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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


354 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CCXC. J A E S ACK C OULL, ALIAS CAPTAIN MOFFAT, AT THE BAR OF THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY. THIS notorious individual was the son of a pocket-book maker, who for some time had a small shop near the Church of St. Sepulchre, London, in which city the subject of the Print was born in 1763. His father is said to have been an industrious, well-meaning man, but his mother was a female of abandoned habits, and long known as a shop-lifter and thief of the lowest grade. She had three sons and three daughters, all of whom, under her maternal instruction, became adepts in the art of pilfering. The career of Ben, the youngest son, was short, as he was executed for robbery in 1786. John Mackcoull, the eldest, was a well-known character at Bow Street. He was a person of good education and the author of a volume entitled ii Abuses of Justice,” which he published in 1819, on his acquittal from a charge of forgery.’ JAMEMS ACKCOULtLh,e hero of our narrative, who seems to have inherited through life the propensities of his mother, although on a somewhat more extended scale, made little progress in his education, farther than to acquire a knowledge of reading and writing. He absented himself from school-displayed great dexterity in pilfering from his playmates-and was a most accomplished liar. Athletic, active, and swift of foot, he acquired much renown as a pugilist in several encounters with his compeers. With these accomplishments his path to distinction was easy. The first recorded instance of his public depredations was robbing an unfortunate dealer in cats’ meat. Watching an opportunity, the young hero threw a quantity of snuff in the poor man’s eyes, then cut the bag of coppers from the barrow and decamped. From this period his depredations were numerous, and generally successful, His father had apprenticed him to a leather-stainer, with whom he remained for some time ; but his irregularities were so great, that his master at last discharged him. He now became a thief by profession, and in company with two associates-Bill Drake and Sam Williams-did business on a large scale. The most remarkable of his feats at this time was the robbery of a retired This work, which, however, is rather scarce, is exceedingly amusing. If the author is to be believed, he was a very ill-used man.
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Volume 9 Page 473
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