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Guzman Redivivus.
A Short View
OF THE
LIFE
OF
Will. Chaloner,
THE

Notorious Coyner, who was Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 22d. of March, 16989:

With a Brief Account of his Tryal, Behaviour, and last Speech.

{LO}NDON; Printed for I. Hayns,

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THE
LIFE
OF
William Chaloner, &c.

I Shall not pretend to set before my Reader Examples of Iustice upon Criminals in this nature, for the Person of whom I am to Treat has out gone all President: He scorn'd the petty Rogueries of Tricking single Men, but boldly aim'd at imposing upon a whole Kingdom in it{s} highest Representatives; and whilest he was acting Villany in private, pretended himself to be still busy'd for the Good of the Publick.

To enter then upon my Design of acquainting the World with that part of his Life which has come to my knowledge; William Chaloner was born in Warwickshire, the Son of a poor Weaver there. In his Infancy he shew'd a certain aptness to what he afterwards became perfect in; for as {s}oon as he was able to put any thing in Action, it {was} some unlucky Rogues Trick or other; so {th}at his Father finding himself unable to govern {him}, put him Apprentice to a Nayler at Birming{ham}, where having learn'd the Rudiments of <4> Coyning Birmingham-Groats, he thought fit to forsake his Master, and shift for himself: Pursuant to which, our Youngster sets out upon St. Francis's Mule, with a purpose to visit London; where being arriv'd, he was something at a loss for Acquaintance, and knew not what course to take for a Livelyhood; but at length, the first part of his Ingenuity shew'd it self in making Tin-Watches, with D-does, &c. in 'em, which he hawk'd about the Streets, and thereby pick'd up a few loose Pence, and looser Associates. This not bringing Money enough to satisfy an itching desire he had to be Extravagant, he gets a Companion little better than himself, who had agreed together to set up for Piss-Pot Prophets, or Quack-Doctors; and Chaloner having the greatest Stock of Impudence, and the best knack at Tongue-padding, (the most necessary Ingredients in such a Composition) 'twas resolv'd that he shou'd personate the Master Doctor, and his Comrade bear the Character of his Servant. In this Trade (like the rest of the Crew) by pretending to tell silly Wenches what Husbands they should have, discovering Stol'n Goods, &c. he continued for some time, till being suspected to be concern'd in a Robbery himself, he was forc'd to leave his fine Lodgings, and that Learned Profession, and seek some Old Garret to repose his carcase in. Accordingly he found himself a Lodging in Hatton-Garden, where he got in with a Japanner, and promising him a Piece of Money, procured som{e} knowledge in his Art. This led him into a fa{me} of Gilding, and (having a working Brain) {this} brought him to the Study of Metals, so tha{t} {in} <5> considering the weight of finest Silver, he thought it Probable to Counterfeit Guinea's, Pistoles, &c. which being Gilded well, and Edg'd, might pass for Current throughout the Kingdom.

And now he seem'd to have found the (so-much-fought-after) Philosophers Stone; or (like Danae from Jove) had Showers of Gold daily falling into his Lap. The Trade went on briskly, Chaloner's Guineas flew about as thick as some years ago did bad Silver and every thing seem'd to favour his Undertakings. To compleat (as he thought) his happiness, he wanted nothing but a Phillis, (for a Coyner, you must know, is as rarely to be found without a Harlot, as a Sea Captain's Wife without a Gallant;-) and as the Devil would have it, a Phillis he found, every way fit for himself, one that could make a shift to do something for her Living, and was so very agreeable, that he forsook his Wife, (a very good Woman, by whom he had several Children) and betaking himself wholly to her, they liv'd together at her Farthers, one Gil- at Charing-Cross, where the old Man and Woman lovingly Bawded for their Daughter, and she as dutifully ask'd her Mother's Blessing when she went to bed with her Spark.

Things ill done, are seldome of long Continuance. So it fell out with our Projector; for his great Confident Blackford, who had put off some hundreds (if not thousands) of his Guineas and Pistoles for him, was taken, Committed, and Condemned; and making a Discovery, accus'd Chaloner to be the Coyner of all those he had put {o}ff, and abundance more. This sudden Fire blew <6> up all his Crucibles at that time, and put him to the {sc}ulk, till Blackford being Executed, he began to peep abroad again: but not being sufficiently assur'd to proceed in the Gold Mystery, he bethought himself of some way how he might be brought into Credit.

About this time (viz. in the Year 1693) he insinuated himself into the acquaintance of some Printers. This he thought might do his Work, if he could draw them in to Print something which he might seem serviceable in the Discovering. And the Declarations the late of King James being about that time Publish'd, he was very urgent with the said Printers to help him to some of 'em: Which they not being capable of doing, he importun'd them to Print him some from a Copy which he brought. This too they seem'd backward in, but at length they were prevail'd on, and some few were Printed, and (according to his Order) carry'd to the Blue-Posts in the Hay-Market, whither he had invited them to Supper; and, instead of Grace after Meat, entertain'd 'em with Messenger and Musqueteers, and Swearing the Fact at the Old-Bailey, two of 'em were Condemn'd as in Cases of High Treason, and still continue in Newgate for the same.

With this Stratagem of his, he bore his head high; and who so eminently-serviceable as M{r.} Chaloner? The Clipping and Coyning Trad{e} went on afresh; and while he Printed and pr{e}sented to the Parliament Proposalls to preve{nt} Clipping, none was more active in that curs{ed} Trade that himself and Agents. He taught {his} <7> Relations, nay almost all his acquaintance, to do something relating to it, and has brought more Pupils to the Gallows than all his Predecesors.

While Chaloner was pushing on his Double Design of serving and cheating the Nation, one Coppinger, an Accomplice of his, was Committed to Newgate, for forcing Money from people, under pretence of Warrants to apprehend 'em; and being fearfull it might touch his Life, thought it his best way to discover and impeach several Coyners with whom he had to do; and, amongst the rest, he mentioned our Spark Chaloner, whom he said he had seen both Clip and Coyn; and that the said Chaloner being once in Company with him, accosted him after this manner: Coppinger, I know you have a pretty knack at writing Satyr; do you write something against the Government, and I'll find a Man shall Print it; then you and I'll Discover it, whereby we shall take off all suspicion of being guilty of any Crime to the prejudice of the Kindgom: But Coppinger, being Executed, this Cloud too blew over, and he had his Liberty.

Finding things succeed so well with him, he fell to the old Trade again, boasting that he had Wit and Money enough to escape the Law, for that none but Poor Fellows and Fools were hang'd; nay, he had the Impudence to affirm, that he cou'd live as well as any Person of Quality in the Kingdom by his Art, which he wou'd follow, spight of the Law.

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But soon after, wanting Stock to Coyn, he got into a Project of Cheating the Royal Bank of England, of whom he personally receiv'd a Thousand Pound upon a counterfeit Title, as did also some others of his Gang; and not being satisfied with this fraud alone, he fell to counterfeiting the Hundred-pound Notes of the said Bank; which being discover'd by a person whom he employ'd in Marbling them, he immediately claps in with the Bank, deliv'd up the false Notes he had, and became an Impeacher of his fellows, whereupon the Governour and Directors of the Bank generously forbore Prosecution.

Not caring to be Idle, With this fresh Stock he betook himself once more to the Money-Business, which brought him a second time to Newgate; where he made use of his old Trick of Trumping up his Service, and stifling the Evidence against him, by which means he again got abroad.

The fresh Courage he took from this Escape, harden'd him in his Villanies, so that he could not forbear falling to it again: but 'twas not long e're he {was} discovered, and once more sent to his old C{illeg}e; yet then too got off without Prosecution.

And now he scorn'd to fly at low matters; he pretended his Commitment to be malicious, and accus'd that Worthy Gentleman Isaac Newton Esq; Warden of his Majesties Mint, with several other of the Officers thereof, as Connivers (at least) at many Abuses and Cheats there committed. This Accusation he impudently put int{o} Parliament, and a Committee was appointe{d} to examin the same, who upon a full hearing {of th}e matter, dismissed the said Gentleman with {the} <9> Honour due to his Merit, and Chaloner with the Character he deserv'd.

These several Troubles brought him to his primitive State of Poverty, so that having not wherewithall to manage Coyning, he employ'd his mischevious Brain to find out some new Project; and accordingly pitch'd upon that of counterfeiting Malt-Tickets; in which he had not made any considerable progress, before he was apprehended, and committed to the Custody of a Messenger. And now the fatal time was come, which must put a period to the innumerable Crimes he had committed; for at this time Information upon Information was given in against him for Coyning both Gold and Silver, which caus'd him to be remov'd from the Messengers, to his old Lodgings at Newgate. When he arrived there, he made very flight of the matter, bragging he had a Trick left yet: But, when he heard how many Witnessess came in against him, he began to droop. The Sinews of his Roguery, Money, being gone too, and his pretended Services all blasted, he had little hopes left, and (being of a very cowardly Nature) the apprehension of what he might come to, struck him into a Fit of Sickness, and wrought so strong upon his Brain, that he was sometimes Delirious; in which Fits he was continually raving that the Devil was come for him, and such frightful Whimseys. These intervals of Lunacy he endeavour'd to improve to a height sufficient to put off his approaching Tryal, counterfeiting the Madman as well as he could. But, alas! all wou'd not do. The Sessions came, in which his long-conceal'd {V}illanies were to be laid open to the world, and <10> Justice which often had attempted, and as oft been baffl'd by him, was now ready with her Iron hands to break him to pieces.

Being brought to his Arraignment at the Old-Bailey, he insisted mightily upon putting off his Tryal, alledging he was Mad, and had been so for three weeks; to which a Worthy Justice on the Bench made answer, That to his knowledge he had been so for as many years. 'Twas long before he wou'd plead to the Indictment; but at length he was prevail'd upon, and pleaded Not-Guilty. Some hours after, he was put upon his Tryal, wherein there were a whole Cloud of Witnesses against him, as well of old, as more late offences. One swore, That she had seen him make some Thousand Pistoles. Another, That she had seen him do the like by Guineas. A third, That he knew him to have made abundance of Money of all sorts. A Woman also depos'd, That about August last, not having substance enough to make Crown-pieces, which were desir'd of him, he made several counterfeit Shillings, one of which her Servant put off, and that both she and her Servant saw him Coyn 'em. The Servant also testify'd the same. Then a person was call'd, who declar'd, That Chaloner and he meeting together, he had some counterfeit Shillings from him, which he said were of his own making, and they not being very passable, he promis'd to make him some better. In short, the Evidence was ver{y} plain and positive; To all which he made but {an} indifferent Defence, but was very sawcy in t{he} Court, affronting Mr. Recorder divers times. A{nd} being heard what he cou'd say, the Charge w{as} <11> given to the Jury, who soon after brought him in Guilty of High-Treason, and the next day he received Sentence for the same, to the great satisfaction of the Generality of Mankind.

After his Condemnation, he was continually crying out they had Murder'd him; the Witnesses were purjur'd; and he had not Justice don him. He struggl'd and flounc'd about for Life, like a Whale struck with a Harping-Iron. He offer'd at fresh Discoveries, and produc'd the Plate the Malt Tickets were printed on, and which he himself engrav'd: but he was too well known, to be credited; his Character contributed to his Ruine, and all his endeavours were to no purpose; so that the Warrant for Execution being sign'd, he was amongst the number appointed to dye. When that fatal Story reach'd his ears, he bellow'd and roar'd worse than an Irish woman at a Funeral; nothing but Murder! Murder! oh I am murder'd! was to be heard from him; nothing cou'd be thought on to make him take that patiently, which he must embrace whether he wou'd or no. And indeed, a Man who makes no Conscience in his Life, may well tremble at the approaches of Death.

In the Chappel (after Condemnation) he shew'd more Passion than Piety, accusing the Witnesses of Perjury, and the Judge and Jury of Injustice; and notwithstanding the great Care and Pains of the Reverend Ordinary, 'twas difficult to bring him to a sense of that Charity and Forgiveness {p}roper to all Christians, but more especially to {dy}ing Men. On Wednesday morning he receiv'd {the} Holy Sacrament from the hands of the Ordi <12> nary; at which time he repeated his Accusations with some heat, against the Jury and Witnesses, and deliver'd a Paper which he desir'd might be printed, wherein were several things not fit for him to write, nor the Ordinary to publish, whereupon some passages being raz'd, the Paper was deliver'd to him again, and he carry'd it with him, designing to deliver it to some person who might get it printed for him. After having heard the Admonitions of the Ordinary and other Ministers who attended that morning, about 12 a Clock he was put into a Sledge, and drawn to the place of Execution.

In his passage from Newgate, he continu'd his outcry to the Spectators, that he was Murder'd by Perjury and Injustice; and when he came to Tyburn, he repeated the same, saying he was murder'd two ways under pretence of Law, and that one Holloway who swore against him was Perjur'd; which was the substance of what he said, giving the rest in a Paper to the Ordinary, which he desir'd might be printed. After that, the Ministers exhorrting him to Penitence and Forgiveness, he seem'd to pray with much fervency, and putting his Cap himself over his Eyes, submitted to the strike of Justice, and was turn'd off.

Thus liv'd, and thus dy'd a Man, who had he squar'd his Talent by the Rules of Justice and Integrity, might have been useful to the Commonwealth: But as he follow'd only the Dictates of Vice, was as a rotten Member cut off.

F I N I S.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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