8vo in fours, pp. 33, ; paper flaw (unnecessarily restored) to top of B4; bound without the half-title in modern green calf, spine sunned; contemporary signature of Mary Wolryche to title. A very good copy.
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of the Life and Actions of James Maclean, Highwayman, to the Time of his Trial and receiving Sentence at the Old Bailey. Containing his Robberies, Gallantry at publick Places, with other remarkable Transactions. Together with some Account of Plunket his Companion.
First edition, the scarcer of two contemporary pamphlet biographies of the ‘gentleman highwayman’ James Maclaine (1724-1750). The son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister, Maclaine, having squandered an early inheritance and his wife’s money, joined up with a down-at-luck apothecary, William Plunkett, to turn highwayman. The pair committed nearly twenty robberies in the next six months, masked and on horseback. Among their victims were Lord Eglington and Horace Walpole. Maclaine was finally apprehended in June 1750 – in his rooms were found, among other things, Lord Eglington’s coat and blunderbuss, two pistols and twenty purses. Taken to the Gatehouse, Maclaine became the talk of the town, ‘Numbers of Quality … crouding in upon him daily’. He was tried at the Old Bailey in September (his ill-considered defence is presented here on pages 25-31), and executed soon after. His skeleton makes an appearance in Hogarth’s depiction of the Royal College of Physicians in The Four Stages of Cruelty (1751).
ESTC shows copies at the BL, NLS, Toronto, Yale, Huntington and Library of Congress only; OCLC adds New York Public Library and Ohio State.
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