Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Lives of Remarkable Criminals: James Harman



James Harman was the son of a merchant in the City of London, who took care to furnish his son with such an education as enabled him, when about fourteen years of age, to be removed to the University. His behaviour there was like that of too many others, spent in diversities instead of study, and in a progression of vice, instead of improving in learning. After having been there about three years, and having run into such debts as he saw no probability of discharging, he was forced to leave it abruptly; and his father, much grieved at this behaviour, bought him an ensign's commission in the army, where he continued in Jones's Regiment till it was disbanded. Then, indeed, being forced to live as he could, and the assistance of friends, though large, yet no ways suited to his expenses, he became so plunged in debt and other misfortunes that he was in necessity of going over to the Mint, where reflecting on his own follies, he became very reserved and melancholy. He would probably have quite altered his course of life if opportunity had offered, or if he had not fallen in that company which by a similarity of manner induced him to fall into the commission of such crimes as would not probably have otherwise entered his head.

The fact which he and the before-mentioned Davis committed, was their first and last attempt, but Mr. Harman, all the time he lay under sentence (without suffering himself to be amused by expectations of success from those endeavours which he knew his friends used to save his life,) accustomed himself to the thoughts of death, performing all the duties requisite from a person of his condition for atoning the evils of a misspent life, and making his peace with that Being from whom he had received so great a capacity of doing well, and which he had so much abused.

Having spent the whole time of his confinement after this manner, he did not appear in any degree shocked or confounded when his name being to the death warrant left him no room to doubt of what must be his fate. At the place of execution he appeared not only perfectly easy and serene, but with an air of satisfaction that could arise only from the peace he enjoyed within. Being asked if he had anything to say to the people, he rose up, and turning towards them said, "I hope you will all make that use of my being exposed to you as a spectacle which the Law intends, and by the sight of my death avoid such acts as may bring you hither, with the same Justice that they do me."

He suffered about the twenty-fifth year of his age, the 28th of August, 1724, at Tyburn.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals