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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 359 took shelter in an adjacent coffee-room, whither he was pursued by Campbell, the officer, and the person robbed. He was seized and searched, but nothing found on him, he having had time to drop the notes unperceived in the next box, where they were found. Mackcoull was carried before a magistrate and examined, and after nearly nine months' imprisonment was discharged.' Immediately after this untoward &air, he went to London, and remained some time concealed near Somerton. In 1809 Mackcoull again visited Scotland, with a parcel of forged notes, in the vending of which he was detected at Stirling, and lodged in jail ; but he contrived to baffle the magistrates in their examination of him, and was allowed to escape. He then returned to England, and after an unsuccessful expedition to Chester, which led to his imprisonment and hard labour for six months, he next set about the grand project he had contemplated while in Scotland-the robbery of some of the banks. In company with two notorious characters, Henry French and Houghton (or Huffy) White, who had escaped from the Hulks, he posted down to the north. The party had previously arranged with one Scoltock-an iron-grate manufacturer, who had supplied them on a former occasion-to forward them a complete set of pick-locks and skeleton keys. On arriving in Glasgow, they took lodgings in the house of a Mrs. Stewart, with whom they resided for nearly three months, and were remarkably sober, keeping good hours for some time. Latterly, however, they frequently went out at ten o'clock at night, not returning till twelve; and on one occasion, White (who was the working man) remained out all night. A day or two after receiving a small box by the London mail, Mackcoull went away for a fortnight, as he pretended, on business to Liverpool, He had, however, been at London, giving directions to Scoltock about a key, the model of which he took with him. On his return the night-work was resumed; and when all things were supposed to be ready, the party gave their landlady a fortnight's notice, on the expiry of which they carried away their luggage, as if going by one of the coaches. Between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, 14th July 1811, and about eight days after their leaving Mrs. Stewart, the robbery of the Paisley Union Bank Office, in Queen Street, was effected, and notes to the amount of more than S20,OOO abstracted. The party now posted their way to London with great rapidity, changing Scotch notes at all the stages, On their arrival, Mackcoull was intrusted with the safe-keeping of the plunder, till such time as he and his accomplices found it convenient to make a division. Subsequently, Mackcoull deposited the whole with his wife, who lived in Oxendon Street ; but it was afterwards agreed that the notes should be lodged in the hands of Bill Gibbons, the pugilist. This was, of course, a blind to prevent suspicion. The gentleman robbed was dissatisfied at his liberation. Having complained in a private way to one of the judges, the latter replied-"The fellow ought in justice to have been hanged. He went to the playhouse to steal, and not to hear the music ; and he gied poo a strong proof of the fact, Mr. P., when he preferred your notes to Mr. Incledon's."
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3 60 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. As soon as the robbery was discovered on Monday morning, the most active measures were adopted. The robbers were traced to Edinburgh, from whence Mr. Walkinshaw, belonging to Glasgow, and a city officer, set off in pursuit, following the route of the robbers all the way, From the direction of a portmanteau- which Mackcoull had left in charge of the waiter at Welwyn, to be forwarded by the Stamford coach to London-aided by the Bow Street officers, the residence of Scoltock the smith was soon found out, where White was apprehended, Mackcoull narrowly escaping. In order to save White’s life, and secure themselves against prosecution, a negotiation, on the suggestion of French, was proposed to restore the money. Mackcoull, who from the first evidently intended to cheat his associates out of a few thousands of the spoil, reluctantly, although with the best grace, acceded to the proposal. Determining, however, not to give all up, he conceived a plan which evinced no small degree of generalship on his part. This was, to negotiate through the medium of hlr. Sayer, one of the Bow Street officers appointed to attend on the person of George the Third, who, from his long service, was believed to have some little influence at Lord Sidmouth‘s office. He was besides an old acquaintance of Mrs. Mackcoull, and the more likely, backed by a consideration, to be prevailed upon by that lady’s eloquence. The contrivance proved eminently successful. In his anxiety to secure the money, the agent of the bank acted with improper precipitancy. The terms of restitution were at once agreed to-White was forgiven, and the other two secured against prosecution. Mrs. Mackcoull was then despatched with the notes, which, when counted out, amounted only to f,11,941 odds, instead of ;E20,000. The agent remonstrated j but of course Mrs. Mackcoull knew nothing of the matter. Mackcoull had thus played his cards to admiration. White, in pursuance of his pardon, was sent to the Hulks; and French, although so enraged at the perfidy of our hero as to threaten his life, could not accuse him without the certainty of following the fate of Huffey. The Bank was, besides, in a manner tied down ; and to make matters worse, the officers who were at first employed were so angry at the job having been taken out of their hands, that they refused to proceed farther in the business. Mackcoull now gave out that he had gone to the West Indies ; and the bank giving up hopes of his apprehension, he farther secured himself from danger by informing against French, who was seized and transported-to New South Wales. For nearly a year Mackcoull contrived to enjoy himself in London Without detection. In 1812, however, he was seized in one of his old haunts, and, after being detained at Hatton Garden for some time, despatched for Scotland. As he sat on the coach heavily ironed, previous to leaving the “Eull and Mouth,” his late conduct having brought him into low esteem among the honourable members of the fraternity, several of his former acquaintances stood round jeering him. “Some of them observed that the Captain looked extremely well after his West Indian. Voyage; others, in allusion to his nose, that the convoy was about to get under weigh, for the Commodore had
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