country for the crime, that you will have the goodness to remit the same to me or to Captn Boulay of this Ship and address the letter on Rect. of this to Portsmouth or elsewhere, I remain Gentlemen Your Most Obt and very humble Servt John Bellairs
91. [F25/1/203] John Bellairs, Indian transport ship, Gravesend, 13 July 1810
Sir, I rely on your humanity and goodness for pardoning my once more troubling you to crave your kind interference in my behalf. Being now on the point of leaving my Native Country, probably never to return, and being destitute of Money, Clothes and every other necessary for my present or future Comfort, I have no hopes but from your known goodness of heart of which I have had such repeated proofs – About 7 Weeks ago, Sir, I took the Liberty of addressing you from on board the Retribution, respectfully entreating you to submit to the Directors of the Bank, my humble request that they would be graciously pleased (as I understood had been done in former instances to persons convicted at their Suit) to extend some little pecuniary relief to me, on my approaching departure, as the means whereby I might, with prudence and Industry make some provision for my future wants on arriving at my place of Destination – Not having been favored with an answer, I conceive it probable my Letter might not have come to hand – I now most humbly beg leave to solicit your Interest in my favor on that head, and hope it will not be thought a presumptuous or unprecedented request. I now Sir have to intreat your Charitable aid on another subject of the utmost importance to me in my unfortunate situation – At the time of my conviction I was possessed of a tolerable Stock of Clothes, which were consigned to the care of a Mr Nash, 6 George Yard, Whitechapel – On my removal to this Ship and subsequently I have repeatedly written to him, requesting that he would convey them to me without delay – A few days ago I received a decisive answer from Mr N. informing me, to my utter astonishment 'that my Clothes were pledged, and if I wished to have them, I might send the money for their redemption'. Dearest Sir, I have no Friend to whom I can apply to obtain me redress, therefore as I am confident you are an enemy to oppression and injustice of every kind, and that to your liberal mind, the pleasure of doing a good action in favor of a distressed object like myself will be its own reward, I most humbly implore that you will be pleased to take such Steps as your superior judgement may dictate, to inforce the restoration of my Clothes which are of such important consequence to me – We expect to Sail in the course of 10 or 12 days, I therefore take the liberty of hoping that you will with all convenient speed, do me the above essential favor, for which as well as all former ones received at your hands, I shall ever feel the most grateful sentiments, And am, Sir, with the highest respect Your most obedient and very humble Servt John Bellars
92. [F25/1/204] Robert George, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 30 October 1810
Sir in Consequence of me writing to you this is to inform you that I should much wish to see you to have a little talk concerning some questions that was asked me by Mr Cristmas [Christmas, Bank investigator] and some other frends in Bedford and as there is a ship as I am informed to sail to new South Wales to take away prisoners from England I thus inform that by comeing or sending any person you think well to speak to me as a freind very soon it shall be for the good of many at large I am your most Obedient humble St Robert George
Annotated: No Notice or Minute
93. [F25/1/205] Robert George, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 8 November 1810
Sir I again take the oportunity to inform you that in Consequence of the Last Letter I directed to you as I expected to have seen some of your people belonging to your Conextions respecting my Confindment Considering my heavy sentence pased on me at Bedford the tenth of last August for uttering or tendering down a note as knowing it to be a forged one tho' took it in payment being intoxecated with liquor on my return from Newmarket on friday the sixteenth of February altho I have had the sentence passed on me acording to law for the term of fourteen years its in your power to take in Consideration respecting of that business but I own that I have done very little mischief that you think I am deserving of what I have passed on me I will bear it with the greatest patience that man can do now Sir if you think well to endeavour to do me this favour I will open your eyes more than you by any means can imagine I am thoroly convincd that that unlawful Conextions ought not to be continued and by what I have to say to you that if you will bind your selves in a bond to liberate me from the sentance passed on me I will satisfy you in evry respect to the best of my knowledge as will much surprise evry reader
I am your most Obedient humble St Robert George
94. [F25/1/207] Elizabeth Leach, Newgate, 21 July 1812, formal petition
That your Petitioner, driven to the greatest misery and absolute want, her Husband and Sister from whom She derived some little support Banished, added to a Twelve Months Imprisonment, and a very long and continued illness, with neither friends or relations to render her the smallest assistance, again ventures to humbly Implore Your generous pity and Commiseration of Your Petitioners truly deplorable Situation, & that you will be graciously pleased to grant her such temporary, or other relief, as to your humane Minds may seem most Meet And your humble Petitioner as in Duty bound will ever pray Elizabeth Leach [own signature]
Annotated: Petition rejected, 21 Aug
95. [F25/1/206] Elizabeth Leach, Newgate, 2 September 1812
Honrd sir I humbly hope you will not bee offended with this your unhappy petitioner has it is a unfortunate female who was convicted on the 13th of July 1811 on a Charge of uttering a one pound forged Note my husband was convicted att the same time for a simelar offence and sentencd for 14 years transporttation and has Been sent away some months ago myself transport for the term of my Naturall Life and a Bad state of health prevents mee from being sent allso but am Left with these walls without a friend to assist mee or Commiseriate my unhappey Case who att the same time am Labouring under internall Complaints Deemed incureable by the faculty under these circumstances together with Extreem Distress hope you will consider mee an object of Compassion and be humanely pleesed to Extend that generossity to mee as you have formerly done to unfortunates in my situation in what manner or as small as shall meet your approbation will be thankfully and gratefully Received by your truly humbled servant Elizabeth Leach
Honrd sir I wish to add it is not my power to inform you where those fictious Notes came from for if I could I would Readily do so for the abolition of sush Nefarious practices but my husband Never would tell mee where hee had them from or who made them [written in her own hand]
96. [F25/1/63/208] William Wicks, Horsemonger Lane gaol, 10 April 1812, not Bank offender, offers information on Bank note forgers which he hopes will win him favours.
97. [F25/1/209] John Smith, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 13 September 1812
Sirs, I hope your goodness will forgive the liberty I now take in addressing you. I am an unfortunate man fallen a victim to the laws of my country and cannot but acknowledge the justice of my Conviction. My sincere and unfeigned contrition is the only atonement I can make, but I fear my crime is of such a magnitude that it cannot be pardoned, and as I have a poor distressed Wife, and three Children, whom must in the event of my Banishment become a Burthen on my parish, I humbly beg to solicit your aid and attention to my case
I hope Gentlemen it may not be inconsistant for me to intreat you will interfere for me that my Wife and three healthy Children may be sent to New South Wales in the first ship with me – it would not only render me happy, but relieve the parish of a very heavy expence, and they would become useful to the Government.
You will I hope Sympathize with me in this trying and unhappy case, and render me the Necessary Assistance that may be in your power, to obtain the disired object – And if you would be kind enough to extend your charitable hand toward me, bearing me a little pecuniary help, I should be ever bound to pray for you –I am inform'd that a Ship is now lying at Blackwall nearly ready to Sail for that Colony as such I hope you will Gentlemen allow me to crave your early attention to this my humble Letter, which would ever be in my remembrance, and acknowledged with gratitude – I should Gentlemen be extremely glad and my mind easy if you would condescend to favor me with a reply – and remain respectfully Sirs Your most obedt Highly oblidged Servant John Smith
98. [F25/1/210] William Middleton, Retribution hulk, Woolwich, 2 September 1812
Gentlemen I take the liberty of writing to you on the subject of my deplorable condition which I hope you will be kind enough to excuse. I am Sir's fallen in to this Sink of inequity, yet the punishment I cannot but acknowledge to be just, but the heartrending pains for the welfare of my poor dear family is a burthen my nature can scarcely support – I have a Wife and three small children without every means of Support – my property is consumed and nothing but poverty and distress stare them in the face.
Believe me Sirs this is a painful task, nor should I assume the liberty had you not extended your kindness already towards me and your phylanthropy so universally known.
I feel Gentlemen my crime to be of such a magnitude that it's not likely any thing should be done for me in this country, (notwithstanding I pledge this to be my only error) and as I am inform'd there is a draft shortly expected to be sent to New South Wales, I humbly intreat your influence to send me in the first Ship, so that I may by my Industry be enabled to send my Dear Wife and children a little support, but while I am confined here it is impossible, nor can I but feel a continual decay of health and strength. This I hope may induce you to comply with my humble solicitation and if you would be pleased to let your charity reach me, so that I may be enabled to purchase a few necessaries for the Voyage, and the immediate wants of my poor suffering family be relieved, I should be bound in all the ties of love and gratitude to pray for you to the latest moment of my life.
I'll not trespass longer but to beg you will condescend to favor me with an answer to this my humble Letter, which I shall ever hold gratefully in remembrance
I am Gentlemen very respectfully Your most humble and highly oblidged Servant Wm Middleton
99. [F25/1/211] Elizabeth Morris, Newgate, 3 December 1812
Honnoured Sir I hope you will Excuse the Liberty I have taken if you will be so kind to inform the worthy Gentleman of my Distressed situation having my Husband taken from me and has left me without any assistance with Two Small Children and in the family way now, and have not one Friend in the World to give me any Assistance hope your Goodness will Consider my Distress as I am under the Sentance of Transportation and Expect to go away very Shortly and owing to my Misfortune we have made away with the whole of our Cloathes I hope the Worthy Gentleman will take in Consideration the Distress of the Unfortunate Wife of Tomas Slater who was found Guilty in November for Uttering A one Pound Forged Note and having one in his Possession that was also Forged the smallest assistance the Gentleman will Render I shall be for ever Bound to pray for them as I never Expect to see my Husband any more Your Humble Servant Elizabeth Morris
100. [F25/1/212] Cathrine Watson, Newgate, undated [?December] 1812, formal petition
That your petitioner returns her most Gratefull thanks to the Gentlemen of the Bank in the liniency shewed Her in admitting her to plead guilty to the Minor Offence of having Forged Notes in her Possession in October Sessions last past at the Sessions House in the Old Baily
That your petitioner has two Small Helpless Infant Children Whom hitherto Scince her conviction She endeavoured to Support without craving any other assistance than Her own Means, but that now all her own Resources were out She most Humbly Implores that the Gentlemen of the Bank will take her distressed Case Into consideration And Grant her Such Pecunary Aid As in thier wisdom And Judgement Seems Meet And petitioner in duty Bound Will ever Pray &c &c Cathrine Watson her Mark
Annotated: To be allowed 7/6 per week during her stay in Newgate