Newgate Calendar - JOSHUA CROMPTON

JOSHUA CROMPTON

Executed at Gangly-Green, near Guildford, in Surrey, July 31, 1778, for Forging Bank of England Notes

            IT would seem, from the manner in which this man was brought to justice, that forgery, a crime so dangerous in a commercial county, like murder, is not to remain long unpunished.

            After committing the very worst species of forgery, that of counterfeiting the notes of the Bank of England, he made his escape to France, from the prison to which he had been committed, on suspicion. From whence he was allured to return to England by a false friend, who had assured him of safety. He was immediately betrayed, and again committed to gaol. His trial came on at Guildford, on the 31st of July, 1778. His indictment contained two charges of forgery, and he was convicted on the following:

            "For forging, and uttering the same, knowing it to be forged, a certain instrument in writing, purporting to be a note of the Bank of England, dated the 5th of May, 1773, marked K, No. 56, payable to Thomas Harris, Esq. or bearer, on demand, signed by the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, and subscribed Thomas Grant."

            The testimony of several witnesses leaving little doubt of his guilt, he was condemned to death. He behaved becoming his unhappy situation. At the gallows he acknowledged his crime, and prayed the forgiveness of man, observing that he had firm reliance on, and that he had made his peace with, God. He prayed to God to forgive his false friend, who, he said, artfully drew him back to England, and was the means of hanging him for ten guineas. His unhappy fate was much lamented, while the surrounding crowd heaped execrations on the head of his betrayer. Of such a man, though his treachery tended to the public weal, we might almost be tempted to repeat, from Shakespeare,

 

"Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile;
"And cry content to that which grieves my heart,
"And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
"And frame my face to all occasions."

 

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