Highwayman, executed at Tyburn, on the 18th of July, 1722
NATHANIEL JACKSON was a native of Doncaster, in Yorkshire, whose father dying while he was very young, left a sum of money for his use in the hands of a relation, who apprenticed him to a silk-weaver in Norwich. He had frequent disputes with his master, with whom he lived three years, and then ran away. At length his guardian found out his retreat, and sent to inform him, that, as he was averse to business, his friends wished that a place might be purchased for him with the money left by his father. But Jackson being of an unsettled disposition, enlisted in the army, and was sent to Ireland.
After a while, being disgusted with his low condition, he solicited his discharge, which having obtained, he procured some money of his friends, and gave fifteen guineas to be admitted into a troop of dragoons; but soon quarrelling with one of his comrades, a duel ensued, in which Jackson wounded the other in such a horrid manner, that he was turned out of the regiment.
He then returned to England, and lived some time with his guardian in Yorkshire; being averse to a life of sobriety, he afterwards went to London, where he spent, in the most extravagant manner, the little money he brought with him.
Reduced to the utmost distress, he casually met John Murphy and Neal O'Brian, whom he had known in Ireland. After they had drank together, O'Brian produced a considerable sum of money, saying, "You-see how I live: I never want money, and if you have but courage, and dare walk with me towards Hampstead to-night, I'll shew you how easy it is to get it."
As Jackson and Murphy were both of dissolute manners, and very poor, they were easily persuaded to be concerned in this dangerous enterprise. Between Tottenham-court-road and Hampstead they stopped a poor man named Dennis, from whom they took his coat, waistcoat, two shirts, thirteen pence in money, and some other trifling articles, and then bound him to a tree.
No sooner were they gone, than he struggled hard, got loose, and meeting a person whom he knew, they pursued them to a night-house in the Haymarket, where Murphy and Jackson were taken into custody, but O'Brian made his escape. On their trial, as soon as Dennis had given his testimony, they owned they fact they had committed, in consequence of which they received sentence of death; but Murphy obtained a reprieve.
Jackson's brother exerted all his influence to save his life; but his endeavours proving ineffectual, he sent him a letter to inform him of it, which was written in such an affecting manner as to overwhelm his mind with the most poignant affliction.
While under sentence of death, Jackson behaved in the most penitent manner; confessed the sins of his past life with the deepest signs of contrition; was earnest in his devotions, and made every preparation for his approaching end.
He was executed at Tyburn, on the 18th of July, 1722, having suffered for the first robbery he ever committed.