JOSEPH WOOD AND THOMAS UNDERWOOD
Two Fourteen-year-old Boys, executed at Newgate, 6th of July, 1791, for robbing another Boy
ALL the parties in this case were mere children, the malefactors being but fourteen years of age each, and the prosecutor no more than twelve!
Though of this tender age, yet were the two prisoners convicted as old and daring depredators. So often had they already been arraigned at that bar where they were condemned that the judge declared, notwithstanding their appearance (they were short, dirty, ill-visaged boys), it was necessary, for the public safety, to cut them off, in order that other boys might learn that, inured to wickedness, their tender age would not save them from an ignominious fate.
The crime for which they suffered was committed with every circumstance of barbarity. They forcibly took away a bundle, containing a jacket, shirt and waistcoat, from a little boy, then fell upon him, and would probably have murdered him had they not been secured. They had long belonged to a most desperate gang of pickpockets and footpads; but they were so hardened and obstinate that they would not impeach their companions, though the hopes of mercy were held out to them if they would make a confession, so that the villains might have been apprehended.
They were executed at Newgate, the 6th of July, 1791, apparently insensible of their dreadful situation.