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March 29. only take a trip or two to Guinea, and TOUR
been for be will be qualified to practise any many years the vehicle which where.' This excited my curiosity and the late benevolent James Neild em- inquiry, and final rejection of the offer. ployed for conveying to the publick
“ An advertisement about this time his Remarks on Prisons, let me request appeared in the Newspapers, from a perthat you wouid also josert, as a pro
son styling bimself a jeweller; and of
this business I had formed some idea, per and interesting sequel, the Memoir of bis Life, written by himself,
from the good-nature of a Jew, who,
being a kind of itinerant jeweller, passed Jately published by Mr. T. J. Petti
through Knutsford every year, and seemgrew in the “ Memoirs of Dr. Lelt
ed pleased at the effect and inquiries som,” &c. The Silhouetle of Mr.
which the shewing me his box of stone Neild (See Pl. II.) is copied from buckles, buttons, &c. produced; a treaone first published among a series of ty was set on foot, and soon concluded. modern Characters distinguished by “I accordingly set out for London patriotism and benevolence, in Di. without either friend or recommendaLettsom', “Hints for promoting Be tion there, and arrived the latter end of neficence, &c.”
B. N. the year 1760. In a very short time “I was born May 24, 1744 (old style),
(about a month) I found my situation at Knutsford in Cheshire, in the neigh
very different to what I bad expected, bourhood of wbich my family possessed
and that the preservation of my characsome good estates. My father died when
ter required my immediate removal. I was too young to retain the slight
Without a single acquaintance, and not est remembrance of him, leaving myself,
much money in my pocket, I knew not three brothers, and one sister, to the
what to do. I wrote a particular accare of our mother, who carried on the and my aunt, who was a woman of sin
count of my situation to my mother; business of a linen-draper. She was a woman of merit and piety, and devoted gular merit and abilities, wrote to a genherself to the bringing up, and virtu- tleman, who had been an officer of high ously educating, her children. I passed rank in the Army: be interested bimthrough the ordinary course of educa- self so far as to get me released from my tion at the town wbere I was born, with then situation, and placed me with Mr. tolerable success, but quitted it before
Hemming, the King's goldsmith. After I was thirteen. A skilful perceptor
a short trial, I disliked the business ; would, about this time, have discovered but in this connexion I was enabled the true bent of my temper or disposi
to choose for myself, and soon agreed tion, from the manner in which I was with a jeweller. Having a nechanical struck, at seeing a print of Miss Blandy, turn, 1 bad here ample scope to indulge · in prison, sast bound in misery and in it; and in the latter part of my apprenirons, for poisoning her father; and ano- ticeship made many very curious arti. ther of Miss Jefferys and John Swan, clest, with which I waited upon several wbom she procured to shoot her uncle of the Nobility I and Gentry, who pa. and my frequent visits to the shop where tronized genius; and, among others, they were exbibited for sale. The real one of the Vice-presidents of the Society principles of action, and a character im- of Arts. Here I had frequent opporpressed by nature, are in this way most tunities of meeting men of genius and likely to be found; for the efforts of na learning, and of cultivating acquaintture * will very rarely, if ever, deceive.
ance, which was of the greatest service “ After quitting school, I went to
to me afterwards. We had an old Gerlive with my uncle, who farmed one of man in our shop, a good Chemist, and bis own estates; with him I continued he took great pleasure in communicating about i wo years, but not liking the farm knowledge to me; till, in one of my exing business, I solicited my mother to
periments, I bad nearly destroyed myput me apprentice to some irade or pro- self, and blown up the workshop. This fession. An opportunity presented it- put an end to my chemistry, in which self, and Doctor Leaf, of Prescot, near
the injudicious use of quicksilver bad Liverpool, (all surgeons and apothécaries likewise done my nerves some injury. in the country are called Doctors) was
To the stated hours of work I generally desirous of having me; but in the conclusion of his letter be says, “ After Mr.
+“One of which was a man of war in Neild's five years are expired, he needs full sail, with guns on board, which I set
in the head of a ring." * “ Ulysses adopted this mode to dis I“Dukeof Marlborough, Countess Wel. cover Achilles."
deren, Ladies Gage, Gideon, and Banks." GENT. MAG. April, 1817.
added one or two daily; sometimes frightened in Newgate that I durst not learning to engrave; sometimes to mo venture down. So, puiting threepence del, sometimes to draw. I was ex. into tbe turnkey's hand, for a pot of beer, tremely assiduous in whatever I began, was glad when I got into the street again. but wanted patience to make myself I concluded that all the gaols in which perfect, before a fresh pursuit engaged felons were confined were the same, and my attention. I learned to fence toler. my curiosity would bring me to some ably well, and was very expert with the mischief, therefore dropt tbe pursuit. single stick. In 1762 the young man In 1766, being then in my 22d year, I (W. Pickett) who had been my elder bad a desire to see my friends iu Cheapprentice, gol embarrassed, and thrown sbire ; but I took the stage only to into the King's Bench for debt. As soon Derby, intending to pass one day there, as I was acquainted with bis situation, I to see if the gaol was like those in town. visited bim. There ap.peared nothing This gaol had not been long built, and of wbat I conceived to be a prison except the situation was both airy and healthy; the door of admission, and higb walls. there was a large dungeon in it down a There was a coffee-room and a tap-room, few steps, but in every respect it was so both filled with persunis drinking, though much better than Newgate or Woudit was Sunday, and I had never before street, that it gave me courage to visit seen such a number of profligates and others before my return. The culiveyprostitutes, unabashed, without fears, ance by the Duke of Bridgewater's Canal without blushes. I thought, to be sure, to Warrington cost me but sixpence ; all the wicked people in London bad and for about half a crowu more I reachgut together there With this inpres- ed Liverpool, and from thence to Chession I hastened to his mother's, who ter for a few shillings. As I had never lived in Denmark-street, and told her to seen either of these places, I carefully get him out directly, or he would be concealed the motives of nuy visits, parlost he would be ruined for ever. I ticularly from my uncle, who doated visited him several times during his con upon me, and made his will during my finenient, which was not of long dura- stay, in which he left me almost she tion, nor did it seen any punishment: whole of his property. At Liverpool he felt much less for hi.nsell than I felt there was the same promiscuous interfor him. What became of him after he course of the sexes, the same drunkenwas liberated I know not: I believe he ness going forward, wbich I had observed went to sea: I never saw him afier. in London; but the dungeons were wards. My ideas of a prison not being worse, and so very offensive I did not at all answered in the King's Bench, I stay to examine into them. In the procured admission into Newgate, as far Bridewell I saw a ducking-stool conas the press-yard and the room extending plete, the first I bad ever seen ; we had over the street, which had a windmill iwo at Knutsford: one in a pond near ventilator. In this room all the prison. the Higher Town, and another in a pond ers were in irons, and amongst them, near the Lower Town, where the school. olle, a very stout man, seemingly at the boys were accustomed to bathe : in point of death. The tap-room was light. tbese, scolding and brawling wonen ed by lamps, though it was noon day, were ducked; but the standard in each, and struck me with horror : the shock. was all that remained in my memory. ing imprecations, and the rattling of the I never remembered them used, but this chains, the miserable wretches ragged at Liverpool enables me to describe it. and drunk, frightened me so, that it was A standard was fixed for a long pole, at some time belore I durst venture into the extremity of which was fastened a another prison. I had gone alone into chair, on this the woman was placed, the tap, without knowing any person for and soused tbree times under water till whom I could inquire, and was glad to almost suffocated. At Liverpool, the leave a shilling for a gallon of beer to standard was fixed in the court, and a secure my person from insult.
bath made on purpose for ducking ; but “ About six months afterwards, go- why in a prison this wanton and dangering down Wood-street when a felon was Oxs severity was exercised on women, being taken to gaol, I went and peeped and not on men, I could no where learn, through the apertures of the wooden- This mode of punishment seems formerly grated door, and the turnkey said I to have been general, for it is in the might go in; yes, but, says I, will you let memory of persons now (1806) living, te out again? he said he would ; so in when a machine of this kind was in the I went, and looking down a very long Green Park. This, bowever, was not flight of steps, a cellar seemed full of the only cruel punishment used at this people in irons, drinking; this was call- Bridewell, for the women were flogged ed the tap-room, but I had been so weekly at the wbipping-post. In the
polite city of Chester I expected to find William Burnaby, bart. who resided better prisons ; a better police I cer there, but be was not willing to accomtainly did. The keeper appeared to me pany me to the prison in the Citadel, to be a civil humane man; but, as I and I could not gain admittance. When went down steps, near seven yards be we arrived at Paris, I got, through the low the court, to visit the dungeons, I interest of a bookseller, admission into almost now feel the borror with wbich I
a prison called Fou l'Eveque, and Petit was then struck. There were six of Chatelet. The dungeuns were dreadful, them, very small, and as dark as pitch; and, I'tben thought, worse than any i three feions slept in each every night; had seen in England. There were sevenot a breath of air but wbat was admitted ral prisoners in both, but I think not in through a small hole in the door. The irons. My recollection of them is, howsame drinking and intercourse of the ever, very imperfect. Col. (afterwards sexes as in Liverpool and London. The Sir Eyre) Coote lodged in the same hodungeon of the North-gale was yet tel with us, and I made application to worse than those of the Castle; it was see the Bastille, but was unsuccessful. nearly as deep, and had 14 inches deep Mr. Evans said he believed I was prisonof water in it. These subterraneous mad, and that my impertinent curiosity places, which are totally dark, are be would perhaps send us both to prison : yond imagination horrid and dreadful. after this reproof I was silent on the On my return to London I do not recol subject. He however accompanied me lect visiting any prisons ; till, in 1768, I to many of the hospitals, which appeared re-visited my native county, calling at to be affectionately attended by some Derby as before. My uncle died soon female religious order : and this I obo after I came dowli, having quitted the served in the provincial gauls, which in farming business in a short time after I my several visits to France I visited. left bim in 1760. I was now out of my On my return home I found I had lost apprenticeship, and had taken up my a diamond ring, in the pare of which some freedom of the city. This year I em sbarpers had substituted one of paste. ployed myself in embanking some mea “ Fresh imported from Paris, from dow land to protect my tenant from whence I had brought many curious aragain suffering the great loss which the ticles, my shop soon became visited by floods of a preceding year had occa carriages, and I found my business insioned. The large sum of money requi crease beyond my capital; but I found site to set up as a jeweller, made me he no difficulty in borrowing 5001. ; which, sitate whether I sbo go into business
with the frugal management of my aunt or not. The first thing I did was to in my household concerns, soon opened pay off the legacies and incumbrances' flattering prospects. In 1772 a sermon on my fatber's estate, which I did by was prearhed, on behalf of persons imselling some detached property. My prisoped for small debts, at which I was rental then was not sufficient to support present. A general approbation of the me as a gentleman, and I returned to idea was declared, and a few of us London to consult my friends. They formed ourselves into a committee, and were unanimously in favour of trade, visited the prisons to search ont proper and their opinion was decisive. In objects. The distress and extreme 1770 I settled in St. James's-street, and wretchedness to which we were eye-witimmediately made it known to those pesses, derermined us to lay an account ladies and gentlemen who, when I was before the publiek, who instantly caught an apprentice, had promised me their the flame, and enabled us to reach out support. At this time French fashions the hand of pity to a very large number were prevalent, and I thought a trip to of miserable sufferers i confinement. Paris would give me a sauction and ad. “ In May 1778, the Society for the vantage. My house was under the care Relief and Discharge of persons impriof my excellent aunt, and I left my soned for Small Debts, was instituted or sbop io the care of a jeweller with whom formed ; and, in 1774, I was unaniI had been long acquainted, and set out, mously elected the Treasurer. At this accompanied by Mr. Thomas Evans, time I visited some of the prisons in and bookseller, of King-street, Covent Gar about the metropolis, and reported upon den.
This gentleman could speak them every week. The finances of our French Auently, and had several Cor- Society increased, and my visits and inrespondents at Paris. On our arrival at quiries extended; so that in a few years Calais we went to see the prison, and I had travelled over a very considerable likewise at St. Omer's and Dunkirk, part of the kingdom. and + be city prison at Lille ; there were, «In 1778 1 married the eldest daughI think, no prisoners in any of them. ter of John Camden, of Battersea, esq. by Some years afterwards, I visited Sir whom I had two sons and a daughter.