Apprenticed as a Thief and became an expert Housebreaker. Executed at Tyburn in 1704
THIS malefactor, Harvey Hutchins, was born of honest parents, his father being a sword-blade maker by trade, who, when this unhappy son came to be about fourteen years of age, put him apprentice to a silversmith in Shrewsbury, but pilfering very often from his master, he had him sent at last to Shrewsbury Jail.
In this prison the young lad became acquainted with some London thieves, who, following their calling in the county of Salop, were also committed to the same jail, and Hutchins, hearing them tell of the several notable and ingenious robberies that were committed in and about London by some of the chief masters of their profession, was resolved to make the best of his way thither after he obtained his liberty.
About three or four months after his confinement came the assizes, when, being tried, and whipped at the cart's tail, upon his friends paying his fees he got his enlargement and came up to Islington, where he lurked about the town, and took up his lodging in a barn. But his mind still ran upon the ingenuity of the topping thieves in London, particularly one Constantine, whom, for the fine stories he had heard told of him, he admired above the rest.
At last he moved into the great metropolis, where, getting acquainted with some young pickpockets, he inquired among them for Constantine, who told him he might be found at one Snotty-nose Hill's, who kept the Dog Tavern in Newgate Street. The young Salopian, being overjoyed at finding out where Mr Constantine used, one evening goes to the Dog Tavern to inquire, saying, after his country dialect or tone, he had "vary ennest business wod him." The drawer presently went upstairs to Mr Constantine, who was then drinking with a great many of his thieving fraternity.
Constantine ordered him to be brought up to the stair- head, where, coming out to him, quoth he: "What is your business with me?" He answered: "Vy, mester, I heve ben in Shrewsbury Joil, vere haring a grot monny vine stories of yoa, by zum gentlemen that vare prosnert with me, I am come up to London on porpus to beand myzelf prontice to yow." Hereupon Constantine could not forbear smiling at the lad's fancy, and taking him into the room, where he repeated the story to his company, it caused a great deal of laughter among them.
He gave the boy sixpence and a glass or two of wine, and bade him be sure to come to him at the same place about seven the next night, and he would take him upon trial, and according as he found him tractable, diligent and acute in his business he would take him apprentice. The boy, overjoyed at this good fortune (as he unhappily thought it), took his leave, and, according to order, was next night at the Dog Tavern punctually at the hour appointed, where his master,
Constantine, was ready to go with him upon a trial of skill; which was this. Constantine having stolen a silver tankard, about three months before, out of an ale- house in Cheapside, had, nevertheless, been there in disguise several times after; and observing much plate still in use about the house told the boy the story going along the street, and promised him that if he could carry off another clean, and bring it to him at a certain house in Whitechapel, he would certainly take him apprentice, and make a man of him when he was out of his apprenticeship, at the same time intimating to him that the house was just before him, where he was going to drink.
The boy took his story right, but just as his master was come to the house, pulling him by the sleeve, quoth he: "Mester, Mester, can yow ran well?" "Yes," replied his master, "as well as most men in England; I have often outran hundreds together before now." "Weel then," said the boy, "if you can ran well, ne'er fear but we'll hove a tonkad." Into the house Constantine goes first, calling for a room.
The boy followed him to the bar, as his servant, and with a loud voice asked the man of the house if he did not lose a silver tankard about three months ago. "Yes," replied he. Constantine, overhearing this, took as fast as he could to his heels, the boy at the same time crying out: "That was the man that stole it." Upon which the victualler and the servants ran presently out in pursuit of him, but to no purpose, for he was out of sight in an instant, and in the meantime the boy took another silver tankard out of the bar, and got safely to the place appointed by his master; who no sooner saw him but he fell a-cursing and damning, and sinking at him like a madman, for putting him into such bodily fear, withal telling him that if he had been taken he should have been certainly hanged by the best neck he had. "But," quoth he, "sirrah, have you got a tankard?"
"Yes," replied the boy, and taking it from under his coat gave it him, saying at the same time: "Mester, if yow hed not virst assored me thet yow cud ran well, I wud a gut et sum udder vay." Harvey very truly and honestly served out his time with his master.
Then, setting up for himself, he had very pretty business in housebreaking, and lived very creditably and handsomely among those of his profession for about nine years, in and about the cities of London and Westminster, and in that time had often paid scot-and-lot to Newgate and other jails about town; but at last, being apprehended for breaking open a Jew's house at Duke's Place, and robbing it of above four hundred pounds in money and plate, he was hanged at Tyburn, in 1704, aged twenty- six years.