Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Thomas Bradley

The Life of THOMAS BRADLEY

a Street-Robber

One must want humanity and be totally void of that tenderness which denominates both a man and a Christian if we feel not some pity for those who are brought to a violent and shameful death from a sudden and rash act, excited either by necessity or through the frailty of human nature sinking under misfortune or hurried into mischief by a sudden transport of passion. I am persuaded, therefore, that the greater part, if not all of my readers will feel the same emotions of tenderness and compassion for the miserable youth of whom I am now going to speak.

Thomas Bradley was the son of an officer in the Custom-House at Liverpool. The father took care of his education, and having qualified him for a seafaring business in reading and writing, placed him therein. He came up accordingly with the master of a vessel to London, where some misfortunes befalling the said master, Thomas was turned out of his employment and left to shift for himself. Want pinched him. He had no friends, nor anybody to whom be might apply for relief, and in the anguish with which his sufferings oppressed him, he unfortunately resolved to steal rather than submit to starving or to begging. One fact he committed, but could never be prevailed on to mention the time, the person or the place.

The robbery for which he was condemned was upon a woman carrying home another woman's riding-hood which she had borrowed; and he assaulting her on the highway took it from her, which was valued at 25s. Upon this he was capitally convicted at the next sessions at the Old Bailey, nor could never be prevailed on by a person to apply for a pardon. On the contrary, he said it was his greatest grief that notwithstanding all he could do to stifle it, the news would reach his father, and break his heart. He was told that such thoughts were better omitted than suffered to disturb him, when he was on the point of going to another (and if he repented thoroughly) to a better life; at which he sighed and said their reasoning was very right, and he would comply with it if he could. From that time he appeared more composed and cheerful, and resigned to his fate. This temper he preserved to the time of his execution, and died with as much courage and penitence as is ever seen in any of those unhappy persons who suffer at the same place.

At the time of his death he was not quite nineteen years of age. He died between the last mentioned malefactor and him whose life we are next to relate.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals