« EdellinenJatka »
As soon as they were come to the door, (for within the door there was scarce room for them to come) the foreman, who led them lifting up his hand, said, Lord, bless me, what a sight is here! I did not think there had been so much cruelty in the hearts of Englishmen, to use Englishmen in this manner! We need not now question, said he to the rest of the jury, how this man came by his death ; we may ra. ther wonder that they are not all dead; for this place is enough to breed an infection among them. Well, added he, if it please God to lengthen my life till to-morrow, I will find means to let the king know how his subjects are dealt with
Whether he did so or no, I cannot tell; but I am apt to think that he applied himself to the mayor, or the sheriffs of London. For the next day one of the sheriffs, called Sir William Turner, a woollen-draper in Paul's yard, came to the press yard ; and having ordered the porter of Bridewell to attend him there; sent up a turnkey amongst us to bid all the Bride. well prisoners come down to him ; for they knew us not ; but we knew our own company.
Being come before him in the press-yard, he looked kindly on us, and spake courteously to us. Gentlemen, said he, I understand the prison is very full, and I am sorry for it. I wish it were in my power to release you, and the rest of your friends that are in it. But since I cannot do that, I am willing to do what I can for you. And therefore I am come
hither to enquire how it is ; and I would have all you who came from Bridewell, return thi. ther again, which will be a better accommo. dation to you, and your removal will give the more room to 'those that are left behind; and here is the porter of Bridewell, your old keeper, to attend you thither.
We duly acknowledged the favour of the sheriff to us and our friends above, in this removal of us; which would give them more room, and us a better air. But before we parted from him, I spake particularly to him on another occasion, which was this.
When we came into Newgate, we found a shabby fellow there among the Friends, who upon inquiry we understood had thrust himself among our Friends, when they were taken at a meeting, on purpose to be sent to prison with them, in hopes to be maintained by them.
They knew nothing of him, till they found him shut in with them in the prison ; and then took no notice of him, as not knowing how or why he came thither. But he soon gave them cause to take notice of him ; for where. ever he saw any victuals brought forth for them to eat, he would be sure to thrust in with knife in hand, and make himself his own carver. And so impudent was he, that if he saw the provision was short, whoever wanted, he would be sure to take enough.
Thus lived this lazy drone upon the labours of the industrious bees, to his high content, and their no small trouble ; to whom his com
pany was as offensive, as his ravening was oppressive ; nor could they get any relief by their complaining of him to the keepers.
This fellow hearing the notice which was given for the Bridewell men to go down, in order to be removed to Bridewell again, and hoping no doubt, that fresh quarters would produce fresh commons, and that he should fare better with us than where he was, thrust himself amongst is, and went down into the press-yard with us.
Which I knew not of, till I saw him standing there with his hat on, and looking as demurely as he could, that the sheriff might take him for a Quaker ; at sight of which my spirit was much stirred.
Wherefore, as soon as the sheriff had done speaking to us, and we had made our acknowledgment of his kindness, I stept a little nearer to him, and pointing to that fellow, said, That man is not only none of our company, for he is no Quaker, but is an idle dissolute fellow, who hath thrust himself in among our Friends to be sent to prison with them, that he might live upon them; therefore I desire we may not be troubled with him at Bridewell.
At this the sheriff smiled; and calling the fellow forth, said to him, How came you to be in prison? I was taken at a meeting, said he; But what business had you there? said the sheriff. I went to hear, said he. Aye, you went upon a worse design, it seems, replied the sheriff; but I will disappoint you, said he; for I will change your company, and send you
to them that are like yourself. Then calling for the turnkey, he said, Take this fellow and put him among the felons; and be sure let him not trouble the Quakers any more.
Hitherto this fellow had stood with his hat on, as willing to have passed if he could for a Quaker ; but as soon as he heard this doom passed on him, off went his hat, and to bowing and scraping he fell, with Good, your worship, have pity upon me, and set me at liberty. No, no, said the sheriff, I will not so far disappoint you ; since you had a mind to be in prison, in prison you shall be for me. Then bidding ihe turnkey take him away, he had him up, and put him among the felons; and so Friends had a good deliverance from him.
The sheriff then bidding us farewell, the porter of Bridewell came to us, and told us we knew our way to Bridewell without him, and he could trust us ; therefore he would not stay nor go with us, but left us to take our own time, so we were in before bed-time.
Then went we up again to our Friends in Newgate, and gave them an account of what had passed; and having taken a solemn leave of them, we made up our packs to be gone. But before I pass from Newgate, I think it not amiss, to give the reader some little account of what I observed while I was there.
The common side of Newgate is generally accounted, as it really is, the worst part of that. prison; not so much from the place as the people; it being usually stocked with the veri
est rogues, and meanest sort of felons and pick-pockets, who not being able to pay chamber.rent on the master's side, are thrust in there. And if they come in bad, to be sure they do not go out better; for here they have an opportunity to instruct one another in their art, and impart each to other what improve. ments they have made therein.
The common hall, which is the first room over the gate, is a good place to walk in, when the prisoners are out of it, saving the danger of catching some cattle, which they may have left in it: and there I used to walk in a morning before they were let up, and sometimes in the day-time when they have been there.
They all carried themselves respectfully to. wards me, which I imputed chiefly to this; that when any of our women Friends came there to visit the prisoners, if they had not relations of their own there, to take care of them, I, as being a young man, and more at leisure than most others, (for I could not play the tailor there) was forward to go down with them to the grate, and see them safe outa And sometimes they have left money in my hands for the felons, who at such times were very importunate beggars, which I forthwith distri. buted among them in bread, which was to be had in the place. But so troublesome an of fice it was, that I thought one had as good have had a pack of hungry hounds about one, as these when they knew there was a dole to bę