ANTHONY DE ROSA
Hanged at Tyburn for robbery and murder, 23rd March, 1752
THIS malefactor was the son of an Englishman of Portuguese extraction; but his father, going abroad, settled in one of the Bermuda Islands, where be married a Portuguese woman, and Anthony was the first child of that marriage.
His father, being at different times master of several vessels which traded up the Mediterranean, brought his son up as a seaman, and he continued with him till the old gentleman's death; but, when that event happened, he engaged himself as mate in another vessel, in which station be remained about two years.
The vessel putting into the port of Lisbon, De Rosa embarked on hoard an English man of war bound to Ireland, and afterwards to this kingdom. When the ship's crew were paid off he quitted the naval service, lived in an idle manner, and supported himself some time by forging seamen's wills and powers. After this he became acquainted with Emanuel De Rosa, and one Fullagar, with whom he combined in the commission of robberies.
On the 11th of June, 1751, Mr. William Farques, a young gentleman who lived in London, went to dine with his uncle, who kept an academy at Hoxton; and, having staid to supper, left the house about a quarter after ten o'clock, on his return to town.
Between eleven and twelve o'clock on the night the murder was committed, Mr. Hendrop, of Hoxton, was going home to his house, when, seeing two men standing by a person lying on the ground, be asked what was the matter; to which one of them replied, 'I believe there is a gentleman murdered.' Mr. Hendrop took hold of his hand, and found it warm. He then lifted up the body of the wounded man, who seemed to attempt to speak, but was unable. He then observed that the body was bloody, and felt some blood withinside the clothes; on which he went to a public house in the neighbourhood, where, meeting some men who had a lantern, he returned with them to the spot; but the party was then dead, though by the clothes it was known to be Mr. William Farques; on which the body was carried to the house of his uncle.
The coroner took an inquisition on this occasion, when the verdict of the jury was 'Wilful murder by persons unknown.' We have mentioned that this affair happened on the night of the 11th of June; but a discovery of the perpetrators of it did not arise till above six months afterwards.
On the 26th of December Emanuel Be Rosa was apprehended as a disorderly person, and lodged in Bridewell, where the terrors of his conscience on the reflection of the murder were so great, that he determined to make a discovery of the affair, at once to ease his mind, and preserve his life by becoming an evidence for the crown.
Having informed the keeper of Bridewell of his intention, he then sent to Anthony De Rosa to come and see him; on which he was taken into custody, having in his pocket a knife with which he had stabbed the deceased.
Emanuel De Rosa, having given in his deposition before a magistrate, was admitted an evidence; and, when the trial came on at the Old Bailey, he swore to the following particulars:--
That he had been acquainted with the prisoner about three years, and had been concerned with him in forgery, and defrauding people of money; that the prisoner came to his lodgings, near the Maypole, in East Smithfield, about nine o'clock on the night the robbery was committed; that they went together to the Minories, where they found Fullagar; when all three of them went down Houndsditeh, into Moorfields, towards the Barking Dogs (a public house opposite the late Mr. Whitefield's tabernacle), where many people were then walking. The prisoner said he wanted money that night, and bade them come along, and not be afraid of anything. They walked backwards and forwards for some time, thinking it was too soon to attack anybody, as the clock had not then struck ten.
The prisoner soon afterwards said 'Let us cross over that road,' meaning by the Barking Bogs; and the gentleman who was murdered was coming alone in the middle of the path, when the prisoner asked him for his money. Mr. Farques said, 'Gentlemen, I have no money for myself.' Upon this Fullagar gave him two or three blows on the head with a stick, which had a piece of iron on its head. Hereupon the gentle man turned round, on which Fullagar struck him on the back of the head; but, as he did not fall, Anthony De Rosa bade the evidence hold his arm, which he did, and the other drew a knife, and stabbed him five or six times in the breast and body, as fast as he could repeat the blows; and Fullagar at the same time striking him near the ear, he fell against the pales. The prisoner and Fullagar now searched his pockets, and the former produced eleven shillings only.
The murderers now went together to the Nag's Head, on Tower Hill, and drank two pots of beer; and there the evidence received two shillings as his share of the plunder. About ten o'clock the next morning the prisoner called on the evidence, and bade him take care of himself, for that he and Fullagar were going down to Chatham.
The reader is already apprised of the circumstance which led to the apprehension of Anthony De Rosa, on whose trial the knife with which he had stabbed Mr. Farques was produced; yet he steadily denied having any concern in the wicked transaction, and attempted to set up a defence, by endeavouring to prove an alibi: for Dorothy Black and her son swore that on the 11th of June the prisoner had a cold; and the woman added that she gave him a sweat, and that he was not out of her house one minute during the whole day and night; and this latter circumstance was likewise sworn to by the son.
No credit, however, was given to the testimony of these evidences; the jury found the prisoner guilty, and the Court directed that Dorothy Black and her son should be taken into custody, to be tried for perjury.
At the time of trial the prisoner was exceedingly debilitated by illness; but, being considerably recovered in about ten days, he was advised to make a full confession of the barbarous fact for which his life was so soon to pay the forfeit, and to consider the consequence of dying in the solemn attestation of a falsehood.
In reply to this serious exhortation he said 'I am as innocent as the child unborn'; and, being farther urged on the subject, he exclaimed 'Would you have me own myself guilty of what I know no more of than you do? I know, if I be guilty and deny it, I must send my soul to the bottom of hell, which I hope I know better than to do.'
He was equally obstinate at the place of execution in denying the fact for which he suffered, solemnly declaring to the last that ho knew nothing of the matter.
He was hanged at Tyburn on the 23d of March, 1752.
The horrid nature and unprovokedness of the crime which cost this man his life is almost without example. To the honour of this country he it remarked, that the instances of murder in consequence of robbery are fewer with us than in most of the other kingdoms of Europe; and we hope they will be fewer than they have been.
The source of De Rosa's misfortunes appears to have been idleness; for, if he had followed the lawful calling in which he was brought up, be might have lived happy in himself, and been an useful member of society: instead of which be was cut off in the prime of life, (for he was only twenty-eight years of age when he suffered,) and became an object of public contempt and abhorrence.
Of all things, then, let youth avoid idleness: let them consider that industry is the road to riches and honour; let them remember and apply the words of the poet:--
In works of labour or of skill, I would he busy too; For Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do.'