Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Lives of Remarkable Criminals: Charles Weaver


a Murderer

Hastiness of temper and yielding to all the rash dictates of anger, as it is an offence the most unworthy a rational creature, so it is attended also with consequences as fatal as any other crime whatever. A wild expression thrown out in the heat of passion has often cost men dearer than even a real injury would have done, had it been offered to the same person. A blow intended for the slightest has often taken away life, and the sudden anger of a moment produced the sorrow of years, and has been, after all, irreparable in its effect.

Charles Weaver, of whom we are now speaking, was the son of parents in very good circumstances in the city of Gloucester, who put him apprentice to a goldsmith. He served about four years of his time with his master, and having in that space run out into so much lewdness and extravagance that his friends refused any longer to supply or to support him, he then thought fit to go into the service of the Queen, as a soldier, and in that capacity went over with those who were sent into America to quell the Indians. These people were at that time instigated by the French to attack our plantations on the main near which they lay. The greater part of these poor creatures were without European arms, yet several amongst them had fusees, powder and ball from the French, with which, being very good marksmen, they did abundance of mischief from their ambuscades in the woods.

At the time Weaver served against them, they were commanded by one Ouranaquoy, a man of a bloody disposition, great courage and greater cunning. He had commanded his nation in war against another Indian nation, from whom he took about forty prisoners, who according to the Indian custom were immediately destined to death; but being prevailed upon, by the presence of the French, to turn his arms against the English, on the confines of whose plantations he had gained his last victory, Ouranaquoy having sent for the prisoners he had taken before him, told them that if they would fall upon a village about three miles distant, he would not only give them their liberty, but also such a reward for the scalp of every Englishman, woman or child, they brought. They readily agreed on these terms and immediately went and plundered the village.

The English army lay about seven miles off, and no sooner heard of such an outrage committed by such a nation, but they immediately attacked the people to whom the prisoners belonged, marching their whole army for that purpose against the village, which if we may call it so, was the capital of their country. By this policy Ouranaquoy gained two advantages, for first he involved the English in a war with the people with whom they had entertained a friendship for twenty years, and in the next place gained time, while the English army were so employed, to enter twenty-five miles within their country, destroying fourscore whites and three hundred Indians and negroes. But this insult did not remain long unrevenged, for the troops in which Weaver served arriving immediately after from Europe, the army (who before they had done any considerable mischief to the people against whom they marched, had learnt the stratagem by which they had been deceived by Ouranaquoy) returned suddenly into his country, and exercised such severities upon the people thereof that to appease and make peace with the English the chiefs sent them the scalps of Ouranaquoy, his three brothers and nine sons.

On Weaver's return into England from this expedition, he shipped himself again as a recruit for that army which was then commanded by the Earl of Peterborough in Spain. He served also under the Duke of Ormond when his grace took Vigo, and Weaver had the good luck to get some hundred pounds for his share in the booty, but that money which he, in his thoughts, had designed for setting himself up in England, being insensibly squandered and decayed, he was obliged to list himself again, and so became a second time spectator of the taking of Vigo under the Lord Cobham.

While he served in the second regiment of Foot-guards, he behaved himself so well as to engage his officer to take him into his own house, where he lived for a considerable space; and he had been twice actually reviewed in order to his going into the Life-guards, when he committed the act for which he died, which according to the evidence given at his trial happened thus. He was going into a boat in company with Eleanor Clark, widow, and Edward Morris. After they were in the boat, some words arising, the woman bid Weaver pay Morris what he owed him, upon which Weaver in a great passion got up, and endeavoured to overturn the boat with them all. But Thomas Watkins, the waterman, preventing that, Weaver immediately drew his sword, and swore he would murder them all, making several passes at them as if he had firmly intended to be as good as his word. The men defended themselves so well as to escape hurt, and endeavoured all they could to have preserved the woman, but Weaver making a pass, the sword entered underneath her left shoulder, and thereby gave her a wound seven inches deep, after which she gave but one groan and immediately expired. For this bloody fact Weaver was tried and convicted, and thereupon received sentence of death.

During the space between the passing of sentence and its execution an accident happened which added grievously to all his misfortunes. His wife, big with child, coming about a fortnight before his death to see him in Newgate, was run over by a dray and killed upon the spot. Weaver himself, though in the course of the life he had led he had totally forgot both reading and writing, yet came duly to prayers, and gave all possible marks of sorrow and repentance for his misspent life, though he all along pretended that the woman's death happened by accident, and that he had had no intent to murder her. He suffered the 8th day of February, 1722-3, being at that time about thirty years of age.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals