Reported On This Day 280 Years Ago (April 17 1739): Dick Turpin is guilty

The Belfast News Letter of April 6 1739 (April 17 in the modern calendar)
The Belfast News Letter of April 6 1739 (April 17 in the modern calendar)
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From the Belfast News Letter of April 6 1739 (which is April 17 1739 in the modern calendar):

Extract of a Letter from York, dated March 23.

Yesterday John Palmer, alias Richard Turpin, was tried here, and convicted upon two several Indictments for Horse-stealing: The Evidence was clear and full, and the Prisoner had little or nothing to say in his Defence.

He was proved by two Witnesses from Essex to be the notorious Richard Turpin (one of whom was Smith who taught him to write) and he himself owned his Name so to be, but said he was not the Richard Turpin he was taken for, but another Person of the same Name:

He said he had been a Butcher in Lincolnshire, and sailing there, retired into this Country, and took it upon himself the Name of Palmer, he did not apprehend any Danger from the first Accusation of shooting a Farmer’s Cock, and therefore tamely submitted to the Constable’s Authority; and after he was charged with Horse-stealing, he did not attempt to escape, left, if he did not succeed, and enquiry might be made after him, and a Discovery made who he was.

His Necessity in Goal forced him to get a Fellow Prisoner to write the Letter which he sign’d, and which pulled off the Mask and discovered him.

Since he was suspected to be Turpin, the whole Country have flock’d here to see him, and have been very liberal to him, insomuch that he has had Wine constantly before him till his Trial, and it is said the Goaler has made 100l. by selling Liquors to him and his Visitors.

Tho’ the Fellow has made a great Noise in the World, he’ll now die like a Dog.

A vast Number of Wagers have been lost on this account.

LONDON, March 27.

Great preparations are making at Norfolk -House for the baptizing the young Prince on Wednesday the 11th of April next; and the same is to be done by his Majesty’s Directions, and at his expence.

Last Week his Majesty was graciously pleased to order a certain portion of Wine to be delivered to each and every of the Household Servants, of what degrees soever, in all the Royal Palaces.

His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury is to christen his Highness, and we hear his Name is to be EDWARD. [George III’s brother and the Earl of Ulster]

We hear that the Board of Works having reported that there is insufficient Quantity of Ground in the Cotton Garden, for building a new Parliament-House, the two old Houses of Lords and Commons will stand till the same is perfected for the Parliament to meet in.

SCOTLAND. Edinburgh, March 26.

The Stables and other Out-houses of the Mansion-house of Egerton in Tevietdale, belonging to Sir John Rutherford, Bart. were lately consumed by Fire.

Yesterday Morning some young Gentlemen quarrelling at a House of bad Fame in the Cow-gate, one of them, a Student, was run into the Belly with a small Sword, so that his Life is in Danger.

RUSSIA. Petersburg,

A Courier arrived here from the Army in the Ukrain[sic], with Advice that 5,000 Budziack and Nogay Tartars came to the River Nieper; but Major General Bachmetoff, with a Body of regular Troops and some Cossacks entirely defeated those Tartars.


On the DEATH of JOHN O’NEILL of Shane’s-Castle, Esq; who departed this Life the 2d Day of April, 1739.

THE briny Tears do from our Eye-Balls flow;

But, shou’d we pay that Tribute which we owe,

Our circling Blood wou’d quit its wonted Course,

And burst each Channel with undaunted Force,

Then flow until our vital Warmth shou’d fail,

For THEE, the wife, the just, and best O’NEILL.

But since that Death is to the Good great Gain,

‘Tis only we have Reason to complain ...

Our Loss of THEE, who liv’d and dy’d without one Sain.

J. Mc-N.


Thursday last a Woman, aged 108, died in North Leith.

She subsisted herself by her own Industry, till she was upwards of 90; since that Time she has been on the Charity of the parish, which could not indeed refuse to support a decay’d Member, who in her Station had deserved so well