An account of a highway robbery, 19 June 1730 (SP 36/19/54-58)
I Nathan Carrington, one of His Majesty’s Messengers, being on Friday the 19th of June 1730, about 10 o’ Clock at Night, Dispatched with Letters from both the Secretaries of State and Mr. Reiche at Windsor to London, was attacked in a place above a mile beyond Longford leading to Hounslow Heath, by a little sized man, who had on a light drab coloured Horseman’s coat, the cape Buttoned about his Face and his Hat Flapped before, his Horse of a dark Bay Colour [reddish-brown body with a black mane], with a switch Tail, who immediately presented a Pistol to my Breast, and bid me to Stand and deliver my money. Whereupon I answered him that was the King’s Messenger but had nothing but Letters of the King’s and then showed him my Escutcheon [coat of arms] to which he replyed Damn the King’s letters. I don’t want them or your Escutcheon or anything else that belongs to the King, but only your Money, and immediately put his hand into my Pocket, (the Pistol being still at my Breast) and took there out betwixt 13 & 14 shillings being all I had about me, after which he said I must go along with him, and then he took my Horse by the Head, with his Pistol in his hand, and led him up a Lane that was just by, and there under a Hedge he dismounted his Horse and Searched my Pockets, Boots etc, and took out of my pocket some Packets, which he swore had money in them, but after having handled them, and considered some time with himself; and upon my assuring him they were Letters belonging to the King, he returned me the Packets unopened, and after having kept me about twenty minute, mounted his Horse, and asked me if I knew him (but commanded me at the same time not to look in his Face) and what was my name and then rode off, without taking either any Dispatches [letters], Escutcheon or anything else except my money. And I was informed by the man at the Turnpike [toll gate] on Hounslow Heath, that a Coach was just gone by that was robbed at the same place I was, and by the same man, according to their Description.
The Highwayman at going shook me by the Hand said, that provided I would not tell that I had been stopp’d and robbed, whenever I came that way again, If I should meet him, I need only need tell him my name, and he would not stop me anymore.