Laying open the Life and Death of Ned Browne one of the most notable Cutpurses, Crosbiters, and Conny-catchers, that euer liued in England.

Heerein hee telleth verie plea­santly in his owne person such strange prancks and monstrous villanies by him and his Consorte performed, as the like was yet neuer heard of in any of the former bookes of Conny­catching.

Read and be warnd, Laugh as you like, Judge as you find.

Nascimur pro Patria.

by R. G.


Printed at London by Iohn Danter, for Thomas Nelson dwelling in Siluer streete, neere to the signe of the Red-Crosse 1592.

To the Curteous Reader Health.

GEntlemen, I knowe you haue long expe­cted the comming foorth of my Blacke Booke, which I long haue promised, and which I had many daies since finished, had not sickenes hindered my intent: Neuerthelesse, be assured it is the first thing I meane to publish after I am recouered. This Messenger to my Blacke Booke I commit to your curteous censures, being written before I fell sick, which I thoght good in the meane time to send you as a Fayring, discour­sing Ned Brownes villanies, which are too many to bee described in my Blacke Booke.

I had thought to haue ioyned with this Treatise, a pithy discourse of the Repentance of a Conny-cat­cher lately executed out of Newgate, yet for asmuch as the Methode of the one is so far differing from the other, I altered my opinion, and the rather for that the one died resolute and desperate, the other penitent and passionate. For the Conny-catchers repentance [Page] which shall shortly be published, it containes a passi­on of great importance, First how he was giuen ouer from all grace and Godlines, and seemed to haue no sparke of the feare of God in him: yet neuerthelesse, through the woonderfull working of Gods spirite, euen in the dungeon at Newgate the night before he died, he so repented him from the bottome of his hart, that it may well beseeme Parents to haue it for their Children, Masters for their seruants, and to bee peru­sed of euery honest person with great regard.

And for Ned Browne of whome my Messenger makes report, hee was a man infamous for his bad course of life and well knowne about London: Hee was in outward shew a Gentlemanlike companion attyred very braue, and to shadowe his villany the more would nominate himselfe to be a Marshall man, who when he had nipt a Bung or cut a good purse, he would steale ouer into the Lowe Countries, there to tast three or foure Stoapes of Rhenish wine, and then come ouer forsooth a braue Souldier: But at last hee leapt at a daysie for his loose kind of life, and therefore imagine you now see him in his owne person, standing in a great bay windowe with a halter about his necke ready to be hanged, desperately pronounsing this his whole course of life and confesseth as followeth.

Yours in all curtesie, R. G.

A Table of the words of Artlate­ly deuised by Ned Browne and his associates, to Crosbite the old Phrases vsed in the manner of Conny-catching.

  • HE that drawes the fish to the bait, the Beater.
  • The Tauerne where they goe, the Bush.
  • The foole that is caught, the Bird.
  • Connycatching to be called, B [...]tfowling.
  • The wine to be called, the Shrap.
  • The Cards to be called, the Li [...]twigs.
  • The fetching in a Conny, beating the bush
  • The good Asse if he be woone, stooping to the Lure.
  • If he keepe aloofe, a H [...]ggard.
  • The verser in conny-catching is called, the Retriuer.
  • And the Barnacle, the pot hunter.

THE LIFE AND death of Ned Browne, a no­table Cutpurse and Conny-catcher.

IF you thinke (Gentlemen) to heare a repentant man speake, or to tel a large tale of his penitent sorrowes, ye are deceiued: for as I haue euer liued lewdly, so I meane to end my life as resolutely, and not by a cow­ardly confession to attempt the hope of a pardon. [...]et, in that I was famous in my life for my villainies, I will at my death professe my selfe as notable, by discoursing to you all merrely, the manner and methode of my knaueries, which if you hear with­out laughing, then after my death call me base knaue, and neuer haue me in remembrance.

Know therfore (Gentlemen) that my parents were honest, of good reporte, and no little estéeme amongst their neighbours, and sought (if good nurture and edu­cation would haue serued) to haue made me an honest man: but as one selfe same ground brings foorth flow­ers and thistles; so of a sound stocke prooued an vnto­ward Syen; and of a vertuous father, a most vicious sonne. It bootes little to rehearfe the pettie sinnes of my Non-age; as disobedience to my parentes, con­tempt [Page] of good counsaile, despising of mine elders, fil­ching, pe [...]ilashery, and such trifling toyes: but with these follyes I inurde myselfe, till waxing in yeares, I grew into greater villanies. For when I came to eighteéne yeares olde, what sinne was it that I would not commit with greedinesse, what attempt so bad, that I would not endeuour to execute; Cutting of purses, stealing of horses, lifting, picking of lockes, and all o­ther notable coossenages. Why, I helde them excellent qualities, and accounted him vnworthy to liue, that could not, or [...] not liue by such damnable practises. Yet as sinne too openly manifested to the eye of the Ma­gistrate, is eyther sore reuenged or soone cut off: So I to preuent that, had a nette wherein to daunce, and di­uers shadowes to colour my knaueries withall, as I would title my selfe with the name of a Fencer, & make Gentlemen beleeue that I pickt a liuing out by that mysterie, whereas God wot, I had no other fence but with my short knife, and a paire of purse stringes, and with them in troth many a bowt haue I had in my time In torth? O what a simple oth was this to cōfirm a mans credit with all? Why, I sée the halter will make a man holy, for whilest God suffered mee to flourish, I scornd to disgrace my mouth with so smal an oath as In faith: but I rent God in péeces, swearing and for­swearing by euery part of his body, that such as heard mee, rather trembled at mine oathes, than feared my braues, and yet for courage and resolution I refer my selfe to all them that haue euer heard of my name.

Thus animated to do wickednes, I fell to take de­light in the companie of harlots, amongst whome, as I spent what I gotte, so I suffered not them I was ac­quainted [Page] withall to fether their nestes, but would at my pleasure strippe them of all that they had. What bad woman was there about London, whose champion I would not be for a few Crownes, to fight, sweare and stare in her behalfe, to the abuse of any that should doo Iustice vpon her? I still had one or two in store to cros­bite withall, which I vsed as snares to trap simple men in: for if I tooke but one suspitiously in her companie, straight I verst vpon him, and crossebit him for all the money in his purse. By the way (sith sorrow cannot helpe to saue me, let mée tell you a mery ieasthow once I crosse bit a Maltman, that would néedes bée so wanton, as when hee had shut his Malt to haue a wench, and thus the Ieast fell out.

A pleasant Tale how Ned Browne crossebit a Maltman.

THis Seuex Fornicator, this olde Letcher, v­sing continually into White Chappell had a haunt into Petticote Lane to a Trugging house there, and fell into great familiaritie with a good wench that was a fréend of mine, who one day reuealed vnto me how she was well thought on by a Maltman, a wealthie olde Churle, and that ordinari­ly twise a weeke he did visite her, and therefore bad mée plot some meanes to fetch him ouer for some crownes. I was not to séeke for a quicke inuention, and resolued at his comming to crossebite him, which was (as luck serued) the next day. Monsieur the Maltman comming according to his custome, was no sooner secretly shut in the chamber with the wench, but I came stepping in with a terrible looke, swearing as if I meant to haue challengd the earth to haue opened and swallowed me quicke, and presently fell vpon her and beat her: then I turned to the Maltman, and lent him a blow or two, for he would take no more: he was a stout stiffe olde tough Churle, and then I rayld vpon them both, and obiected to him how long he had kept my Wife, how my neigh­bors could tell me of it, how the Lane thought ill of me for suffering it and now that I had my self taken them together, I would make both him and her smart for it before we parted.

The olde Foxe that knew the Oxe by the horne, was subtill enough to spie a pad in the straw, and to sée that we went about to crossebite him, wherefore hee stoode [Page] stiffe, and denied all, and although the whore cunningly on her knées wéeping did confesse it, yet the Maultman faced her downe, and said she was an honest woman for all him, and that this was but a coossenage compacted betweene her and me to verse and crossbite him for some peece of money for amends, but sith hee knew himselfe cleare, he would neuer graunt to pay one penny. I was straight in mine oathes and braued him with sending for the Constable, but in vaine, all our pollicies could not draw one c [...]osse from this crasty olde Carle, till I gathering my wits together, came ouer his fallowes thus. I kept him still in the chamber, & sent (as though I had sent for the Constable) for a fréend of mine, an auntient coossener, and one that had a long time béene a Knight of the Post, marry hee had a faire cloake and a Damaske coate, that serued him to [...]ayle men withall. To this periured companion I sent to come as a Con­stable, to make the Maltman stoupe, who (readie to ex­ecute any villanie that I should plot) came spéedily like an auncient welthy Citizen, and taking the office of a Constable in hand, began very stearnly to examine the matter, and to deale indifferently, rather fauoring the Maltman than me: but I complained how long he had kept my Wife, he answered I lyed, & that it was a coos­senage to crossebite him of his money. Mas Constable cunningly made this reply to vs both: My frends, this matter is bad, and truly I cannot in conscience but look into it. For you Browne, you complaine how he hath a­bused your wife along time, & shee partly confesseth as much: he (who séems to bee an honest man, and of some countenance amongst his neighbors) forswears it and saith, it is but a deuise to strip him of his mony: I know [Page] not whom to beléeue, and therfore this is my best course because the one of you shall not laugh the other to scorn Ile send you all thrée to the Counter, so to answere it before some Iustice that may take examination of the matter. The Maltman Ioth to goe to prison, and yet vnwilling to part from any pence, saide he was willing to answere the matter before any man of worshippe, but hee desired the Constable to fauour him that hee might not goe to ward, and he would send for a Brew­er a friend of his to be his Baile.

In faith saies this cunning old Cosener, you offer like an honest man, but I cannot stay so long till he bee sent for, but if you meane as you protest to answer the matter, then leaue some pawne and I will let you goe whither you will while to morrow, and then come to my house here hard by at a Grocers shop, and you and I will goe before a Iustice and then cleare your selfe as you may. The maltman taking this crafty knaue to be some substantiall Citizen, thanked him for his friend­ship and gaue him a seale ring that he wore on his fore­finger, promising the next morning to méete him at his house. Assoone as my friend had the ring, away walkes he, and while we stood brabling together he went to the Brewars house with whome this Maltman traded and deliuered the Brewar the Ring as a token from the Maltman saying he was in trouble, and that he de­sired him by that token to send him ten pound. The Brewar séeing an auntient Citizen bringing the mes­sage and knowing the Maltmans Ring, stood vpon no tearmes sith he knew his Chapman wogld and was a­ble to answere it againe if it were a brace of hundreth pounds, deliuered him the money without any more a­doo. [Page] which ten pound at night we shard betwixt vs, and left the maltman to talke with the Brewar about the re­paiment. Tush this was one of my ordinary shifts, for I wa [...] holden in my time the most famous Crosbyt [...] in all London: Well at length as wedding and hang­ing comes by destenie, I would to auoide the spéech of the world hee married forsooth and keepe a house, but (Gentlemen) I hope you that heare mee talke of mar­riage, do presently imagine that sure she was some ver­tuous matrone that I chose out. Shal I say my consci­ence, she was a little snowt faire, but the commonst har­lot and backster that euer made fray vnder the shadowe of Colman hedge: wedded to this trull, what villanie could I deuise but shee would put in practise, and yet though shee could foyst a pocket well, and get me some pence, and lifte nowe and then for a néede, and with the lightnes of hir héeles bring mee in some crownes: yet▪ I waxt wearie, and stucke to the olde prouerbe, that chaunge of pasture makes fat Calues: I thought that in liuing with mée two yeares she liued a yéere too long, and therfore casting mine eye on a pretty wench, a mans wife well knowne about London, I fell in loue with her, and that so deepely that I broke the matter to her husband, that I loued his wife, and must néeds haue hir, and confirmd it with many othes, that if he did not con­sent to it, I would bée his death: where uppon her hus­band, a kind Knaue, and one euerie way as base a com­panion as my selfe, agréed to me, and we bet a bargaine, that I should haue his Wife, and he should haue mine, conditionally, that I should giue him siue poundes to boote, which I promised, though he neuer had it: so wée like two good Horse-corsers, made a choppe and [Page] change, and swapt vp a Rogish bargaine, and so he ma­ried my wife and & his. Thus Gentlemen did I nei­ther feare God nor his lawes, nor regarded honestie, manhood, or conscience, but these be trifles and veniall sinnes. Now sir, let me boast of my selfe a little, in that I came to the credite of a high Lawyer, and with my sword fréebooted abroad in the country like a Caualier on horsebacke, wherein I did excell for subtelty: For I had first for my selfe an artificiall haire, and a beard so naturally made, that I could talke, diue, and sup in it, and yet it should neuer bee sp [...]ed. I will tell you there rests no greater villany than in this practise, for I haue robbed a man in the morning, and come to the same Inne and bayted, yea and dyned with him the same day, and for my horse that he might not be knowne I coulde ride him one part of the day like a goodly Gelding with a large tayle hanging to his féetlockes, and the other part of the day I could make him a Cut, for I had an artificiall taile so cunningly counterfeited, that the Ostler when hee drest him coulde not perceiue it. By these pollicies I little cared for Hues and Cries but straight with disguising my selfe, would outslip them all, and as for my Cloake it was Tarmosind (as they doe tearme it) made with two outsides that I could turne it how I list, for howsoeuer I wore it the right side still séemed to be outward: I remember howe pret­tily once I serued a Priest, and because one death dis­chargeth all, and is as good as a generall pardon, heare how I serued him.

A merrie tale how Ned Browne vsed a Priest.

I Chaunced as I road into Barkeshire to light in the company of a fat Priest that had hanging at his sad­dle how a capcase well stuft with Crowns that he went to pay for the purchase of some lands: Falling in talke with him (as communication will growe betwixt tra­uellers) I behaued my selfe so demurely, that he tooke me for a very honest man, & was glad of my company, although ere we parted it cost him very deare: and a­mongst other that he questioned me if I would sell my horse (for hee was a faire large Gelding well spread and forheaded and so easily and swiftly paced, that I could well ride him seauen mile an houre) I made him answere that I was loth to part from my Gelding, and so shapte him a slight reply, but before wee came at our ba [...]te hee was so in loue with him that I might say him no nay, so that when wee came at our Iune and were at dinner together we swapt a bargain: I had the Priests and twenty Nobles to boote for mine. Well assoone as we had chang [...]e I got mee into the stable, and there se­cretly I kuit a haire about the horse féetlock so straight vpon the veine that hee began a little to checke of that foote, so that when he was brought foorth the horse be­gan to halt; which the Priest espying marueld at it, and began to accuse me that I had deceiued him. Well quoth I tis nothing but a blood, and assoone as hee is warme hee will goe well, and if in riding you like him not, for twenty shillings losse Ile change with you at night, the Priest was glad of this, and caused his sad­dle [Page] to be set on my gelding, and so hauing his Capcase on the saddle pummell, rode on his way, and I with him, but still his horse halted, and by that time we were two myles out of the towne hee halted right downe: at which the Priest chaft, and I saide I wondred at it, and thought he was prickt, bad him alight and I would see what he ayled, and wisht him to get vp of my horse that I had of him for a mile or two, and I would ride of his, to trie if I could driue him from his hault. The Priest thankt me, and was sorrowfull, and I féeling about his foote, crackt the haue asunder, and when I had done got vp on him, smiling to my selfe to sée the Capcase hang so mannerly before mée, and putting spurs to the horse, made him giue way a little, but beeing somewhat stiffe, he halted for halfe a mile, and then began to fall into his olde pace, which the Priest spying, said: Me thinks my Gelding begins to leaue his halting. I marry doth hée Maister Parson (quoth I) I warrant you hele gallop too fast for you to ouertake, and so good Priest farewell, and take no thought for the carriage of your Capcase. With that I put spurres to him lustily, and away flung I like the wind: the Parson calde to mee, and sayde bee hoped that I was but in ieast, but he found it in earnest, for he neuer had his horse nor his capcase after.

Gentlemen, this is but a ieast to a number of villa­nies that I haue acted, so gracelesse hath my life béene. The most expert and skilful Alcumist, neuer tooke more pains in experience of his mettals, the Phisition in his simples, the Mecanicall man in the mysterie of his oc­cupation, than I haue done in plotting precepts, rules, axiomes, and principles, how smoothly and neately to foist a pocket, or nyppe a bung.

[Page] It were too tedious to holde you with tales of the wonders I haue acted, séeing almost they bee number­lesse, or to make report how desperately I did execute them, eyther without feare of God, dread of the Law, or loue to my Country: for I was so resolutely, or rather reprobately giuen, that I held Death only as Natures due, and howsoeuer ignominiously it might happen vnto mée, that I little regarded: which carelesse disdain to die, made me thrust my selfe into euery braule, quar­rell, and other bad action whatsoeuer, running head­long into all mischiefe neyther respecting the ende, nor foreséeing the danger, and that secure life hath brought me to this dishonorable death. But what should I stand heere preaching? I liued wantonly, and therefore let me end merrily, and tel you two or thrée of my mad prauks and so bid you farewell. Amongst the rest I remember once walking vp and downe Smithfield, very quaintly attired in a fustian dublet and buffe hose, both layde downe with golde lace, a silke stocke and a new Cloke, I traced vp and downe verie solempnly, as ha­uing neuer a crosse to blesse me withall, where béeing in my dumps there happened to me this acci­dent following.

A pleasant tale how Ned Brown kist a Gentlewoman and cut her purse.

THus Gentlemen beeing in my dumps, I sawe a braue Countrey Gentlewoman comming along from saint Bartlemewes in a satten Gowne, and foure men attending vpon her: by her side shée had hanging a maruellous rich purse embroydred, and not so faire without but it séemed to be as wel lined within: At this my téeth watered, and as the pray makes the thiefe, so necessity and the sight of such a faire purse beganne to muster a thousand inuentions in my heade how to come by it: to goe by her and Nip it I could not, because shée had so many men attending on hir: to watch hir into a presse that was in va [...]ne, for going towards S. Iohns stréete, I gest her about to take horse to ride home, be­cause all her men were booted. Thus perplexed for this purse, and yet not so much for the boung as the shels: I at last resolutely vowed in my selfe to haue it though I stretcht a halter for it: and so casting in my head how to bring my fine Mistris to the blow, at last I perfor­med it thus. Shée standing and talking a while with a Gentleman I stept before hir and leaned at the Earre till I saw hir leaue him, and then stalking towards hir very stoutly as if I had béene some young Caualier or Captaine, I met her and curteously saluted her, & not onely gréeted her, but as if I had béen acquainted with her I gaue her a kisse, and so in taking acquaintance closing very familiarly to her I cut her purse: the Gen­tlewoman séeing me so braue vsed mee kindly, & blush­ing said, shée knew me not. Are you not Mistres quoth [Page] I, such a Gentlewoman, and such a mans Wife? No truly sir, quoth she you mistake me: then I cry you mer­cie quoth I, and am sorry that I was so saucily bolde. There is no harme done sir sayde shee, because there is no offence taken, and so we parted, I with a good bung, and my Gentlewoman with a kisse, which I dare safe­ly sweare, she bought as deare as euer shee did thing in her life, for what I found in the purse that I kéep to my selfe. Thus did I plot deuises in my head how to pro­fit myselfe, though it were to the vtter vndoing of ante one: I was the first that inuented the letting fall of the key, which had like to cost me deare, but it is all one, as good then as now: and thus it was.

How Ned Browne let fall a key,

WAlking vp and downe Paules, I saw where a Noble mans brother in England came with certaine Gentlemen his fréendes in at the West doore, and how hee put vp his purse, as hauing bought some thing in the Churchyard: I hauing an Eagles eye, spi­ed a good bung containing many shels as I gest, care­lesly put vp into his sléeue, which draue me straight in­to a mutinie with my selfe how to come by it. I lookt a­bout me if I could sée any of my fellow frends walking there, & straight I found out thrée or foure trusty foists with whom I talkt and conferd about this purse: wée all concluded it were necessary to haue it, so wee could piot a meanes how to catch it. At last I set downe the course thus: as soone as the throng grew great, and that there was Iustling in Paules for roome, I stept before the Gentleman and let fall a key, which stooping [Page] to take vp, I staid the Gentleman that he was faine to thrust by mée, while in the presse two of my fréends foi­sted his purse, and away they went with all, and in it there was some twentie pound in gold: presently put­ting his hande in his pocket for his handkercher, hee mist his purse, and suspected that he that let fall the key had it; but suppositions are vaine, and so was his thin­king seeing he knew me not, for till this day be neuer set eye of his purse.

There are a number of my companions yet liuing in England, who béeing men for all companies, [...] once conuersing with a man, so dr [...] him to them, that he shall thinke nothing in the world too deare for them, and neuer bee able to parte from them, vntill hée hath spent all he hath.

If he bee lasciuiously addicted, they haue Aretines Tables at their fingers endes, to féed him on with new kind of filthines, they wil come in with Rous the french Painter, and what an vsuall vaine in bawdery hee had: not a whore or queane about the towne but they know, and can tell you her marks, and where and with whom she hosts.

If they sée you couetously bent, they wil tel you won­ders of the Philosophers stone, and make you beleeue they can make golde of Goose-greace: onely you must bée at some two or thrée hundred pounds cost, or such a trifling matter, to helpe to set vp their Stylles, and then you néed not care where you begge your bread, for they will make you doo little better if you followe their prescriptions.

Discourse with them of Countries; they will set you on fire with trauailing, yea what place is it they will [Page] not sweare they haue béene in, and I warrant you tell such a sound tale, as if it were all Gospell they spake: not a corner in Fraunce but they can describe. Venice, why it is nothing, for they haue intelligence from it e­uery houre, & at euery worde will come in with Strado Curtizano, and tell you such miracles of Madam Pa­dilia and Romana Imperia, that you will bee mad tyll you bée out of England. And if hee sée you are caught with that bait, he will make as though hee would leaue you and faine businesse about the Court, or that such a Noble man sent for him, when you wil rather consent to robbe all your fréends, than be seuered from him one hower. If you request his company to trauel, he wil say In faith I cannot tell: I would sooner spend my life in your company than in any mans in England, but at this time I am not so prouided of money as I would, therefore I can make you no promise: and if a man should aduenture vpon such a iourney without money, it were miserable and base, and no man will care for vs. [...]ut, money say you (like a liberall young maister) take no care for that, for I haue so much land and I wil sell it, my credite is so much, and I will vse it: I haue the kéeping of a Coosens chamber of mine, which is an old Counsellor, & he this vacation time is gone downe into the Country, we wil breake vp his studie, rifle his chests, diue into the bottome of his bags, but wee will haue to serue our turne: rather than faile, we wil sel his books, pawne his bedding and hangings, & make rid­dāce of all his houshold stuffe to set vs packing. To this he listens a little & sayes: These are some hopes yet, but if he should go with you, and you haue money & he none, you will dominéere ouer him at your pleasure, and then [Page] he were well set vp, to leaue such possibilities in Eng­land, and be made a slaue in another Countrey: With that you offer to part halfes with him, or put all you haue into his custodie, before hee shoulde thinke you meant otherwise then well with him. Hee takes you at your offer, and promiseth to husband it so for you, that you shall spend with the best and yet not wast so much as you doe: which makes you (meaning simply) put him in trust and giue him the purse: Then all a boone voyage into the low Countries you truoge, so to trauel vp into Italie, but per varios casus & tot discrimina rerum in a Towne of Garrison he leaues you, runnes away with your money, and makes you glad to betake your self to prouant, and to be a Gentleman of a Com­pany. If hee feare you will make after him, hee will change his name, and if there be any better Gentle­man than other in the Countrey where hee sotournes, his name hée will borrowe, and créepe into his kindred, or it shall cost him a fall, and make him pay sweetely for it in the end, it he take not the better héede. Thus will he bee sure to haue one Asse or other a foote, on whom hee may pray, and euer to haue newe inuentions to kéepe himselfe in pleasing.

There is no Art but he will haue a superficiall sight into, and put downe euery man with talke, and when he hath vttered the most he can, makes men beleue that hee knowes tenne times more than hee will put into their heads, which are secrets not to be made common to euerie one.

He will perswade you hee hath twentie receiptes of Loue powders: that hee can frame a Ring with such a quaint deuise, that if a Wench put it on her singer, [Page] sheé shall not choose but followe you vp and downe the stréetes.

If you haue an enemie that you would faine be ryd of, héele teach you to poyson him with your very lookes. To stande on the top of Paules with a burning glasse in your hande, and cast the Sunne with such a force on a mans face that walkes vnder, that it shall strike him starke dead more violently than lightning.

To fill a Letter full of Néedles, which shall bee laide after such a Mathematicall order, that when hée opens it to whome it is sent, they shall all spring vp and flye into his body as forceably, as if they had béene blowne vp with gunpowder, or sent from a Calléeuers mouth like small shotte.

To conclude, he will haue such probable reasons to procure beléefe to his lyes, such a smooth tongue to de­liuer them, and set them foorth with such a grace, that a very wise man he should be that did not swallowe the Gudgin at his hands.

In this sorte haue I knowne sundry yoong Gen­tlemen of England trayned foorth to their own destruc­tion, which makes mée the more willing to forewarne other of such base companions.

Wherefore, for the rooting out of these slye insinua­ting Mothworms, that eate men out of their substance vnseene, and are the decay of the forwardest Gentlemen and best wittes: it were to bée wished that Amasis Law were reuiued, who ordayned that euery man at the yeares ende shoulde giue account to the Magistrate how he liued, and he that did not so, or could not make an account of an honest life, to be put to death as a Fel­lon without fauour or pardon.


[Page] Ye haue about London, that (to the disgrace of Gen­tlemen liue gentlemen-like of themselues, hauing ney­there money nor Lande, nor any lawfull meanes to maintain them: some by play, and they go amumming into the Countrey all Christmas time with false dice, or if ther be any place where gentlemen or Marchants frequent in the Citty or Towne corporat, thyther will they, either disguised like yonge Marchants, or sub­stantiall Cittizens, and drawe them all dry that euer deale with them.

There are some doe nothing but walke vp & downe Paules, or come to mens shops to buy wares, with budgets of writings vnder their armes, & these will talke with any man about their sutes in Lawe, and dis­course vnto them how these and these mens bonds they haue for money, that are the chiefest dealers in London, Norwich, Bristowe, and such like places, & complaine that they cannot get one penny. Why if such a man doth owe it you, (will some man say that knowes him) I durst buy the debt of you, let me gette it of him as I can: O saieth my budget man, I haue his hand and seale to shewe, looke here els, and with that pluckes out a counterfaite band, (as all his other writings are) and reades it to him: whereupon, for halfe in halfe they presently compound, and after he hath that tenne pound payd him for his band of twentie, besides the forfeiture, or so forth, he saies faith these Lawyers drinke me as drie as a siue, and I haue money to pay at such a day, and I doubt I shall not be able to com­passe it. Here are all the Leases and Euidences of my Lande lying in such a shyre, could you lend me fortie pound on them till the next Tearme, or for some sixe [Page] Monthes, and it shall then be repayd with interest, or Ile forfeit my whole inheritance, which is beter worth than ahundred markes a yeare.

The welthy Gentleman, or yong Nouice, that hath store of Crownes lying by him, greedy of such a bar­gaine, thinking (perhaps) by one clause or other to de­feate him of all he hath, lends him money, and takes a faire Statute marchant of his Lands before a Iudge: but when all comes to al, he hath no more land in Eng­land then a younger brothers inheritance, nor doth any such great Occupier as he faineth, know him: much lesse owe him any money: whereby my couetous mai­ster is cheated fortie or fiftie pound thick at one clap.

Not vnlike to these, are they, that comming to Or­dinaries about the Exchange, where marchants do ta­ble for the most part, will say they haue two or thrée shippes of Coles new come from Newcastle, and wish they could light on a good chapman, that would deale for them altogether. Whats your price saith one? Whats your price? saith another. He holds them at the first at a very high rate, and sets a good face on it, as though he had such traffique indeed, but afterward comes downe so lowe, that euery man striues who shall giue him earnest first, and ere he be aware, he hath for­tie shillings clapt in his hand, to assure the bargaine to some one of them: he puts it vp quietly, and bids them enquire for him at such a signe and place, where he ne­uer came, signifying also his name: when in troth hee is but a coozening companion, and no such man to bee found. Thus goes he cléere away with fortie shillings in his pursse for nothing, and they vnlike to sée him any more.

A merry Ieast how Ned Brownes wife was crosse­bitten in her owne Arte.

BUt heere note (Gentlemen) though I haue done many sleights, and crossbitten sundry persons: yet so long goes the pitcher to the water, that at length it comes broken home. Which prouerbe I haue séene ve­rified: for I remember once that I supposing to cros­bite a Gentleman who had some ten pound in his sleéue left my wife to performe the accident, who in the ende was crossebitten her selfe: and thus it fel out. She com­pacted with a Hooker, whom some call a Curber, & ha­uing before bargained with the Gentleman to tell her tales in her eare all night, hee came according to pro­mise, who hauing supt and going to bed, was aduised by my wife to lay his clothes in the window, where the Hookers Crome might crossbite them from him: yet se­cretly intending before in the night time to steale his money forth of his sléeue. They beeing in bed together slept soundly: yet such was his chaunce, that he soden­ly wakened long before her, & being sore troubled with a laske, rose vp and made a double vse of his Chamber pot: that done, he intended to throw it forth at the win­dow, which the better to performe, he first remoued his clothes from thence; at which instant the spring of the window rose vp of the owne accord. This sodaiuly a­mazed him so, that he leapt backe, leaning the chamber pot still standing in the window, fearing that the deuill had béen at hand. By & by he espyed a faire iron Crome come marching in at the window, which in steade of the dublet and hose he sought for, sodenly tooke hold of that homely seruice in the member vessell, and so pluckt goodman Iurdaine with all his contents downe pat on [Page] the Curbers pate. Neuer was gentle Angl [...]r so drest, for his face, his head, and his necke, were all besmeared with the soft [...]rreuerence, so as hee stunke worse than a [...]akes Farmer. The Gentleman hearing one cry out, and séeing his messe of altogether so strangely taken a­way, began to take hart to him, and looking out percei­ued the Curber lye almost brained, almost drowned, & well neare poysoned therewith: where at laughing har­tily to himselfe, hee put on his owne clothes, and gotte him secretly away, laying my wiues clothes in the same place, which the gentle Angler soone after tooke: but neuer could she get them againe till this day.

This (Gentlemen) was my course of life, and thus I got much by villany, and spent it amongst whores as carelessely: I sildome or neuer listened to the admoni­tion of my fréendes, neither did the fall of other men learne me to beware, and therefore am I brought now to this end: yet little did I think to haue laid my bones in Fraunce, I thought (indéed) that Tyburne would at last haue shakt me by the necke: but hauing done villa­ny in England, this was alwaies my course, to slip o­uer into the Low Countries, and there for a while play the souldiour, and partly that was the cause of my com­ming hither: for growing odious in and about Lon­don for my filching, lifting, nipping, foysting and cros­biting, that euery one held me in contempt, and almost disdained my companie, I resolued to come ouer into Fraunce, by bearing Armes to winne some credite, de­termining with my selfe to become a true man. [...]ut as men, though they chaunge Countries, alter not their minds: so giuen ouer by God into a reprobate sence, I had no féeling of goodnes, but with the dogge fell to my [Page] elde vomit, and héere most wickedly I haue committed sacrilege, robd a Church, and done other mischéeuous pranks, for which iustly I am condemned and must suf­fer death: whereby I learne, that reuenge deferd is not quittanst: that though God suffer the wicked for a time, yet hee paies home at length; for while I lasciuiously lead a carelesse life, if my friendes warned mée of it, I scoft at them, & if they told me of the gallowes, I would sweare it was my destenie, and now I haue proued my selfe no lyar: yet must I die more basely, and bée hangd out at a window.

Oh Countrymen and Gentlemen, I haue helde you long, as good at the first as at the last, take then this for a farewell: Trust not in your owne wits, for they will become too wilfull oft, and so deceiue you. Boast not in strength, nor stand not on your manhood, so to maintain quarrels; for the end of brawling is confusion: but vse your courage indefence of your country, and then feare not to die; for the bullet is an honorable death. Beware of whores, for they be the Syrens that draw men on to destruction, their swéet words are inchantments, their eyes allure, and their beauties bewitch: Oh take héede of their perswasions, for they be Crocodiles, that when they wéepe, destroy. Truth is honorable, and better is it to be a poore honest man, than a rich & wealthy théefe: for the fairest end is the gallowes, and what a shame is it to a mans fréends, when hee dies so basely. Scorne not labour (Gentlemen) nor hold not any course of life bad or seruile, that is profitable and honest, least in gi­uing your selues ouer to idlenesse, and hauing no yéer­ly maintenance, you fall into many preiudiciall mis­chiefs Contemne not the vertuous counsaile of a frend, [Page] despise not the hearing of Gods Ministers, scoffe not at the Magistrates, but feare God, honor your Prince, and loue your country, then God will blesse you, as I hope he will do me for all my manifolde offences, and so Lord into thy hands I commit my spirit, and with that he himselfe sprung out at the window and died.

Hereby the way you shall vnderstand, that going o­uer into Fraunce, he neare vnte Arx robd a Church, & was therefore condemned, and hauing no gallowes by, they hangd him out at a window, fastning the roape a­bout the Bar: and thus this Ned Browne died mise­rably, that all his life time had béene full of mischiefe & villany, sleightly at his death regarding the state of his soule. But note a wonderfull iudgement of God shew­ed vppon him after his death: his body béeing taken down, & buried without the towne, it is verified, that in the night time there came a company of Wolues, and torehim out of his graue, and eate him vp, where as there lay many souldiers buried, & many dead carcas­ses, that they might haue prayde on to haue filled their hungry paunches. But the iudgments of God as they are iust, so they are inscrutable: yet thus much we may coniecture, that as he was one that delighted in rapine and stealth in his life, so at his death the rauenous Wolues deuoured him, & pluckt him out of his graue, as a man not worthy to be admitted to the honor of any buryall Thus haue I set downe the life and death of Ned Browne, a famous Cutpurse and Conny­catcher, by whose example if any be profi­ted, I haue the desired ende of my labour.


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