Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Lives of Remarkable Criminals: William Caustin



The first of these unhappy men, William Caustin, was born somewhere in the country, but the particular place is not mentioned in any papers I have before me. Neither am I able to say of what condition his parents were, yet whether poor or rich they afforded him a very tolerable education, and when he was grown big enough to be put out apprentice, bound him to a barber, to whom he served out his time with remarkable fidelity. When out of his time he married a wife and set up for himself; yet whether through inevitable misfortunes, or for want of good management, I cannot say, but he failed in a very short time after, and so was reduced to be a journeyman again. However, his character remained so unblemished that he was never out of business, nor ill-treated by any masters where he worked. On the contrary, he was caressed wherever he came, and treated with as much civility as if he had been a relation to those whom he had served.

His wife unfortunately falling sick upon his hand, he became thereby thrown out of business, and in that time falling into ill company, their repeated solicitations prevailed with him to go for once upon the highway, which accordingly he did, and committed, in company with Geoffrey Younger and the evidence, a robbery on William Bowman, taking from him a guinea and thirteen shillings, for which he was very quickly after apprehended, and the fact being plainly and fully proved, he was convicted, it being the only fact he ever committed.

Geoffrey Younger, his companion, was descended of very honest creditable parents in Northamptonshire. There he was put apprentice to a baker, to whom he served his time out very honestly and faithfully. Afterwards he came up to London, and lived here for seven years as a journeyman, in as good a reputation as it was possible for a young man to have. But having by that time got a good quantity of clothes, and about ten pounds in his pockets, he began to think himself too good to work, and unfortunately falling into the company of some idle debauched persons of both sexes, they soon led him into a road of ruin. Amongst these was one Bradley, a fellow of his own business, whose company of all others, he most affected. This fellow having addicted himself to the pursuit of the most scandalous vices, easily drew in Younger to go with him to a house where gamesters resorted and advising him to venture his money, Younger was good enough to take his advice, and so was bubbled out of every farthing of his money.

Surprised and confounded at this extraordinary turn, which had reduced him to indigence in a moment, he did nothing but lament his own hard fortune, and curse his indiscretion for coming to such a place. Bradley endeavoured to cheer him, telling him he would yet put him in a way to get money, and thereupon proposed going with him upon the highway; in order to encourage him to which, he told him that at such a place they should meet with a man who had fourscore pounds about him. So after abundance of arguments, Younger yielded, and out they went. From that time forwards he gave a loose to all his brutal inclinations, associated himself with nobody but common whores and thieves, spent his time in gaming, when not engaged in a worse employment, and never, after his acquaintance with Bradley, thought of doing anything either just or honest. But his course was of no very long continuance, for having committed four or five robberies, the last of which was in the company of William Caustin, they were both apprehended, and as has been said, upon very full evidence convicted.

Under sentence of death they both of them blamed Bradley the evidence, as the person who had drawn then first to the commission of those crimes for which they were now to answer with their lives. Caustin's wife died while he was under sentence, and he thereby lost what little comfort he had under his afflictions. However, he endeavoured to compose himself the best he could, to suffer that judgment which the Law had pronounced upon him, and which he himself acknowledged to be just. Younger, on the other hand, was exceedingly timorous and so terribly affrighted at the approach of death that he scarce retained his senses. He confessed very freely the enormities of his former life; said that a more dissolute person than himself never lived; cried out against the evidence Bradley, as the author of his misfortunes; charged him with having painfully endeavoured to seduce him. But in the midst of this he wept bitterly, and showed a great terror at the approach of his execution than was seen amongst any of the rest who suffered with him, his countenance being so much altered, that it was hardly possible for anybody to know him, who had been acquainted with him before, insomuch that he looked for many weeks before his execution like a person who had been already dead and buried.

As the day of dissolution approached, it was hoped that he would recover more courage, but instead of that he became so terribly frighted that he could scarce speak, or show any signs of life when he was brought to Tyburn. However, there he did gather spirits a little, and spoke to the crowd to take warning by him, and avoid coming to that fatal place. He said that he had been guilty of but five robberies in all his life; said he forgave his prosecutors and the evidence who swore against him; and in this disposition they both died at the same time with the malefactors before mentioned, Caustin being thirty-six years of age, and Younger about thirty-four.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals