Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Lives of Remarkable Criminals: Thomas Butlock


a Thief

The foolish pride of wearing fine clothes and making a figure has certainly undone many ordinary people, both by making them live beyond what their labour or trade would allow, and by inducing them to take illegal methods to procure money for that purpose.

Thomas Butlock, otherwise Butloge, which last was his true name, was born in the kingdom of Ireland, about thirty miles east of Dublin, whither his parents had gone from Cheshire (which was their native country) with a gentleman on whom they had a great dependence, and who was settled in Ireland. Though their circumstances were but indifferent, yet they found means to raise as much as put their son apprentice to a vintner in Dublin, and probably, had he ever set up in that business they would have done more. But he had not been long ere what little education he had was lost, and his morals corrupted by the sight of such lewd scenes as passed often in his master's house. However the man was very kind to him, and in return Thomas had so great esteem and affection for his master that when he broke and come over to hide himself at Chester, Butloge frequently stole over to him with small supplies of money and acquainted him with the condition of his family, which he had left behind.

In this precarious manner of life, he spent some time, until finding it impossible for him to subsist any longer by following his master's broken fortunes, he began to lay out for some new employment to get his bread. But after various projects had proved unsuccessful when they came to be executed, he was forced to return into Ireland again, where not long after, he had the good fortune to marry a substantial man's daughter which retrieved his circumstances once more.

But Butloge had always, as he expressed it, an aspiring temper, which put him upon crossing the seas again upon the invitation of a gentleman who, he pretended was a relation, and belonged to the Law, by whose interest he was in hopes of getting into a place. Accordingly, when he came to London, he took lodgings and lived as if he was already in possession of his expectation, which bringing his pocket low, he accepted the service of Mr. Claude Langley, a foreign gentleman, who had lodged in the same house. It cannot be exactly determined how long he had been in his service before he had committed the fact for which he died, but as to the manner it happened thus.

Mr. Langley, as well as all the rest of the family, being out at church, Butloge was sitting by himself in his master's room, looking at the drawers, and knowing that there was a good sum of ready money therein. It then came into his head what a figure he might cut if he had all that money. It occurred to him, at the same time, that his master was scarce able to speak any English, and was obliged to go over to France again in a month's time; so that he persuaded himself that if he could keep out of the way for that month, all would be well, and he should be able to live upon the spoil, without any apprehension of danger. These considerations took up his mind for half an hour; then he put his scheme into execution, broke open the drawers and took from thence twenty-seven guineas, four "louis d'ors", and some other French pieces. As soon as he completed the robbery, and was got safe out of town, he went directly to Chester, that he might appear fine (as he himself said) at a place where he was known. His precaution being so little, there is no wonder that he was taken, or that the fact appearing plain, he should be convicted thereon.

After sentence was passed, he laid aside all hopes of life, and without flattering himself as too many do, he prepared for his approaching end. Whatever follies he might have committed in his life, yet he suffered very composedly on the 22nd day of July, 1722, being then about twenty-three years of age.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals