JACK GOODWIN ALIAS PLUMP
A young but expert Thief, who was executed at Tyburn in 1706 for Burglary
WHEN silver tankards were more in vogue in the ale houses than they are at present, this fellow, going into one to drink, called for a tankard of ale, which being brought, he drank it off, and having cut out the bottom of it, paid the victualler for his liquor, who, seeing the tankard on the table, had no suspicion that any damage had been done it. But shortly after some other company came in, and the tapster, running into the cellar to fill for them the tankard which Mr Goodwin had been fingering, wondered to see the cock run and the tankard never the fuller, whereupon, turning it up, he could find no more bottom in it than mariners can in the ocean.
Another time Jack Goodwin, being in the country as far as Durham, and destitute of money, happened to meet with another idle companion, with whom he made a bargain to beg their way up to London; and in order to excite people's pity the more, his new companion was to act the part of a blind man, and he was to be his guide, instead of a dog and a bell. So getting a pennyworth of cereing wax, with which tailors cere the edges of silk and slight stuffs, Jack Goodwin, mollifying it over a candle, daubed his comrade's eyelids therewith, insomuch that he could not open them.
Our couple, thus proceeding on their journey, had, by their cruising or begging through the counties, picked up about the sum of four pounds, sixteen shillings; by that time they had got up to Ware.
Next, making the best of their way up to London, within ten or eleven miles of the same, having to cross a small brook over a narrow wooden bridge, with a rail but on one side of it for the convenience of foot passengers, when they were upon it Goodwin threw his blind comrade into the water, where he stood up to the neck, but moving neither one way nor the other, for fear of being drowned. In the meantime his guide made straight to London. Soon afterwards, some passengers coming by took pity on the fellow, supposing him to be really blind; they helped him out of the brook, and setting him on terra firma, he presently, by their directions, arrived at a house, where, getting some warm water, he washed his eyelids, and having got them opened he marched after his fellow traveller to London, where he might hunt about long enough before he found him out, for Jack had got into some ill house or another, where he was as safe as a thief in a mill.
The Duke of Bedford visiting a person of quality one night very late, whilst the footmen were gone to drink at some adjacent boozing ken, or ale house, and the coach man was taking a nap on his box, Jack Goodwin, coming by at the same time with some of his thieving cronies, took the two hind wheels off the coach and supported it up with two pieces of wood, which they got out of a house which was being built hard by.
On his Grace not long after going into his coach, and the footmen getting up behind in a hurry, no sooner did the horses begin to draw but down fell his Grace, footmen and all; who, looking to see how the accident came, found the hind wheels were stolen; whereupon the Duke was obliged to go home in a hackney coach.
This John Goodwin, alias Plump, was condemned, when he was but eleven years of age, for picking a merchant's pocket of one hundred and fifty guineas, and was afterwards several times in great danger of his life before justice took hold of him in earnest.
At last, committing a burglary in company with another, when he was but eighteen years of age, he was apprehended and carried before Sir Thomas Stamp, knight and alderman of London, where, after he was examined, being searched, several cords were found in his pocket; upon which his Worship asked Goodwin of what trade he was. He replied: "A tailor."
Then Sir Thomas, taking up the cords and looking suspiciously on them, quoth: "You use, methinks, very big thread." "Yes, Sir" said Goodwin, "for it is generally coarse work which I'm employed about." Next searching his comrade, Henry Williams, a pistol was found loaded in his bosom; upon which Sir Thomas asked him also of what trade he was. He replied: "A tailor too." "What! Both tailors?" said his Worship. "And pray what implement is this belonging to your trade? Quoth Williams: "That pistol, Sir, is my needle case."
To conclude, Sir Thomas was so astonished at their impudence that he immediately made out their mittimus for Newgate, and being tried at Justice Hall, in the Old Bailey, they were both condemned to die, and soon after executed, at Tyburn, in 1706.