The Life of ABRAHAM DEVAL
a Lottery Ticket Forger
Abraham Deval, who had been a clerk to the Lottery Office, at last took it into his head to coin tickets for himself, and had such good luck therein that he at one time counterfeited a certificate for L52 12s. 0d., for seven blank lottery tickets, in the year 1723. Two or three other facts of the same nature he perpetrated with the like success, but happening to counterfeit two blank tickets of the lottery in the year in which he died, they were discovered, and he thereupon apprehended and tried at the Old Bailey. On the first indictment, for want of evidence he was acquitted, upon which he behaved himself with great insolence, lolled out his tongue at the Court, and told them he did not value the second indictment. But herein he happened to be mistaken, for the jury found him guilty of that indictment and thereupon he received sentence of death accordingly.
Notwithstanding that impudence with which he had treated the Court at his trial, he complained very loudly of their not showing him favour; nay, he even pretended that he had not justice done him. This he grounded upon the score that the ticket he was indicted for was No. 39, in the 651st course of payment. Now it seems that in searching of his brother-in-law Parson's room, the original ticket was found, though very much torn, from whence Deval would have had it taken to be no more than a duplicate, and much blamed his counsel for not insisting long enough upon this point, which if he had done, Deval entertained a strong opinion that he could not have been convicted.
The apprehension of this and the uneasiness he was under with his irons made him pass his last moments with great unquietness and discontent. He said it was against the law to put men in irons, that fettering English subjects (except they attempted to break prisons) was altogether illegal. But after having raved at this rate for a small space, when he found it did him no good, and that there were no hopes of a reprieve, he even began to settle himself to the performance of those duties which became a man in his sad condition and when he did apply himself thereto, nobody could appear to have a juster sense than he of that miserable and sad condition into which the folly and wickedness of his life had brought him.
It is certain the man did not want parts, though sometimes he applied them to the worst of purposes, and was cursed with an insolent and overbearing temper which hindered him from being loved or respected anywhere, and which never did him any service but in the last moments of his life, where if it had not been for the severity of his behaviour, Julian, the black boy, would have been very troublesome, both to him and to the other person who was under sentence at the same time.
At the place of execution Deval owned the fact, but wished the spectators to consider whether for all that he was legally convicted, and so suffered in the thirtieth year of his age.
Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals