Of Oates and Beddo's Acquaintance in Spain, and how Beddo under the Name of the Lord Gerrard, robb'd Oates of ten pieces of Eight, which he said was all he had, and had quite undone him. And also, how Beddo cheated Master Francklyn the Merchant at Bilbo, of three hundred Doubloons, at 18 s. per Doubloon, and in his way to Bruges, robb'd a poor Priest of four Royals, which he says, is about Eight pence English, and cruelly beat him because he had no more money, and after that, the same day, robb'd a poor Franciscan Fryar of his Bread and Cheese, and that there were Writs out in the nature of an Hue and Cry to take him; and that the said Oates, though quite ruined by the loss of his money, yet was not half so much griev'd at it, as for the dishonour that was thereby done to the whole English Nation.
This Letter was read before the King and Council the last time Master Medborn was brought thither, and by him delivered to his Grace the Duke of Lautherdale, in whose hand it still remains.
I also gave her Ladyship an account, that the most part of the foregoing year, Beddo lay prisoner in the Common side in the Marshalseas, and was fed out of the Alms-basket, having sold his Linnen and other necessaries to the Sutler for Bread and Drink.
After this her Ladyship taking the distressed condition of the Prisoners into her Consideration, through her pious and charitable Endeavours, there was a weakly Charity collected, of which I had the disposing, but was so far from the diverting any part thereof, that I still went out of Purse, of which truth, both the Prisoners and others have been very sensible since my Imprisonment.
About this time I went daily to the Prisons, to perform those Offices of Charity I was obliged to. And on Thursday, January the 9th (78.) I Din'd in Newgate, in the Room called the Castle on the Masters Side Page 3 Debtors, and about four in the Afternoon, I came down into the Lodge with five Women, of which, three were Protestants, and we all heard Terrible Grones and Squeeks which came out of the Dungeon, called the Condemn'd hole. I asked Harris the Turnkey, what doleful Cry it was, he said, it was a Woman in Labour. I bid him put us into the Room to her, and we would help her, but he drove us away very rudely, both out of the Lodge, and from the Door; we went behind the Gate, and there lissened, and soon found that it was the voice of a strong man in Torture, and heard, as we thought, between his Groans, the winding up of some Engine: these Cries, stop'd the Passengers under the Gate, and we six went to the Turners Shop without the Gate, and stood there ama∣zed with the Horror and Dread of what we heard; when one of the Officers of the Prison came out in great haste, seeming to run from the Noise,
One of us catcht hold of him, saying, Oh! What are they doing in the Prison.
I dare not tell you.
It's a Man upon the Rack, Ile lay my Life on't.
It is something like it.
Who is it Prance?
Pray Madam do not ask me, for I dare not tell ye, but it is that I am not able to hear any longer: Pray let me go, with that he run away toward Holborn as fast as he could.
We heard these Groans perfectly to the end of the Old-Baley; they con∣tinued till near seven of the Clock, and then a person in the Habit of a Minister, of middle Stature, gray hair'd, accompanied with two other men, went into the Lodge, the Prisoners were lock'd up, and the outward door of the Lodge also, at which I set a person to stand, and observe what she could; and a Prisoner loaded with Irons, was brought into the Lodge, and examin'd a long time, and the Prisoners that came down as low as they could, heard the person examin'd with great Vehemency, say often, I know nothing of it, I'm Innocent: he forc'd me to belye my self, What would you have me say? Will you murther me because I will not belye my self and others?
Several other such like Expressions they heard spoken as by one in great Agoney. About four of the Clock the next morning, the Prisoners that lay in a place above the Hole, heard the same Cry again two hours, and on Saturday Morning again, and about eight a Clock that morning a per∣son I employ'd to spy but the Truth of that Affair, did see the Turn-keys carrying a Bed into the Hole, she asked who it was for, they told her it was for Prance, who was gone Mad, and had tore his bed in pieces. That Night the Examiners came again, and after an hours Conference, Prance was led away to the Press-yard: This▪ and many things of the like Nature▪ made me very Inquisitive to know what pass'd in the Prison.
Soon after this, Francis Corral a Coach-man, that had been put into Newgate, upon Suspition of carrying away Sir Edmund-bury-Godfrey's body and lay there 13 weeks and three days in great Misery, got out, I went to see him, and found him a sad Spectacle, having the Flesh worn away, and great Hole in both his Legs, by the weight of his Irons. And having been Chain'd so long double, that he could not stand upright; he told me much of his hard and cruel Usage, as that he had been squeez'd and hasped into Page 4 a thing like a Trough in a Dungeon under ground; which put him to in∣expressible Torment, insomuch that he soonded, and that a person in the Habit of a Minister, stood by all the while. That a Duke beat him, pull'd him by the Hair, and set his drawn Sword to his Breast three times, and swore he would run him through; and another great Lord, laid down a heap of Gold, and told him it was five hundred pounds, and that he should have it all, and be taken into the aforesaid Duke's House, if he would confess what they would have him; and one F. a Vinter, that lives at the Sign of the half-moon in Ch-si, by whose Comtrivance he was ac∣cus'd, took him aside, and bid him name some Person, and say, they imploy'd him to take up the dead body in Somerset-yard, and gave him money for so doing; that if he would do this, both F. and he, should have money enough. He also told me, that he was kept from Thursday till Sunday without Victuals or Drink, having his hands every Night chain'd behind him, and being all this time lock'd to a Staple which was driven into the Floor, with a Chain not above a Yard long, that in this great Extremity, was forc'd to drink his own Water; and that the Jaylor beat his Wife, be∣cause she brought Victuals, and prayed that he might have it, and threw Milk on the Ground, and bid her be gone, and not look at him, &c. For the Readers further Satisfaction of his great and cruel Sufferings, I refer to the Party himself now living in Gunpowder-alley in Shoe-lane, and well known by his Misfortunes.
After this, hearing that Mary White had been much abus'd, and though big with Child, several ways tortur'd in the Prison, and lay only for want of her Fees, I paid them, hoping to find out the Truth by that means, she told me of many Cruelties that were daily used in the Goal, and that there was a person there that by Misfortune had been catch'd in the Com∣pany of Coyners, and though wholly innocent, had been cruelly used, because, as she said, he was a Catholick, and for a week together had worn a pair of Sheers that weighed forty pound, because he would not go up to the Chappel. That this person had made it his Business to inspect the Usage of the Prisoners, and had drawn up Articles against the Keepers.
About the tenth of April (79) I went to the Grate at Newgate, to speak with him, he was in Irons and Raggs, and said his name was Willoughby, and that he was Nephew to a person of Quality I knew of that name; And with great bemoanings told me that being just come from Flanders, he was lodg'd by Chance in a house where Coiners lodg'd; he was taken among them on Suspition, and though acquitted at the Sessions, yet the Disgrace had so displeas'd his Uncle, that he would do nothing for him, and he having no Parents nor Friends, was in great Danger of perishing there, and in very humble and religious words begg'd my Charity, and gave me the following