To the Public.

IT is an observation I long have made, that the great when they have power, will often make a wrong use of it, and that those who are inferior in rank, have very little chance of justice when opposed to them; as riches furnish a variety of means both to elude and oppose, the effective force of the law. Though every one ought to have his full portion of justice, yet I believe no one will doubt, that it is not generally the case; the rich can elude justice by giving great bail, and feeing lawyers high, who by that and other methods, protract the affair till the action dies away [...] by one means or another; there is nothing incomprehensible in all this—If the small fry get in the least entramelled in the meshes of the law, they are generally fastened in the net, and often times punished wrongfully. For as Hudibras observes,

For justice though it punish crimes,
Stumbles on the innocent sometimes.

And what a horrid thing it is for an innocent man to suffer for another's guilt—the horror of such a thing, none but an innocent man can feel. The great in general only think for themselves, [Page 4] and very seldom extend their thoughts to the happiness and welfare of any but themselves—wrapt up in their own great­ness, it would be a kind of degradation for them to descend to so low a thought. I have often observed the death of a great man, (and often a great villain), deplored as a national loss; while the ingenious mechanic has been laid by on the shelf as of no advantage to the nation. But I would ask, which are the greatest benefit to a nation, drones or bees? If then the ingenious mechanic is suffered by a nation to be neglected, it must be a loss to such a nation, in the effect produced by such neglect—to improve in arts, manufactures, and sciences, has been eagerly pursued by the most Gothic and barbarous nations in the world, and should the enlightened and improving Americans withold their support and encouragement; should it be their wish, after their generously holding out an assylum to foreigners, of ingenuity or otherwise, to turn upon them with coldness and disdain; consider the consequences of ingenuity contemned, or ability disdain'd; see I say, and examine what will be the ultimate consequences to the nation by such a procedure. Do not by suspicious maneuvres, take advantage [...] them, to ruin them, or by low cunning and artifice deprive [...] of their character and means of living; or by vague and [...] suspicions, punish them beyond the regular bound and just verge of [...] law; a circumstance to the sufferer that no com­pensation can equalize. To conclude, fellow citizens, let the rich and great be generous, humane, and just—the mechanic, frugal and industrious, and no invidious national distinctions made, it may be beneficial to the rising greatness of America.



IT is a secret satisfaction to me, that the press is equally free to the meanest individual, as well as to the highest; pro­vided the press is not abused: but who depress and abuse that freedom, more than the combinations who often have it in their power to do as they please. Under every consideration and in every point of view, taking in my late unfortunate case and my mechanical profession; I find there is no protection for me, for should there be any robbery committed by opening locks, &c. I am liable (from the nature of my profession [...] the suggestion or suspicion of any malicious [...] who wishes to injure me, and heaven knows there are too many of the description called malicious on this side the Atlantic, as well as on the other.

I began my mechanical study at an early age, being only turned of eleven years, and after spending nearly fourteen years in London in different manufactories, and having pre­viously studied mathematic' [...]s, &c. I resolved to come to Ame­rica, which displeased my relations and friends in a great measure. I however undertook the enterprize, and arrived in Philadelphia on the 25th November 1793, (and if ever there was a mechanical volunteer came into America, I certainly have a fair claim to the title). I entered first into the employ of Samuel Wheeler of Philadelphia, [...] discovered was taking advantage of a stranger with regard to wages, &c. and as he had no great idea of cultivating the profession, I left him and went to another; but offers being made me by the late Mr. [Page 6] Hill, I began business for myself, and after working some years with success; (having produced twelve or fourteen branches that never had made their appearance here, and brought several to bear that were lying in a dorment state), I was recommended to the Bank of Pennsylvania.

That the conduct of the Bank of Pennsylvania, on the late robbery, cannot in my opinion, be pardoned either on the score of public justice or national policy; but as the affair stands, the public still entertain their suspicion, and the matter remains unravelled, owing (if my suspicions are well founded and my judgment right, though not competent in law to know) to a certain peculiar incomprehensibility. As several glaring reports are in circulation, (which in the body of this work I shall en­deavour to explain), and as persons are generally the last to hear what materially concerns themselves; I shall take notice of them, that such suspected characters may have an opportunity of contra­dicting the rumour; that they may have it in their power to clear their conduct of the heavy suspicion which is levelled against them. For my own part, I have a right to speak, because I suffered innocently; and as I am informed no legal steps can be taken to enforce a recompense for false and s [...]vere imprison­ment, I therefore take the liberty to lay my case before my fellow citizens. When I arrived in America little did I think that I was to become an author; and as little did I think that in­ [...]ious men were ever liable to suffer, what appears to me pre­judice, malice, and injustice. The reader will observe, the re­ward was tempting and peculiarly titillating to a keen appetite; and by the devouring maw of some one ready to swallow such a delicious morsel, many an innocent man has sufferred: for the sake of a great reward, I presume in some measure, was the cause of part of my sufferings; but my innocence has disap­pointed such, and given chagrin and disappointment to the bitterest (if not to say the most malicious) of my enemies. If the reward could have been obtained, I surmise whether or not my life might not have been at stake, by false representations, legally attested, and a variety of other attempts combined. The law of this country, says, the Bank is justifiable in taking up any person and putting him in prison when any accident happens to them: (for speaking of the bank, it must be understood those immediately in, and connected with it) provided the prisoner can be held to bail. The bank found no difficulty in this, as I could be held to such bail as I could not command; and their power as a body, could form a thousand different ways to en­sure [Page 7] my imprisonment; which they virtually (though I think rather viciously) effected. This being my case, my particular wish is to lay before my friends and fellow citizens, a statement of the whole transaction; to shew them and the world at large, the cruel treatment I have received, and which I conceive is not to be exceeded if equaled, (considering the [...]use in which I suf­fered) by any civilized nation.


ABOUT the third of the month of May, 1797, I was em­ployed in making fixtures and preparations for the book vault, which was built on the first story of the Bank of Pennsylvania. On the 7th of July following, I finished two iron doors under the direction of one Samuel Robinson, a carpenter, (belonging or working at aforesaid Bank, as I suppose), I observed to him at that time, (and he has since acknowledged that I told him) the stupidity of making iron doors on that construction, and at the same time telling him the insecurity of the locks; and as he was entrusted with the whole charge of the work, it was his duty to inform the President of the Bank of those impediments I laid down to him at that early period. The lock of the inner door is a common iron rim lock, with two tumblers and a brass bolt. The chief design of such locks are for cabbin doors, as the salt water has more effect on iron bolts than on those of brass. The outer door lock is an old room door iron-rim lock, with the latches taken out (the latches are in my possession to this day); and as this publication may no doubt reach Eu­rope, where grand securities are generally understood by bankers, merchants, and those ingenious mechanics who manufacture the same; I only ask, What must those men think or say, to hear of a bank of such magnitude being robbed, for even a compting house is a strange thing there? but if rightly con­sidered, How can it be otherwise, or suspected otherwise; when such vast property is only under the security of a ten or twelve inch room door lock? It is not my business to describe the plan of a bank lock—Neither is it my place to give a clear definition of any thing I manufacture, (not to say but I would do it), but I have been several times treated in this manner, viz.

First, After I have described the manner that such and such things were to be done, some paltry character carried off the plan elsewhere, and got it done in a bungling manner.

[Page 8] Second, If you attempt to describe the best mode of working, it is but very seldom listened to, and only answered in a low way, he or they only wanted a job for themselves; and people who possess those temporary ideas often reflect on the honest tradesman who warns them of their danger.

In the early part of 1798, I waited on Mr. Fox, President of the Bank of Pennsylvania, by the desire of Mr. Stocker, and as the subject of building a new Bank was then in agitation, I carried with me a box of wards; I only shewed him that work, but did not explain the utility of it—(let work shew itself when finished). At this meeting there was Mr. Fox—Smith the Ca­shier, and myself. A conversation took place, opened by me. The conversation is as nearly as I can rec [...]llect, thus—I told them I made the iron door and lock for the Bank that was rob­bed to the northward, and that that lock was of a construction which I had never made before; that it required two keys to open the lock, and but one key hole; that the Presi­dent carried one key, the Cashier the other, and that no money could be get out of the vault except bo [...]h keys were present. The robbery of the bank to the northward Mr. Fox and my­self perfectly agreed from report; that the inhabitants where this Bank is were divided, even private families were separate in opinion. The President and Cashier were jealous of each other—the President had one party, and the Cashier had another party. Whether any person ever borrowed any thing from this conversation, I may be presumed to entertain my apprehensions from late circumstances. The reader will please to observe, that I was not applied to for this iron door and lock, until sometime after the robbery of the northern Bank.

About the 4th or 5th of August, the Yellow Fever had assum­ed an alarming appearance, and the citizens were removing with precipitation in all directions; I was at this time employed in making several pieces of work for the temporary removal of the Bank of Pennsylvania, to a large house adjoining; which was for­merly occupied as a boarding house for young ladies: I was still working under Robinson the carpenter, who called at my shop and left word with my apprentice to stop the work, and that he would call and tell me what for. I waited a day or two—Being a little uneasy. I went to Lodge Alley where the prepa­rations were still going on and found Robinson; I asked him why the work was stopped, his answer to me was, that he would put me up to it by and by, at the same time giving me strict charge to take no notice to the bricklayers; [Page 9] however he never put me up to any thing, or his meaning for acting in this way. On Thursday about the 9th or 10th of the same month, Robinson brought two iron doors on a dray, (those were the two doors which I made about a twelve month before) for the book vault▪ together with the old rim locks, keys, &c. the doors were to be altered in the following order, viz. the door which was on the outside of the book vault was made the inside of the cash vault, and the inside door of the former, was made the outside of the latter, which was done by removing the hinges of each door to that fide which the locks were on; which was a complete reverse of the whole work. New key-holes were cut, &c. On Friday I began to operate on the doors, after doing Mr. Stocker's work. In the afternoon I was visited by Robinson the carpenter, who brought a person with him, a stranger to me. They both took a par­ticular observation of the locks, keys, &c. I told Robinson at this time, that those locks were not fit for a bank in the hearing of this stranger. (The reader will please to keep in direct and point blank view this stranger, and there may be a possible surmise of the character of some of his connections). During the whole work, Robinson informed me, that Smith the Cashier, would not employ me after this was done, owing to the delay. I answered it made little difference to me. I gave Robinson and his companion something to drink, and they both went away towards Second-street. They had not been gone above ten minutes, when Robinson's companion (the stranger,) came back, and went into my shop while I was answering a young woman at the door; I took no notice of him, as he appeared to be Robinson's confidential friend and companion. He did not stop above a minute, and came to the door. I said I was in a hurry, and must work all night, as the Bank was in such haste for their work being done. Robinson's companion answered, that he would see all Banks damn'd before he would kill himself this hot weather. He then took his course towards Front-street—he did not follow Robinson: whether they met again immediately or not, I cannot tell, but suppose they did. Next day (being Saturday), both doors, locks, &c. were carried to Carpenter's-Hall, where the business of the Bank of Pennsylvania was removed to. The front door of the vault was hung, the lock fixed complete, the inside door was hung; but the lock was not screwed on, owing to the following circumstances. A large bar of iron which is fixed in the brick-work, and serves as a lock-box or staple, the door [Page 10] being too broad, was brought back to my shop, to have a mor­tice cut out of the front style, to receive the above bar or lock­box. (It is to be observed, that the lock belonging to this door remained in the Bank all Saturday, Sunday, and part of Mon­day), when both doors were fixed to the satisfaction of the Bank. About this time, another smith, (not Smith the Cashier), was employed in fitting two doors belonging to another vault, which was kept a profound secret from me. I now began to look on Robinson with an eye of jealousy, and where his drift would run, was still unforeseen to me. The next work I did for the Bank, was altering several lamp irons, mounting lamp posts, &c. but to a certainty, I was not in that Bank after the 12th or 13th of the month, being then entirely done with their work. About this time, the Yellow sever began to increase. I made a small hydraulic engine for Mr. Cramond. About the 20th or 22d of the month, I was walking down Market-street, with an intention of buying some peaches at Market-street ferry; as I came round the corner and got abreast of the river Delaware, I there saw Robinson and his companion (who was with said Robinson at my shop), fitting drinking together: and it is to be observed, that Robinson and myself never met without asking each other to drink but at this time. I never saw two men so much▪ alarmed and confused in my life, as they were: I saw their alarm and noticed it, Robinson and his companion saw the discovery I had made on their apparent embarrassed countenances; but I could not tell what design they were about, to give them such an alarm, or what cause it could arise from. After they got the muscles of their faces composed, Robinson called me from the water side—He put the following questions to me. Mr. Lyon what brought you this way? Are you not afraid? the Yellow fever broke out here. I answered, What brought you this way? Are you not afraid? Mr. Lyon do you mean to go out of town? I do not know. Do you mean to go out of town? He answered he did not know. Says Robinson, Mr. Lyon there is a bar wanted for some of the doors of the Bank: he mentioned the door; but I do not recollect which door. His companion answered, Damn it, there will be no occasion for that. I told them, I was ready for them at all times. They were drinking either porter or beer sangaree, they never asked me to drink, and I thought I could perceive by their confused and apparent embarrass'd countenances, they would prefer my absence to my presence; I left them, and went to a peach beat, and bought some [Page 11] peaches, and carried them to my shop. Having nobody there but my apprentice, I said to him Jeamie, I saw Robin­son, and the stranger that was with him when we were doing the iron doors, at Market-street ferry; they seemed to me to be in deep study, I don't think they are after any good.

The last piece of smith-work I done, was a guard iron to a glass case for Mr. Dobson, it was fixed on Saturday the 25th, before breakfast. This day I was resolved to go out of town, I hired accordingly a horse and chair, and taking my apprentice with me, went down to Mr. Leiper's estate in Chester, where it was my intention to reside, as I had been in that gentleman's employ; if he could accommodate me while the [...]ever lasted I thought it might have been an advantage to both; but he was not there; I therefore returned to Philadelphia the same evening. If the fever had not broke out (or a report that it was) at Boston, it was my full determination to have gone there to work; I heard of a new bank building there, and it was my wish to work and be industrious as long as I was young and able. For some time previous to this, we (my apprentice and myself) were obliged to sleep in the shop, as the Yellow fever was next house to mine. On Sunday the 26th, [...]at break­fast in the shop, eat dinner at Lebanon, and supped with the family of my apprentice. Monday went into Bucks county about 20 miles, to farmer Paul's, where my old landlady and her fami­ly resided, (she being sister to Joseph Paul). The family were making me up a piece of linen for shirts; I took leave of the family with a full determination to go to the capes of Dela­ware. Tuesday 28th of August, the [...]ore part of the day was taken up in procuring a passage for the capes, which I found about 3 o'clock P.M. I had some linen in the wash, and be­ing close tied to time, I gave my apprentice orders to go on board the schooner, lying at Arch-street wharf, commanded by captain Edward Collins, bound to Broadkill creek, near Lewis­ [...]own; as my linen would take some time in drying. The wind being southerly, the schooner took more time than usual to beat down; I ordered my apprentice to heave out a signal at Almond-street wharf, which was done. I went on board of said schooner about 5 o'clock P.M. taking a bottle of rum, pro­visions, clothing, &c. The crew and passengers consisted of the captain with his wife, who had been newly married, a young man before the mast, a young woman, myself and James M'Ginley my apprentice. I took a proper view of all hands, and found them to be truly Delaware shallop-hands. Our schoo­ner [Page 12] (alias a wood shallop) was very leaky: the captain said he wanted to sell her, he said he was offered £.50 for her sails and rigging, but he thought it too little; the main sail was not without it's decorations, it was completely patched, and was not confined to canvas only; but towards the lower part, were pieces of check shirts or aprons. The peak hallyards had three or four knots, and it was with great difficulty some times to get the knots through the blocks either way; the foresail was passable; the gibb was a delicate piece of goods, the upper part being made fast to a woollen stocking. Who would sup­pose that the exalted commander of such a temporary unseam­ed leaky machine as this schooner or shallop; should, or could have the conscience to assume more dignity, more importance, and more affectation than the commander of a first-rate man of war in his Britanic majesty's navy—but that was the case.

We went down the river next day being Wednesday 29th, all well on board. I never saw my boy in higher spirits, from the time he came to me. On Thursday 30th, my apprentice began to complain, and from the nature of his complaint, and what I had heard of concerning the Yellow fever, seemed to correspond. In this forlorn situation, I did not know what in the world I should do; having no medicine on board, being no judge of his disorder, and far from home, where no me­dical aid could be called to his relief; was to any candid, feel­ing person; one of the greatest trials of mind a man can un­dergo—it was the greatest I ever met with. We had a high wind, and a heavy swell, and was obliged to put into Quahan­s [...]y for safety. The storm abated towards the evening, and we proceeded on our voyage. Next day, Friday 31st, my ap­prentice continued very sick: became quite weak, and lost the use of his limbs; and had it not been that I kept a watchful eye over him, he would have fallen overboard several times; in this low situation, I was obliged to hold him over the gun­nel: and the risque I ran may easily be conceived; as our blan­kets were frequently put together. On Saturday the first of September, we came into Broadkill creek. After we had sailed up the creek a considerable way, the schooner, or shallop run aground. We went on shore about 10 or 11 o'clock A.M. My apprentice seemed much better, but like myself, quite un­acquainted with the nature of his disorder. All his actions, and behaviour, appeared to me like a man in a state of intoxication. We travelled across a salt marsh, and the first house we came [Page 13] to, was a Mr. Fisher's, who gave us some cyder to drink, and likewise gave us directions to a tavern, which was two miles forward. I said to my apprentice, I will go forward, and do you walk on at your leisure. I saw by this time he was getting worse again, he could not wa [...]k without stag­gering; the leaders of his neck were become so weak, that his head was like a ships mast, having lost all her braces; it is impossible for any person to describe my situation; having no medicine with me, and being a stranger to the dreadful disorder he was labouring under; at the same time hearing so much of talk of the [...]ever and ague, I was led to believe that it was that disorder he was labouring under. I went forward and passed through two woods, and arrived at the tavern kept by Cornelius Fleetwood, about seven miles from Lewistown. Mrs. Fleetwood got dinner ready for us. After waiting a considerable time, I began to be uneasy—I went back the same road but could see nothing of my apprentice—Then went through both woods where I found him lying asleep under a tree, having not gone far from the spot where I left him at first. I raised him up, and with vast difficulty got him to Fleetwood's tavern. We both sat down to dinner, and much to my surprize, Sir, says he, I cannot eat. I prevailed on him to take a dish of coffee, which he consented to. He let fall the saucer. Mrs. Fleetwood standing by, I made an ex­cuse for him. If even I had been certain that it was the Yellow fever that was his disorder, my own idea suggested it would have been improper to have disclosed it on his account; as I was well assured we should not have long found shelter. Af­ter dinner I prepared to walk to Lewistown, telling Mrs. Fleetwood to let my boy have whatever he wanted. I then took leave of him, telling him I would be with him next morning, and bring some medicine. I proceeded to Lewistown, and arrived about five o'clock, P.M. and fell in with an old acquaintance, Captain Learmonth. Eat supper with him. Af­ter supper we took a walk about town; fell in company with Mr. Joshua Hall, who engaged with me for my boy to go to work for him; I slept that night at Mr. Elliot's tavern: next morning being Sunday, the 2d of September, I shaved myself ▪ eat breakfast with Mr. Elliot's family; I then bought half an ounce of bark for my boy, concluding in my own mind that his disorder was the fever and ague. I set off for Fleetwood's tavern, where I had left my boy, and there being two county roads, I was directed by a black man the wrong road, which [Page 14] led to Indian river; met a country gentleman, and from him received information, that I was six and a half miles out of the proper road. Being on foot, the day excessive hot; and my anxiety of mind in regard to my boy made me like a person distracted. However by the goodness of the country people, I was directed from one farm to the other, and came to Fleet­wood's tavern, where I found my apprentice in a shocking situation. I immediately procured two doctors, and when they met in the room they differed in opinion respecting the dis­order. Doctor Wilson of Lewistown, declared it to be the Yellow fever; Doctor Little, (from I know not where) insisted it was the nervous fever. I was to receive for the boy the aid of both, therefore it was not proper for me to differ with either, as I was no Doctor myself. However Doctor Wilson's opinion proved to be right. I cannot help remarking the modesty and care that this gentleman treated me [...]ith, and his sympathetic feeling for my perilous situation. Mon­day, September 3d, my boy continued very ill; had him bled, and bathed with hot vinegar, and some herbs by the direc­tion of Doctor Little; at the same time giving him Doctor Rush's po [...]ders in molasses—found that the calomel did not lay on his stomach, we found sugar to answer better. I nursed him night and day till Tuesday morning, 4th September, when about six o'clock that morning he died.

Here I cannot help adding my sorrowful regret for the loss of one of the most promising youths, perhaps in America; he was aged about 19 years, and had been with me about nine months. I took (while with me) all the pains in my power to instruct him in my profession; and began to instruct him in the knowledge of the useful problems of Euclid's Ele­ments: he began to see into the stupidity of the old mode of working which gave him an enthusiastic spirit of enquiry; he was honest; his principles were good; and he had every ap­pearance of becoming a useful member of society, and an ornament to his country. The attachment of this lad towards me was wonderful from many instances; and lastly, when we were obliged to sleep in the shop; (as I have before observed on account of the Yellow fever existing next-door to my house) he made his bed at my feet, and after a hard days work, groaning under the burthen of heavy labour; he frequent­ly would feel my feet in the night, and wake me and ask if I was well: it is wrong to reflect, but the loss I sustained by the death of this promising youth, I am certain I shall never retrieve.

[Page 15] I got a coffin made for him, and put him into the coffin my­self, and had all the difficulty attendent on such a mournful accident on my own shoulders, by this time: I had become so weak as to be scarcely able to follow him to the grave, to sigh a last farewel to his departed spirit. After burying him in Squire Hazard's burying ground, I was obliged to stay, close in Fleetwood's tavern where I was like a prisoner: all his customers left him, a school house just at hand every scho­lar forsook, I can hardly describe the deplorable situa­tion in which I was placed. In the space of a few days af­ter having got every thing clean away; the alarm began to wear off, and though I might venture into Lewistown, as the people there were afraid I would come too soon and bring the infec­tion: I remained in Fleetwood's till Friday 7th September, when I proposed to Mr. Fleetwood to go to Lewistown, as I was without company: he agreed. I asked him what I had to pay, he went and consulted with his wife, and he brought me in debt six pounds, I told him I had not so much money left, and to of­fer him a note I told him it was what I could not accept of my­self, I addressed Mr. Fleetwood in these words, Sir, I have but thirteen dollars and a half, I shall want some ready cash in Lewistown, and I am far from home; will you accept of my watch as I am a stranger to you, and I will pay you the six pounds, when you come to Philadelphia, (which has been since done) we were both satisfied, shook hands and parted. I went into Lewistown this day, in which place after my arrival I was spending my time very agreeable, in fishing, repairing guns, cof­fee mills, &c.

About the 12th, or 13th, of the month, I was told by one Samuel Edwards, a pilot, that a bank was robbed: he was not certain as to what bank, but believed it to be the bank of Penn­sylvania; I gave myself no concern about which bank, I after­wards saw an account of the robbery in a newspaper, I still gave myself no concern, but I began to think who could be the most likely person that had committed this robbery: my suspi­cions were strongly levelled against the carpenter and the stran­ger, I saw drinking with him at Market-street ferry.

On Sunday about the sixteenth of the month, a Mr. Hun­ter and his wife came to Lewistown, with whom I formerly lodged in Philadelphia; having from that circumstance a know­ledge of, or intimacy with each other for a few years before, we conversed about the death of several acquaintances, and the subject of the late robbery of the Bank of Pennsylvania; but he [Page 16] never hinted that there was any suspicions against me till next day (Monday), when as I was walking past the house of Mr. Elliot, Mr. Hunter, called me, and asked me to take a drink with him: he then repeated the story of the Bank robbery, tel­ling me, that there were many persons taken up, mentioning three names; but I did not recognize any of the names he men­tioned, I then asked him if there was one of the name of Ro­binson, taken up, he said he could not tell, he began to tell me a long circuitous story, adding that he was sorry there were many innocent people suspected: from his manner and mode of conversation I was induced to ask him if I was suspec­ted, he told me that I was, I asked him his reason for not tel­ling me sooner, he said he did not like to affront me. I then told him I would go to Philadelphia, which he strongly advised me to do. I then called my landlord Captain Learmonth, and consulted with him, who intirely approved of my resolution. In which manner I could get a passage to Philadelphia, I was entirely at a loss. I went immediately to a Captain West, who was to sail next day to Brandywine-creek about 28 miles from Philadelphia.

I got every thing prepared for the voyage before dinner, and in the afternoon I went out to sea, on board the British frigate called the Hind, commanded by Captain Larcom. This fri­gate and an armed brig came round to raise the Brack f [...]oop of war, which had been sunk some time before; I then began to form to myself the design of making a diving bell and go down into the vessel, as it appeared to me impossible to raise her: the day before they broke a 13 inch hawser, I went below with the armourer and spent the afternoon with several of the officers, till night came on. The pilot-boat had left me, and I was afraid I should have to stay on board till next morning: during this time some of my acquaintance on shore were du­bious of the commander detaining me, as they said I would be a useful man on board: at that time there were two officers on shore, my friends had formed to themselves this idea, viz. to keep the officers as hostages 'till I was restored. But to my great satisfaction, a pilot-boat belonging to David Hazard, came out to the brig with the two officers, and I returned on shore about eight or nine o'clock, I went home and found myself very hungry, every thing cleaned away, I went to the house of Mr. Elliot with an intention of getting something to eat and drink, I spent the evening and slept there that night. Next day being Tuesday about the 17th, or 18th, of the month. [Page 17] we set sail after dinner from Lewistown for Brandywine creek; we arrived on the Thursday following, 20th instant, before six o'clock in the morning. I went twice through Wil­mington, (where the Yellow fever was raging) to take the stage or get any other carriage to bring me up to Philadelphia. The fever was as fatal in Wilmington, in proportion to the number of its inhabitants, as it was in Philadelphia▪ in crossing Brandywine bridge, I begged a chew of tobacco from a traveller as a preventative—At this time all intercourse was stopt between the two places. I was very anxious to reach Philadelphia about 9 o'clock A.M. and resolved to walk it; the day was as warm as any during the summer, I took of my coat and carried it over my shoulders: on crossing Brandywine bridge a second time, I met a Mr. M'Kenzie, he asked me where I was going. I told him and what for; he told me, that the night before, he was in company with a clerk belonging to one of the banks, who informed the company, that they had got hold of a shallop­man, who took down the river with him, a smith and his ap­prentice; and that the smith had a red pock [...] book full of bank notes. My going down the river with him was true; but as to a pocket book I never carried one. I knew the shallop man I went down with, to be a poor, silly, ignorant creature, and this began to make me afraid there was something very serious. I bought a biscuit and three peaches—at first start I travelled to Chester, and saw no person in particular that I knew on the road, until I came to a white-house, where there was a number of German passengers consigned to Gurney & Smith, mer­chants, Philadelphia. I there met a Mr. Curtis, a potter; as soon as he saw me, he told me what I was going to Philadel­phia for; but persuaded me to go back again as they had got the people. Here we had something to drink, and I eat my biscuit, which was all the food I eat during my journey. As I had got so far, I thought I would go and show myself to some of my acquaintance on the out skirts of the town; I met Squire Wharton, I met also John Haines, the saddler; but did not know that he was a constable till next day. Mr. Curtis passed me on horseback, we met at Derby where we had something to drink, and as there was a barber in the house I got shaved, being about 7 miles from Philadelphia. I pro­ceeded to Mr. Stocker's country-house situated in the Irish track about two miles from Philadelphia, arrived there about 7 o'clock in the evening, very low, owing to the heat of the day, travelling on foot, and the little sustenance I took on the [Page 18] road; I was so tired I lay down among the grass before Mr. Stocker's door—he was not at home. I begged for some re­freshment, but instead of receiving any, the domestics began to quarrel about it; I asked for a drink of water, they would not give me any thing. I knew I could get any refreshment I wan­ted at Lebanon: but had thought they would have taken care of me for one night at Mr. Stocker's; but I was disappointed. I got up scarcely able to walk and was proceeding down Irish track lane, on my way to Lebanon, being dark, here I met two chairs, the first I asked if that was not Mr. Stocker, he answered yes. Don't you know me said I? Is that Lyon? yes, says I. Who took you? I told him I did not want any ta­king, I came of my own accord; I asked him what charge there was against me. He said there was a charge and would be glad If I could prove my innocence. I told him it gave me but little concern to do that. I then asked him to let me stay in his house that night, he answered no. I asked him to let me sleep in his stable among his hay, he answered no. I then begged him to let me sleep on his floor, as I was afraid to go into town; owing to the Yellow fever making such terrible ravages he again replied no. We agreed to meet next morning at 9 o'clock, I then proceeded to Lebanon, [...]here I fell in with Messrs. Saunders, Bingham, and Bri [...]ly: they gave me some supper and made me up a bed on the floor. I told those gentlemen, who I thought had robbed the Bank. They gave me strict charge not to mention any thing of the sort, told them I could not keep it; I had seen something that appeared suspicious to me, and I thought my suspicious [...]ere [...] founded. Next mor­ning being Friday, I got up and went into Philadelphia, to my own house, and [...] another suit of cloaths. I after­wards [...]ent through Lombard-street, where [...] met Mr. M'Ilwaine, who informed me that there was a state's warrant granted against me by Squire Jennings, this appeared wonderful to me. I was in a fainting situation owing to my long journey, the day before [...] borrowed a che [...] of tobacco in Lombard-street. The city was cloathed with that dismal melancholly garb that one might naturally expect, from the effect of so dreadful a disorder as reigned at that time. I went to Squire Jennings, by the advice of my friend Mr. M'Ilwaine, when I went to the office of Squire Jennings, he did not know me; when I told him my name, and upon asking him if he had granted a state's warrant, he said no. I then asked him if he had granted a state's warrant against any person who was under [Page 19] suspicion for robbing the Bank of Pennsylvania; he said yes, and by the order of Smith, the cashier of said Bank. Well said [...], here I am; what have you to say against me. He said he could not stop me, as he had not the warrants, in his possession. He then asked me where I had been; I told him at Cape Henlopen, about one hundred and fifty miles from Philadelphia; he asked me if I came that far on purpose. I answered yes. I then asked leave to get breakfast; he told me he would trust me to get breakfast, as I had been so honoura­ble as to come 150 miles to surrender myself. He strongly per­suaded me to go to Germantown, where the Bank was remov­ed; it was too far for me to walk and I was afraid to go into any of their carriages, because the sick were frequently in all the common carriages; I held in remembarance my former promise to meet Mr. Stocker, at nine o'clock, A. M. I breakfasted with my friend John Saunders, at Lebanon; but was very faint and low, and my joints were become stiff in a great measure. I proceeded to the house of Mr. Stocker, and arrived there about a quarter past nine o'clock; as I entered the gate, he mounted his horse, and said, Lyon I will be back directly. While he was gone, Squire Wharton, came to the house, Mr. Stocker returned in about two hours afterwards, and brought with him Mr. Fox, the President of the Bank, Smith the Cashier: (and Haines, the high constable was slily sent for) at this time I did not know that Haines, the saddler had been transformed into a constable. Mr. Stocker, being one of the City Alder­men, opened the examination. They took down in wri­ting all my travels from the time that I left Philadel­phia. Mr. Fox, asked me if I saw any strangers taking any particular notice of the locks, I answered no. (I did not when the question was asked, reckon Robinson the car­penter a stranger, as he and his acquaintance came to my shop while the doors were there; nor did I according to the question, conceive the other to be a stranger as I had seen him with Robinson). However I still held Robinson in suspicion, and from the circumstances of a Mr. Brodie, a carpenter, who was hanged at Edinburgh. On this examination before Mr. Stock­er, &c. I related the story, with the view to show, in what I held Robinson in suspicion for robbing the Bank; which was thus delivered, as near as I can recollect, viz. That in part of the year of 1788 and 1789, I was then on my travels in Scot­land. About this time Mr. Brodie the carpenter, had been tried and condemned to die for robbing the excise office. Mr. [Page 20] Brodie's long train of villanies was carried on in the following manner: He employed a vast number of journeymen, and built perhaps a street at a time: be that as it may, every house that he finished, he was sure to have false keys made for every door in the house, until he had a collection of false keys that would have filled a large cask. He had a secret place situated without the city, where he kept his false keys. The bunch of keys that was made for each house, had a tally, and when he wanted to rob any particular house, he possessed himself of such a bunch of keys, with such a gentleman's tally. He was a man entrusted very much, and did the government work in his line in that country; and carried on robbery for several years, till, he was detected robbing the Excise office. He made the first new invented gallows in the North, and was the first that swung upon his new invented machine. This circum­stance of Brodie's; connected with others, wrought so much on my mind, (and I knew that Robinson had all the Bank locks in his possession), that they appeared to me (whether visionary or not), like two parallel lines. During my exa­mination, became very faint, and called for some water, which was thought an implication of guilt, (here I would wish to ask the best informed and most experienced of mankind, if an innocent man has not generally more tremor when accused, than a guilty person; who is for the most habituated to an emboldened confidence from nature or from custom). Smith the Cashier, began to lay down the manner in which the Bank was robbed, and the two locks that were in my possession were opened, and that the cellar door was broke open; at this time I did not know the situation of the Bank, whether it had a cellar door or not.

The suspicions entertained against me at this time, were as follows, to wit. That I had two iron doors at my shop, with the locks. I knew very well my innocence, and as there was another smith employed in fixing two other doors; I asked why not suspect him? They answered me he did his work in half the time. I found I was in the hands of those who were not the most intelligent of mankind—rich, but probably connected with Gotham. Mr. Stocker addressed himself to me, after having had a secret conversation with Mr. Fox.—"Mr. Lyon, I am very sorry: but I must be under the disa­greeable necessity of committing you to prison." I begged of him not to do that: assuring him of my innocence, and ac­companied with all the entreaties I was master of; telling [Page 21] him if he sent me to prison, he was not only sending an honest man there, but the son of an honest man. But to my grief and sorrow, at this moment entreaties were vain, opposed to inflexible obduracy. Mr. Stocker told me he had proof against me; this appeared strange to me, and where the great error lay, my p [...]rating eye could not discover. Mr. Stocker said, here is Haines [...]he constable waiting for you. I submitted.—I knew the Yellow fever had made its appearance, and had its effect (I believe) in prison. This to me was like fronting the lines of an enemy, exposed without a possible means of de­fence; but there is to some [...] not to be avoided.

I was then ordered into a chair with Haines the constable, who drove me to prison. After he had lodged me in the hands of the head goaler, he went home and sickened with the Yellow fever, I myself never expected to come out alive. I reflected on the hardship of my fate, but consoled myself with the idea, that innocence would be shielded by providential om­nipoten [...]y. When I entered the prison, there were between twenty or thirty cases, of that almost unsparing disorder. I was put instantly under close confinement. The keeper of the women's wing had charge of me, whose heart was not of the dove kind, but rather in kind, more like to a lapstone. I begged of him to get me some refreshment. He brought me some rice soup: it was unwholesome, being made of old rice [...] and even at the best of times, there is not too much nourish­ment in any of their dishes; but it was more particularly the case in regard to me, considering the low situation I was in. About this time, I began to be drawn double. I offered the keeper a sum of money, (part of the little I had) to get me something nourishing; adding that I could not eat the soup. He answered (not very smoothly) if I could not, that I might do without. He then took the soup away, and I was twenty four hours afterwards without a morsel. About this time, the deaths in the city were very numerous; according to report, they exceeded one hundred per day. The room where I was closely confined, was in the north west corner, where I had a view into Sixth-street; here they kept their potatoes, manufactured shoes, stores, &c. I had about 12 feet by 4 to walk in, the greatest part of my friends were out of town; and those that were in town, were afraid to come to the pri­son; as the fever was raging there, and that with a degree of violence, together with the heavy charges exhibited against me, were sufficient preventatives against my having the con­solation [Page 22] of seeing any of my friends. I sent for a worthy ci­tizen, of the name of William Lace: who visited me twice. I told him of my suspicions. He begged of me to keep quiet. I told him I could not—and that if they would let me loose, I thought from what I had seen at Market-street ferry, I could sift the matter out. Here Mr. Lace took sick with the Yellow fever; and I was fearful I should never see him more. About this time, my old keeper died with the Yellow fever, (and I am apt to think did not leave too much humanity behind him), his name was Lewis, professing to be a quaker. Some acquaintances occasionally spoke to me at the window—I wanted something to eat—the keepers neglected me sometimes. I had a little money in my pocket; I tried if I could throw a potatoe into the street, which I did; I called an old acquain­tance to the window, and was about throwing him a dollar to buy me some meat; he went off telling me he would call again, but I did not see him 'till I was liberated. Mr. John Saunders, of Lebanon, visited me, who procured me some re­freshment—he called a second time, and returned me my money back, with tears in his eyes, (the most impressive language to shew the finest feelings of human nature), imploring me ear­nestly to keep up my spirits under my heavy load, he took leave of me and in a few days after died with the prevailing disorder. Thus the humane and good are as liable to the dispensations of providence, (if not more so), than the crafty, mean, and villainous.

About this time the Bank had sent down to Lewistown, and enquired concerning my travels, and found every thing to be correct, (as related in the first part of this work), ex­cept an omission of telling them that I was on board of a British frigate, which they got an account of there. Mr. Fox, the President of the Bank, sent a letter to Mr. Peter Helm, the head gaoler, with a twenty dollar note inclosed. The substance of the letter I understood from the gaoler as he opened the iron door where I was confined, was thus: He asked me if I had read the Governor's reward, and the ad­ditional reward of the Bank. I answered, Yes, I have read both. He then asked me if I knew any thing concerning the robbery, as the letter sent from Mr. Fox contained a twenty dollar note, to be laid out in necessaries for me, and a desire to know if I knew any thing of the robbery. I answered, I knew nothing of the robbery; but that I suspected Robinson the carpenter, who had all the locks in his possession, and as the [Page 23] outer and inner doors must have been open, before they could get to the vault doors, even allowing the robbery to have been committed by opening the cellar door. I never had the cellar door lock in my possession, nor the outer or inner door lock, and putting me into prison on so slight a view of the case; was as great a cruelty under the exercise of the law, as perhaps ever was committed on the body of any man. About this time, my friend William Lace was getting over the Yellow fever, which circumstance was a peculiar gratification to me; he had buried one of his children, a regretted loss no doubt to him—he visited me after his recovery several times. Haines, the high constable, after staggering through the consequential force of the prevailing malady, visited me likewise—the head gaolar with him. He asked me several questions; I told him of my innocent, though hard case, I likewise told him that I had reason to suspect certain persons. By this time he had learnt I suspected Robinson, the carpenter, but I gave him no satisfaction; I told him I had reason to suspect two persons, and would be glad to get my liberty, as from the situation I had seen those two persons whom I suspected, I would si [...]t the matter out. I likewise told him of the injustice in the Bank, by keeping me under close confinement so long; telling him at the same time, I thought they had taken the wrong method to find out such a robbery. I then related to him a comparison, which I had read of the superstitious customs of old, which is thus, as near as I can recollect. That in the days of yore, wh [...] a person died, it was supposed by some writers that the soul does not leave the body immediately, but gradually withdraws as the body cools; during this time, the relatives or friends of the deceased, sets what is called the passing bell to ring; and in those days, the people believed the Devil to be the Prince of the air and being fond of music, this bell was rung as they said, to divert him aside, so as the soul might pass up to the milky way without infernal obstruction. Having related to Haines this ancient story, and saying at the sametime, the people who had committed this daring robbery, had whispered into the ears of the Bank, that it must be this one, or that one, and look that way, or the other way; but don't look this way: while they who committed the fact, were snugly hiving their booty. He le [...]t me, and went I suppose to the directors of the Bank, who I have not the least doubt, had given him every instruction in what manner to proceed. But I found sufficient suspicion to believe this visitor of artifice, [Page 24] [...] be keen for the reward. I was again visited by him in a few days after, but at first sight I saw (as far as I could judge of appearance) the reward was his object. We entered into a long conversation. He told me if I could give him any information, so as the bank could get at some of their money, that I should be entitled to two thousand dollars. I told him it was out of my power, as I was an innocent man, and knew nothing of the affair; but I still had my suspicions. He then asked my suspicions. I declined giving him any satisfaction; but said if they would let me loose, I thought I could catch the fellows. He told me that the Directors of the Bank had a meeting, and had given up the whole to Mr. Stocker; and that it was left entirely at his pleasure to set me at liberty if he thought proper. This part of Haines' story appeared reason­able to me, because (as far as I ever understood) in the old country, they cannot keep a man in prison on mere suspicion exceeding the space of forty-eight hours, without the liability of the law, (and that liability consequential). He then asked me if I would tell my suspicions to Mr. Stocker. I told him as it was left to Mr. Stocker to liberate me, I would not tell my suspicions 'till I got my liberty, and then I should have a better opportunity of sifting into my suspicions before I would pro­ceed. Shaking me by the hand, he delivered me a message from Mr. Stocker, that I should still think him (Mr. Stocker) my friend. I told him it was impossible for me, considering every circumstance, to think him my friend, after the severe treatment I had experienced through his means; as he certainly must have known or suggested to himself that I was innocent of the charge. I told Haines that there were many innocent men condemned in prison; he said he believed it to be true, as it is common here (meaning the prison) to punish the innocent for the guily. I told him that such a disregard to justice would, or might certainly have an effect to cause a revolution in this country, and drew several inferential remarks relative to the bastile of Paris.

I was frequently visited by the convicts, who passed occa­sionally by my room door, and amongst those I must parti­cularize a certain John Sheaffer, who had a brother confined on account of the late robbery of the Bank; he asked me several questions, such as, where I was at the time the rob­bery was committed, &c. and giving him a full account, &c. the reward being great, and he to gain his liberty; laid one of the deepest and most machinating schemes that could be [Page 25] capable of villainy, ever heard of, for the sake (of what I suppose) a reward.

Under this long solitary confinement, I wanted books (divest­ed of any other amusement), to pass away my time; I at length got the Bible and Robert Burn's Scotch poems, which made my library as complete as was in my power to collect. I read until I was tired, and walked till I was weary, every day expecting that my releasement would come; and although I am, and have been, very much given to professional study, I could not study the grand science which I have made so much progress in, (considering my age,) embracing every opportunity to do so. If I attempted to pass away my time in natural musical harmony, (i. e. whistling and singing), I was ordered to a dungeon. If I spoke to any person at the window, I was to be sent to the cells (or a dungeon), this I thought very hard, for to suffer in the manner I did, before a trial commenced, (or a cause for trial); the usage I received was worse than any prisoner, either convicted or those for trial, as we all suffered our confinement, with this difference—the convicts had a large yard to walk in, while I was lingering by myself, on suspicion only; and at this period no person admitted to hear the sorrowful breathings of truth, which emanating from innocence, might have had a sympathetic effect. Every hour expecting to hear of the discovery of the robbery, I frequently prayed in the most fervent manner (when it appeared to me that the robbery was like to be for ever concealed), that the Great Creator might confuse those who had the money, so as the whole might be brought to light—to liberate the innocent, and bring to condign punishment the perpetrators of the deed, for the commission of which I was suffering. My breast was now swelled considerably, and I was drawn almost double, my hair fell from my head as I walked in the room. At this moment I could not help taking a retrospect of the past, reflectively considering my former situation in life, being in possession of a house full of furniture, which cost me be­tween three and four hundred pounds; having three capital beds, and to sleep on the hard boards every night, was a solemn and serious change. After I had suffered five weeks or up­wards, in this miserable and forlorn situation; Haines the con­stable came to the prison with a horse and chair, and told me Mr. Stocker would be glad to see me. I dressed myself as well as circumstances would admit, and went before Mr. Stock­er, with a long beard, which a razor had not touched since [Page 26] the time I came through Derby. Mr. Stocker said he was glad to see me. I told him I [...] is very sorry to see him, owing to the wretchedness of my situation, and began to ask him what could be his meaning for sending me to prison; to this question he gave me no satisfactory answer. After expostulat­ing with him for some time, Mr. Fox, the President of the Bank came. No sooner did he enter the room than Mr. Stocker and himself, (the President), began to talk about some great dinner, (I thought that human misery might have com­manded a little more respect), and Mr. Stocker observed he was very sorry that he lost so good a dinner—this dinner was at Germantown.

Let the reader consider within himself my miserable situation, just brought out of a loathsome and unwholsome prison, and to hear two men unfeelingly trumpeting to each other in common though exulting language, the glorious gormandizing that had taken place on such a day at Germantown. I observed, (or thought I observed) or saw by this time, Mr. Fox was but a young man in every sense of the word, as to his experience in the world. We had a long conversation on the art of lock-making, but I could not extract from them the least informa­tion by what means or manner the inner hall door of the Bank was opened; this seemed to put the whole congregation to a nonplus, with regard to my case, this point only ought to have been sufficient to have cleared me, and I believe in the real opinion of the whole it did—but say they, you are an in­genious man, and could do such a thing. After all my trouble and vexation, I found I had to deal with men who were rather more obstinate and persisting than experienced, and I was suf­fering, and had suffered from that cause. I was then asked for my suspicions. Mr. Stocker got pen, ink and paper, and took down the following words, as near as I can recollect, viz. That on the Friday afternoon, or the day after the iron doors came to my shop, Robinson the carpenter, came to my shop with a stranger, they both examined the locks very closely; Robinson gave me strict orders to go on as quick as possible, I told him in the hearing of the stranger that the locks were not fit for a bank. Robinson's answer was, Damn it, it will make a shift. I gave Robinson and his companion something to drink, and they both went towards Second-street. In about five or ten minutes after, Robinson's companion came back and went into the shop, while I was answering a young wo­man at the door. Robinson's companion did not stop one [Page 27] minute—as he came out of the shop, I said to him, I believe I must work all night, the Bank is in such a hurry for their work. Robinson's companion answered, and said, he would see the Bank damn'd before he would kill himself for them; he then went towards Front-street▪ While I was hanging the doors at the Bank, I saw this companion of Robinson's there; but I could not tell what he was, I had never seen him 'till within those two days—Robinson's companion appeared to me to be a clerk, (I suppose in the Land-office), as Carpenter's hall had been occupied by the Land-office, prior to the remo­val of the Bank of Pennsylvania—Robinson's companion seemed to me to be well acquainted with the whole of the Banking house. I afterwards, about the 20th or 22d of August, saw Robinson and his companion at Market-street ferry: just as I turn'd round from Market-street, they were both sitting at the front window, and I declare, I never saw two men so alarmed as they were at the sight of me, they stared and looked con­fused at one another; I saw they were alarmed at my appear­ance, therefore I did not go near them; but they observed I saw the confusion of their countenances. Robinson called me to the window—they were drinking either porter or beer san­garee, but did not ask me to drink. Robinson says to me, Mr. Lyon what brought you this way, are you not afraid? the Yellow fever broke out here. I answered, what brought you this way, are you not afraid? Mr. Lyon, says Robinson, do you mean to go out of town? I do not know, says I—Do you mean to go out of town? he answered, he did not know. Says Robin­son, Mr. Lyon there is a bar wanting for a door of the Bank, mentioning what door; but I do not recollect what door it was he mentioned. His companion replied, Damn it, there will be no occasion for that. I answered them, I was ready for them at all times; however I saw by their countenances they wanted to get rid of my company; I left them, and went to a peach boat and bought some peaches; carried them to my shop, and gave my apprentice some of them. I said to my apprentice, Jeamie I saw Robinson and that stranger, at Market-street ferry, that was in our shop while we were doing the iron doors; they seemed to be in deep study, and I do not think they are after any good. Having delivered those suspicions, and Mr. Stocker having taken down the whole in writing; I asked him if it had any effect, will you give me the reward. Both Mr. Stocker and Mr. Fox, said it was good for nothing. I then demanded my liberty, from what Haines [Page 28] had related to me in prison, viz. That the directors of the Bank had, had a meeting, and left it in the power of Mr. Stocker to do as he thought proper—which information I communicated to Mr. Stocker. Mr. Stocker told me it was no such thing, and that it was out of his power to discharge me. I then called Haines, who was out of doors, to relate what he said to me in prison. He seemed not to understand me. Says I to Haines, did you not tell me in prison, that the Directors of the Bank had empowered Mr. Stocker to liberate me, after I had delivered my suspicions? Haines with all the assurance properly belonging to the profession he now follows, (and as if he had been long hacknied in the profession), flatly denied the whole. Mr. Fox asked me why I mentioned Ro­binson's name so often. I answered because I did not know his companion's name. I perceived by this time the partiality of Mr. Fox towards Robinson; he would not believe that Robinson ever made use of an oath▪ I have heard Robinson swear, and have seen him get as drunk as any other man, but Mr. Fox would not believe this. Previous to the Yellow fever I had heard a very mean character of Robinson, in several res­pects, which strengthened my suspicion, after I had heard of the robbery of the Bank. I asked Mr. Stocker in what man­ner I should get out of prison. He told me it was out of his power to do any thing for me, as he was an Alderman when he committed me, but since chosen one of the Assembly, of course he was obliged to relinquish the former. I told him it was cruel in him to serve me so, and who was his prompter I could not tell; but certainly there was some person in the Bank who owed me some private animosity; and observed likewise to him, that there were men in that Bank, who set up the empty pretensions of being gentlemen, that I would not go over the threshold of a door to do them a service, owing to their meaness; and telling him at the same time not to cast any reflections on any other nation, for I plainly see, said I, when power falls into the hands of the Americans they were not always more humane than other nations. Said I, would it not have been much better for you to have taken and hung me at once. Mr. Stocker answered, Mr. Lyon if we have done wrong, there is the law open for you. Sir, said I, in what manner must I act to get out of prison. He told me I must hire a lawyer, (whether I had money or not I supppose), and be removed by habeas corpus before any of the Judges, and g [...]t out on bail. But, Sir, says I, the bail you asked of me [Page 29] on my first examination was 150,000 dollars, which was, and is out of my power to command. But probably the bail, said he, will be lowered. The Yellow fever was now extensively spreading, and sweeping all before it in the prison, which af­fected me much; but Mr. Stocker told me, that if the affair was found out, and if I was clear, all my losses should certainly be made up to me. He told me he had sent me twenty dol­lars for my relief. I thanked him—Mr. Fox entered the room after having had a long private conversation with Haines, the supposed agent of the Bank of Pennsylvania; says he, Mr. Lyon are there any such things as dubbs to be bought at the ironmongers. Dubbs, Sir, said I, [...] don't know what you mean. Why (says he) keys ready cut, with the wards complete, and fit to open any lock. I told him I did not think there were any such to be bought. Well, says Mr. Fox, I sent you twenty dollars for your relief, in case you wanted any thing. I thanked him. I thought Mr. Stocker's twenty dol­lars, and the twenty dollars from Mr. Fox, which made forty dollars, would keep me pretty comfortable for some time. I begged of them to tell the gaoler to use me well, as I thought for the last fortnight, I had been roughly treated; they both declared it was not their orders. After laying every circum­stance down, that they had no right to suspect me, Mr. Fox asked me if I knew one Boyd a bricklayer; I told him I did not, but had heard of him. He then asked me who I thought could do such a job, as making false keys; I mentioned seve­ral, amongst the rest was my brother James. Mr. Stocker told me there would be a meeting of the Directors, and that he would do all in his power to modify them, and (says he) if you are found to be an innocent man, all your losses shall be made good to you again. I told him it was impossible for them ever to make my loss good, for it is easy (says I), to take away the good name of a man, but not a very easy matter to re-establish that name, so taken away; I have (I observed to him) acted as a gentleman since I was put in prison; but I now found my temper could no longer be restrained, and told him never more to expect a civil answer from me. I was then ordered back to close confinement. I went into the chair along with Haines, who I began to consider as a speculator on hu­man wretchedness. I prevailed on him to drive me into Third-street, as I wanted to speak to Captain Guy, which he con­sented to. As Captain Guy was well acquainted with the gaoler, I told him to step forward and speak to the keeper, [Page 30] and prevail upon him to use better treatment towards me, which he did the next day; the gaoler then asked my complaint, which [...] delivered to him, viz. That I was in want of many necessaries, and for a fortnight no person ad­mitted to see me. The gaoler told me that orders were given, and he could not help it, and that he expected another rush from the prisoners. I told him if he apprehended any danger, open the door of my room and I will defend you as far as lies in my power. The city as I rode through had a dismal, deadly, and dreadful appearance—no vehicle to be seen but those soul striking carriages, adapted for the conveyance of the dying and the dead. After I was re-conveyed to my old habitation, and there again fixed, I begged as a kindness that a friend might be permitted to bring me some paper, that I might have the pleasure of writing to some of my friends, and to see if any of them would bail me out—which was procured. I wrote a letter first to Mr. Stocker, pointing out to him the impropriety of keeping me in prison, likewise laying down the crippled situation of the Bank in regard to it's security against robbery, and that as I had warned them of danger almost twelve months prior to their last misfortune, and they would not listen to me; it appeared to me there was a veil over their eyes, so as to hinder them from seeing clearly, and that their locks were on the barn door principle. After closing this letter I do not know from what impulse, (but it might be from a foolish one or otherwise, but it was a sudden one), I directed this letter in the following manner, to wit. John C. Stocker, Esquire, from the Honourable Patrick Lyon, now in Philadelphia prison. This letter, the contents of which unfolded the unguarded stupidity of their security for such ex­tensive property, and such a bold direction to one of the State Legislators, (who perhaps might think himself one of the Lord's annointed), had such a powerful effect, that it raised a fer­ment or a flame throughout the whole Bank, and they all can­didly declared, (and I give them credit for their candour in this particular), that they would stretch every [...]don to bring me to punishment, (the view of justice I presume was then ob­scured by the interference of prejudice). There is not a doubt but writing the truth might gall the soreness of some of their half healed wounds, but truth being my mistress. I follow her dictates, and penned what I did; and what I did write I defy any or either of them to prove to the contrary, (I mean in the body of the letter, but leave the superscription out of [Page 31] the question, as a mere matter of inanity). I wrote letters to several of my friends to step forward in my behalf; and one of them I cannot help remarking on—I had formerly put (with entire confidence in him) into his possession, all the mo­ney I possessed, and had such a particular confidence of his integrity that I did not require a receipt; he sent me an an­swer to the following purport, that he would not bail me for a five penny bit, (or what is commonly termed a fip-penny bit). I reflected on mankind, and thought at that trying period of time, the sin af ingratitude was the superlative crime of nature—but I leave the wretch to his own feelings. At that identical time I had not one friend left in the city but William Lace, who publicly declared that he would abide by me, (as he thought I was wrong'd), to the last; he was not afraid of any consequences, as he was well convinced of my innocence—that man (William Lace), I believe, possesses the soul of an independent and honest being, and is worthy of his creator; he frequently visited me at the risque of his life, while the Yellow fever was ravaging nearly indiscriminately in all parts of the city, but more particularly in every quarter of the prison. Lawyer Ross visited me, I stated my case to him, he imagined as the robbery had been so long dormant, it would not be found out; and he observed that many men from circumstances appertaining to the law, were punished though innocent, that I was so situated as not to hope (for the present), any mitigation of course. I got shaved by this time, and was removed by habeas corpus before Judge Shippen, who was sitting about three miles from town; my worthy friend Mr. Lace procured two horses and chairs, and gave a lawyer a fee. I set out accompanied with the head gaoler, Mr. Lace, and Mr. Lace's son; we came to Judge Shippen's residence. I laid down to the lawyer employ'd, the whole circumstance, and particularly in what manner the outer and inner door could be opened, as those locks were never in my possession, and that those doors must have been opened, before they could get at the vault door. However after all my trouble in relating every point, which I thought would have so operated, as to cause my discharge—I found myself disappointed.

We came before the Judge, and after waiting some time, Mr. Fox and his attorney, Mr. Rawle, came. The appear­ance of Mr. Rawle to me (although he was retained against me), I was much pleased with, for I dearly love to see a [Page 32] good and ingenious workman in any profession; the charge was then opened, and Mr. Fox being sworn, he went on as near as I can recolect, thus, viz That the business of the Bank was removed to Carpenter's-Hall, that two iron doors from the old Bank of the book vault, were sent to Mr. Lyon's shop, to have the hinges, and locks removed, &c. The doors were sent some where about the 9th or 10th of Au­gust, but to a certainty it was on a Thursday; several mes­sages were sent to Mr. Lyon, to make as great speed as possi­ble, with the doors, and that Mr. Lyon was told that the doors were for the cash vault. That another smith was em­ployed to hang the doors of the other vault and that the other smith did his work in a much shorter time; that he (mea­ning myself), said on his first examination, he did some work for Mr. Stocker during the time, that those doors were in his pofession, and he said the Locks that were on those doors were not worth a damn for a Bank; that his delay with the doors appeared suspicious, as the Bank had been robbed. That the inside door was hung first on the Saturday following, that he did nothing on the outside door till Monday, that he (Ly­on), was known to work late the Saturday night when he had those doors in his possession. That he has endeavoured to suspect a Mr. Robinson, and another gentleman. Here it is necessary to pause a little to enquire who this said gentleman was, whom Mr. Fox had such an unlimitted confidence in, and of his in­tegrity likewise; who was this said gentleman but Isaac Davis, the jaunting companion (sometimes) of Smith the Cashier, or information belies such jaunting. The same Davis who was courting a relation, (if not a sister), of the wife of the said Smith; it would have been cruel indeed to have suspected so amiable, so friendly, and so good a character, as this Isaac Davis (alias the gentleman) was. (That is, Robinson and the GENTLEMAN), as soon as they heard they were suspected, came forward and gave a very good and satisfactory account of themselves, and where they were the time the robbery was committed; that he (Lyon), told Mr. Haines the high consta­ble he would not tell his suspicions until he got his liberty; that on his second examination he said the inside lock, was a good one, that having those locks in his possession we were jealous of him making false keys, as he is a good workman in that line which jealousy hindered him from doing our work in future, or having any acquaintance in (or of), the Banks▪ [Page 33] Mr. Rawle then read the paper, that Mr. Stocker wrote [...] my second examination, with Robinson's name, but I did not know the name of the gentleman, who I saw drinking with him at Market-street ferry; but I told Mr. Stocker to send for Robinson, and close examine him; then ask him who was drink­ing with him, says I, the man who was along with Robinson at Market-street ferry, is the person I mean, and whom I suspect to have robbed the Bank. He (Mr. Rawle), then read the letter or paper that I wrote to Mr. Stocker, with the curious direction (as aforementioned), and that he was at Lewistown the time the robbery was committed, we are sure of; and the account of his travail throughout we are in possession of which is allowed to be true and just, but still he is an ingenious man, and what Mr. Smith, the Cashier, has represented to me ap­pears suspicious; his proving an alibi is to be sure in his fa­vour. Judge Shippen then asked the following questions, to wit. Mr. Fox have you ever had a former acquaintance with Mr. Lyon? Mr. Fox answered, I had often heard of him; he has made me a smoke-jack for the use of my house, which answered very well, and he did the work of the Bank before I was elected President; the first job he did for the Bank under my direction, was his opening an iron chest, and I had always heard an honest charactor of him: he was recommen­ded to the Bank by Mr. Stocker, in particular, and many others. Mr. Judge Shippen then observed that from what Mr. Fox had related to him, the suspicion appeared well grounded and he could not take upon himself the power of discharg­ing me: therefore it would be proper to hold me to bail. My lawyer, then began to enquire after the bail; and for what sum. The ground work, placed in his hands by me was totally neglected; which (I surmise) had it been properly handled in a true workman like manner, might have complete­ly operated for my discharge. I stood and heard a farce of unfounded (not to say stupid and groundless), suspicions, non­sensically put together; fit only for the meridian of a tea-table; that (as far as I am able to judge) scientific men would have thought a mere bagatelle, and an insult upon their under­standings. I then asked Mr. Fox in what manner the inner door was opened; allowing the robbery to have been committed from the cellar door. For the inner door lock was never in my possession. Mr. Fox then began to suppose, that some person was concealed in the body of the Bank. I then asked Mr. Fox who had possession of the keys of the vault? he answered, [Page 34] Mr. Smith the Cashier. I told Mr. Fox that neither of the locks were fit for the security of a Bank (I spoke as far as my professional knowledge led me to suggest). I told him like­wise, that I would not trust a bag full of King George the se­cond's farthings under the security of such locks. After several observations on the different methods of Bank work. I told them (that as a professional man), I knew more about such work, than the whole of them combined, and put together. Mr. Rawle replied; from that very cause we have got hold of you; as you are from every report (and what does a lawyer know, or plead on, but from report), an ingenious workman. I was then held to a bail of six thousand dollars. Mr. Helm, the head goaler then stept forward, and said, Sheaffer had some­thing concerning the business to come forward with. I was then ordered back to prison, in expectation of getting bail. The bail being lowered to six thousand dollars; I thought it would not cause me much trouble to raise a bail of six thousand dollars. In this predicament, I sent word to all that I suppo­sed my friends; but every one of those supposed friends, re­linquished the idea of serving me: because I was innocent, and unfortunate. Likewise public confidence (as far as related to me), being greatly diminished by the injurious (and I think I am warranted to say unjust) representations of the Bank. The only staunch friend (even in this trying situation) was Mr. Wil­liam Lace. I was replaced in my former comfortable abode: (viz. close confinement). Considering to myself, how I was placed, was a double severity of mind, and feeling. I looked and judged of myself, as a stranger in a free and liberal coun­try. I knew nothing of the systematic plan, (or I might, if impassioned call it villainy), that had been represented against me. The robbery was still immured under the murky veil of darkness, impossible at that present moment to be brought forward to the lucid glare of day. Situated as I was, and not a person absolutely coming to my relief, I thought (and felt), that it was the hardest trial any man's mind and constitution could undergo. The bail was now reduced from 150,000 dollars to 6,000 dollars, which former sum was demanded (or exacted) by Mr. Stocker; I now thought it was out of my power to raise even, 6,000 dollars; my mind (supposing I must bear the hard­ship of fate resting on my shoulders, and a heavy burthen indeed it was), was quiet and easy. I here at this time found I had but one friend who was in town, viz. Mr. William Lace. It may be necessary at the peculiar and thoughtful moment [Page 35] which then occurred, to state (as it was then a just idea) the view of my worldly concerns, to wit. When I left Philadelphia to escape the probable fatal effects of the Yellow fever, (not the Bank robbery), I possessed the following—I had a house full of furniture, every thing as complete as a person in my cir­cumstances would wish, and which cost me between three and four hundred pounds; my winter wood was laid in; a smart young fellow for an apprentice, whose loss I most sincerely regret; I then had and now possess, (after all my hardships and sufferings) a shop full of tools, that I do not believe there is such in America, I am certain there is not such a collection in Philadelphia; I had likewise 1400 dollars in the Bank of North America; the first deposit was on the 17th of April, 1797, consisting of 860 dollars; the second deposit, November 3d 1797, of 220 dollars; the third deposit was on the 14th August, 1798, of 410 dollars, and the checks I drew on said Bank amounted to 90 dollars, which left a balance in my favour of 1400 dollars. The last circumstance I shall here sum up, (though it may appear whimsical) is my Will and Testament, which was drawn up, signed and sealed, (in pre­sence of Mr. North, &c.) on the eighth day of August, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight, a copy of which I subjoin: viz.

The last Will and Testament of Patrick Lyon, of the city of Philadelphia, Smith.

Being of sound mind, and disposing memory, is as follows: namely.

First, I desire to be buried in as frugal a manner as possi­ble, consistent with decency; (that is to say), a plain stained coffin, and that there be a foot and head stone to my grave, with the following inscription—

My sledge and hammer's both, d [...]clin'd,
My bellows too have lost their wind;
My fire's extinct, my forge decay'd,
And in the dust my vice is laid;
My coal is spent, my iron's gone,
My nails are drove, my work is done.

My Executors hereafter named, having deposited my remains as above described; then as to all my worldly estate what­soever, and wheresoever, wherewith it may please the Great Author of my being and existence to bless me, the whole being [Page 36] personal, I dispose of as follows: viz. After payment of my funeral expenses, the expense of this my will, and all my just debts; and also my executors retaining in their hands for their trouble in executing this my will, all reasonable charges, and all the remainder, arising from the sale of my household fur­niture, implements of trade, ready money, debts owing, and so forth. I give and bequeath to my father, Patrick Lyon, of the city of London—Smith. But in case, he, the said Patrick Lyon should be dead, then to my mother, Mary Lyon, wife of said Patrick Lyon, if living; otherwise to my youngest sister Jane Lyon, if living; otherwise to my uncle John Craig, of the city of Aberdeen, in Scotland, Scrivener: and if in case none of the aforesaid persons should be living, then my mind and will is, that the aforesaid bequest, shall be divided to and amongst those next of kin, to the said John Craig, a share and part alike, and I do hereby nominate, constitute, and appoint, Richard Guy, bricklayer, James Fraquier, stone-cutter, and Thomas Dobson, bookseller, all living in the city of Philadel­phia, aforesaid, to be the executors, of this my last will and testament; declaring, ratifying and confirming this, to be, my last will and testament. In witness whereof, I Patrick Lyon, the testator, have to this my last will and testa­ment, set my hand and seal, this eighth day of August, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight.

Signed, sealed, published and declared, by the said testator, Patrick Lyon, as and for his will and testament in the presence of us, (who at his request, and in his presence, and in the presence of each other) subscribe our names as witnesses thereto.


After a valuation of my houshold furniture, my capital tools, stock in trade, and ready cash, it would have amounted to 6,000 dollars at least; so that whoever came forward to be my bail, could be no looser. It was now drawing on towards the latter end of October, and after a few days return from my examin­ation before Judge Shippen; Haines the high constable, came to the room where I was under close confinement, and asked me if I would answer one question. I replied, I would answer him any thing he pleased to ask me. Says he, do you know [Page 37] one of the name of Majess, a pretended Englishman? I told him I did not; I asked him if any person of such a name, had any concern in the robbery? he said,—No. He could not give me any reason for asking after such a man; but this was only a counterpart of his former deep, fly, wire-drawing projects. Sheaffer the convict, came and asked me if I knew the clerk of the Alderman's Court; I told him I did not,—he answered, he (the clerk) knows you very well; perhaps he does, said I. Says Sheaffer, do you know Captain Phelps; I told him I did not; says Sheaffer, he is very well acquainted with you; I told him that must be impossible, for I had never heard of such a name, who could have the least distant claim to my com­pany, or acquaintance. Here at this identical period, I was informed by one of the convicts, that Sheaffer, with several others, (whether from a bribe, or their habituated principle of villany, I know not), intended shearing my life, character, or consequence in life away—to blast my fame, and damn my poor remains of happiness—but a conscious feeling of my own innocence, baffled their endeavours, and in not the least touched my soul with trouble, as I knew their dark machinations could have but little avail.

There was a Mr. Murray came to the window of my prison, to speak with me; I was then (I suppose from that circum­stance), ordered into a dungeon, but after some debate in the grand divan, I was excused by the head gaoler, under the po­sitive promise never more (while a prisoner, suppose), to speak to any one at the window. At this time, my worthy friend Lace, was walking past the window, (but from what cause, I know not, was afraid to speak to me), he waved his hand, but I did not understand him. I thought some persons un­known to me, had formed and accomplished a design, and that villainously, for the sake of the reward to swear against me. He shook his head at me, which I understood, as a signal that I was gone, which brought me to an ejaculation, and to my bended knees.

About this time, I found myself rather sickly; I begged for a little wine, but I could not get it. I was examined by the head gaoler, who was a good judge (at this time), of the Yellow fever, and he declared me out of danger. The weather now became extremely cold, and the coldness of the weather made me shiver and tremble. The convicts (generally speaking), had fires, or a fire in their respective workshops. Richard Guy got up one morning, when the frost set in, and [Page 38] sound himself very cold. I wonder, said he, (whether to him­self or not, is left to the world), if they have allowed poor Lyon any fire, who is confined in a damp room of a prison. He came to the prison, and enquired, and found that I was not overheated within the walls of a cold, damp, unwholsome, loathsome, and solitary prison. He reprimanded the conduct of the conductors of the prison towards me, and as they would not wish to be guilty of the sin to blush for shame; they conscien [...]ously caused a fire to be kindled for the advantage, and comfort my suffering constitution.

The long confinement I had experienced, and the hard usage I had received, forced me to a conjecture that there was certainly some secret enemy saying closely in wait, for the deprivation of all human faculties, (my life), and the sooner shortened the better; but my heart was good and firm: I knew and felt my inno­cence, and that was my grand, great, and substantial support. On the last day of the month of October, a discovery was made in the prison, of a conspiracy against me, (and that con­spiracy of the most black, dark, and malignant that human nature could, or might have suggested, caused, or formed, viz. That when Sheaffer, (who may be in the eye of the law a very respectable character), and a doctor, whether a disciple of Sangrado or not is out of my power to tell [...], but both were criminals, and they acting (to wit, Sheaffer and the doctor) in conjunction and joined by a certain captain Phelphs, (a trio of infernals fit for Hell.) Those three worthy gentlemen (though accident might make them criminals), had formed the plot as aforementioned for a considerable time, until it was discovered by some of their fellow convicts in prison. The doctor came forward and confessed the whole to Mr. Helm, the head jaoler; after he had laid down to Mr. Helm this piece of villainy openly, he then came to the room where I was under confinement, and then and there told me, that John Sheaffer was the planner of the whole scheme, and that he employed a certain captain Phelps to embark in the business for what purpose I know not. Soon after this, Sheaffer came to the room where I was and brought another convict with him (to be a second clause and bribed witness I suppose). He then addressed me as far as I can recollect, in the following words. Sir, that wicked doctor, I find, has been telling Mr. Helm a parcel of lies; I never had any conversation with Mr. Smith respecting you, no farther than I told him you was an inno­cent man. Our business was about some forged checks: (the [Page 39] Cashier I suppose) might enter into a collateral conversation in regard to the checks. The doctor had given me a pret­ty good idea of proceedings before, and what Sheaffer now told me, seem'd to me to have such a corresponding effect on my mind, that I answered Sheaffer in this manner, viz. (It might be improper or impassioned, You, and Mr. Smith may both go to hell. You are right my friend said Sheaffer, and marched off. In a few hours after the head gaoler came into my room, and said there are fresh orders. What are they, said I. You must go into the east-wing of the prison; I answered, "Thy will be done." There is another prisoner coming here, said he. Pray, Sir, (quoth I), what is his crime? On account, (he re­plied) of the Bank. Well, Sir, says I, I hope you have got the right one, for my sufferings have been, and are now very great. I was then conducted into the east-wing, where common thieves and vagrants remain for trial; all the different apartments were wet, owing to scrubbing the rooms to cleanse the infection from that part of the prison, where the Yellow fever with that malignity peculiar to itself, had been ravaging and laying waste every thing before it; I was put into the room No. 12, where I found two more unfortunates encaged for the same crime, I was myself; we were now allowed some wood to make a fire to dry the rooms, &c. and towards night, I sat down in company with about eight or ten prisoners, in this blessed and beautified place for different crimes, and some of the company that compos­ed a part of the aggregate, appeared to me the most desperate men I ever saw. One in particular entertained, (if an innocent man could think it so, the company with a compendious history of part of his life, and introduced triumpthantly a long train of villanies: in short, I conceived he was the wickedest man I ever saw, (or ever wish to see. But the heart of the wicked, I be­lieve at some particular periods, are capable of being softened. We all, (when rest was required), laid down on our soft and comfortable bed of boards. One of my [...]ellow prisoners who laid next unto me, says friend, I presume you have seen better days in your time; I told him I had, I told him likewise it was hard an innocent man should suffer for the crime of the guilty. Having no pillow to lay my head upon, though not so religiously inclined as I perhaps ought to be [...], I borrowed an expression from the New Testament, spoken by the admit­ted Saviour of christianity, when he was in distress: viz. ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.’ This [Page 40] observation had such a wonderful effect upon my unsought for companion, that it softened the wickedness of his heart so much, he instantaneously jumped up, and found me a pillo; saying, my friend, this is not a sit place for you. Next day the pri­soners formed themselves into different companies, the gen­teelest part of them, (if any could be properly termed genteel) took possession of No. 9, and strongly invited me there; But being a mere uncultivated stranger, it was some time before I would consent to be linked with this genteel, or gentleman-like society or company; at last I agreed. There were none admitted in this grand company, but those on suspicion of no­ble and great crimes, such as for instance, forgery, robbing Banks, &c. The prisoners for trial were removed from Mor­ris's building. They now introduced another prisoner on sus­picion of robbing the Bank of Pennsylvania; he was admitted into our room. There being on his admission, four of us con­fined at the same time, for the same charge; but to confine, deprive men of liberty, destroy character, wantonly, with a nu­merous variety of et ceteras, on mere paltry, and vague innu­endos or suspicions, is a cruelty perhaps not sanctioned in any other country but this, which should be the grand emporium of liberty: Myself confined on suspicion of ma­king false keys: Two others found in a tavern, for playing at cards for a dollar per game: And a young lad for having the pleasing misfortune of being in possession of a fifty dollar note, on the Bank of the United States; Smith, the Cashier, took him before Squire Jennings; but the great, honest, and Chester county Cashier, of the Bank of Pennsylvania, did, accor­ding to the report of the lad; shew him (the lad), but little hu­manity. It is not always the case that those who rail vehe­mently against vi [...]e, are the most virtuous. The young [...]ad fell on his knees begging (for what was out of their power to give) Mercy. Their hearts were a composition of [...] and steel, and he was accordingly committed. Having described four prisoners, the fifth one who was put into the room where I was under close confinement, was put in the prison for keeping company with the young (lad, who was put in prison for having the fifty dollar note). This young man (who was supposed to be the companion of the other youth), had not re­mained in prison two weeks, before he became in an apparent or positive deranged state. [...]every day ( [...]m circumstances at­tendant on a prison), became more and more acquainted with my fellow prisoners, one of the then prisoners, gave me a [Page 41] brief (but I believe a just description of captain Phelps), who was out of doors acting in conjunction with that amiable cha­racter, (known I believe throughout the United States by the name of John Sheaffer) for, and on account of propositions laid down to them, to receive an hire for villainy (perhaps heared of villainy or unheard of villainy), that is immaterial at present. Phelps was speaking justly and fairly, as honest a cha­racter to be trusted with an oath, as many others, (to swear the life and character of an honest man away, to have, and ef­fect or cause for the gallows, though that man whose life was to swear away, was innocent), and was like others, as deep an endy'd scoundrel as ever disgraced walking the surface of the Earth; and Sheaffer and company (it is rumoured) were his in­timates, and companions. He (this captain Phelps) would (if possible), swear away the life of any man, for the sake of a re­ward. (Justice being out of the case, or it was immaterial to Phelps), for like all the rascally retainers of the law, for the sake of a reward; he could guelph down both law and con­science without feeling pain or compunction: and Phelps for doing this was a hireling, (eight dollars the reward) for what? to swear wrong, or right for the sake of the see, the wicked gave against the innocent. It is impossible to describe the situ­ation I was then in, expecting to be starved, or doomed to more misery, than I had already received; (though an inno­cent object of misery, cruelly situated in regard to myself) I expected to be plunged into a state of starvation, through th [...] means of an invidious individual.

About this time, one of my old journeymen who had a particular regard for me; wrote a letter, and gave it into the hands of Mr. Lace, the contents of the letter, were feeling, friendly, innocent, but unguarded; the purport was thus, tell­ing me to keep up a good heart, there was no fear, and such like. Mr. Lace examined the letter, and prudently witheld it, (as the police of Philadelphia, whose fondness for commission on slight suspicion, is but too prevalent, might have transform­ed the meaning of this letter, wrote in a style of simplicity and unlettered partiality), as it might have been the cause of his im­prisonment; by the bye, every letter must be sent into the pri­son unsealed—in a day or two, Mr Lace with the journeyman alluded to, with him, got leave to visit me. I complained of the severity I sustained, and begged of the journeyman to go and bring me one of my beds from my house. I told them of the plot that had been formed, (by the fertilized brains of two [Page 42] complete villains); to wit, Sheaffer, and the Doctor, both con­victs, and the arch villain termed captain Phelps, a noted swindler, and and one of Doll Tearsheets' captains. Mr Lace was struck with horror at the recital, and begged me to have no conversation with any of them, to shun and avoid speaking of my profession in any point of view whatever; by this time the twenty dollars that was sent by Mr. Fox, and Mr. Stocker, (though both had complimented me with the sending twenty dollars each, and raised my expectations to forty dollars) was expended. Mr Lace procured me one of my beds, and suppli­ed [...] with provision; about this time, the infamous captain Phelps' death was announced in the prison, which caused the scheme (entered into by a person or persons, as I firmly believe, and think with strong proof) to prove an abortion. I now began to see into the internal regulations of the prison. A prisoner was one afternoon playing a game of drafts, the board and what are called men, had been cut out with a knife; he was seized by the collar—I addressed the keeper thus, or nearly in the following words, viz. Pray Sir, where are you going to take this man? To the cells—he replied; for what, says I? his answer was, for playing at drafts—pray, Sir, quoth I, where is the great crime in that, consider and feel what are the prin­ciples of humanity: consider this man is naturally a brother, and perhaps innocent of his charge—you don't know whose hands, yourself may fall into yet—you make dreadful play­things of the keys of the cells—consider Sir, the crime of being the cause of slow murder. There is a God in heaven, (omni­potent and merciful; but whose avenging arm could crush thy worthless carcase to nothing, and whose power could over­w [...]lm thy soul with misery), will judge of you. Be not hard, (said I), on your fellow creature, let the man go. The keeper let him go. The prisoner then turned towards me, and with tears in his eyes, (and I love to see the tears of honest sensi­bility, add [...] [...]ed me in the following manner; May God al­mighty bless you▪ Sir, I shall be ever thankful to you. This short and concise prayer or blessing, was worth more to the [...] of my feelings, and of man, than all the money in the Bank of Pennsylvania; and more than all the ill used dross the world comprizes.

There is not, (if a man may be permitted to speak his opinion), a better school for villainy, than the convict-yard o [...] Philad [...] prison. At this school I believe a [...] might make [...] with, more than he [...] if [Page 43] he was a constant visitor there. It is customary in every room when the prisoners are locked up at night, to have a bucket; and the rule is, whoever makes use of the bucket first, must carry it down in the morning: it happened one night, that the bucket had been used by some of the prisoners; but by whom, it was not exactly known; however to end all disputes, the Bible was got, and every one [...]n that room swore, he did not use the bucket that night. This is a specimen of what an ingenious criminator might effect amongst such a set of worthy disciples, especially if he carried the means of seeing with him; and a just specimen of what you will find in Philadelphia prison. But this kind of false swearing was not confined to the prison; but others (their) accomplices out of doors, true brothers in iniquity, endeavoured to effect the purpose.

I now began to understand by the prisoners, the meaning of the term, which I had heard used by Mr. Fox, the President of the Bank, viz. The term Dubb, it is a flash term used for key, and is used among thieves. I understood from them, that there were (rum dubbs, que [...]r dubbs, fluted dubbs,) and such a man was a good dubbsman; this (as I learned, from the genteel company, I was unjustly confined with), is the genuine explanation of the term or ord dubb, which term I never had heard before it fell from the lips of Mr. Fox the President. Nor had I the least idea of the meaning of the term, till I was removed into that learned seminary here the term was ex­plained, viz. amongst thieves of all descriptions.

Captain Phelps' character was very well understood by several of the prisoners, but a more infamous character, (if what I heard was true, and of the truth of which information I have not the least doubt), ever came to my notice: but as the man was dead, it gave me no concern; it may, however, be reduced to a certainty, that he had taken several false oaths at so low a rate as six dollars. From report, a gentleman inimi­cal to me, had visited this notorious villain several times; pro­bably with a view to give latitude to his intentions. The next that was hired on this nefarious business, was one of the name of Miller, a former convict and who was in for another offence: I found by his discourse, he was a sapper and miner under the orders of General John Sheaffer, and a certain gentleman; but I followed the advice of my worthy friend Lace, to hold little conversation with any of the convicts; nor give an idea to any villain of my workmanship. I told Miller I could not do the [Page 44] work I was charged with, and that I did not follow key mak­ing, and was only a rough smith. Miller and the rest of his gang, gave up the idea of wire drawing any unguarded expres­sion from me. The Robbery still remained undiscovered, and my treatment hard: no friend was admitted to see me, or communicate with me. If I wrote a few lines, they were burnt or destroyed. If Mr. Lace wrote to me, it was the same. I was obliged when prisoners were discharged, to write him by means of their conveyance, to prevent him giving himself too much trouble on my account, as he earnestly felt for my situation: one night after all the prisoners were locked up, the head gaolor came to the door where I was confined, and called me by name: I answered, Sir. Have you got a brother, says he, yes Sir, I replied, where is he? I don't know, here I paused, for I did not know but they might have hauled him into prison as well as myself; as the least suspicion ac­cording to what I had experienced myself might warrant such an act. At last I answered, if you ask Mr. Ludlam, the plum­ber he can tell you; the gaoler told me he was dead at New-York of the Yellow fever, this circumstance was more plea­sing to me, than if he had undergone, one weeks punishment, such as I had experienced he must (from punishment like mine), have fallen a victim for Potter's-field, his constitution being broke, and his health greatly impaired before. About the 14th of November, Jonathan Smith, the Cashier, sent for me out of the east-wing of the prison. The room when I went below, and where he was waiting for me, had every thing cleared away but a few chairs, hand-cuffs, &c. when I entered the room, the goaler shut the door; Smith then began, well, Mr. Lyon, you are here yet. I took a chair to sit down; but while sitting down, I said the following words, to this great Cashier, Yes, Sir, I am here yet, and if it had not been for your speculation, I should have been out before this. Why so, what specula­tion of mine? did you not go personally and tell those people that were to have been my bail, that you was sure I had a hand in the business? yes, says he, and I am sure of it; and at the sametime, kept winking with his starboard eye, with all the appearance of low cunning, the most consumate gentleman could make use of: for the purpose I imagine, of extracting from my countenance, something or other that he might make use of to my injury; at those words I took fire, I told him his insinuations were false, and that through his means and others, I was ruin­ed, [Page 45] and all they could do now, was to take me out of prison and crucify me. He got tired by this time of winking with his starbord eye, and then set too with his larboard eye, and put that in motion. We, said he, have sound the keys, and can prove you made them. I defy you and all the seed of Adam to prove that I was ever guilty of a mean action. You (says he) shall be kept in prison, you shall be tried at the bar. I can bear, said I, my confinement and punishment with glory, being honoured with feelings arising from innocence—we parted. I must confess my temper was warmed, owing to his long insinuating winking, which would have more be­come a Billingsgate fish-woman, or a Poissarde of Paris, than a Cashier of a State Bank. I was next visited by a Mr. Samuel Rhoads, (and a gentleman with him) an entire stranger to me; here I thought it was requisite for me to be upon my guard. He then began his story, to wit. Mr. Lyon my smoke-jack is out of order, I am sorry for that, Sir, said I; cannot you, said he, tell what is the matter with it: I smiled, and was obliged to bite my under lip to prevent me from laughing, and then told him if I saw the jack there was a probability I could tell him what was the matter; but not else. What time do you expect to get out? I cannot tell you, Sir, I am willing to satisfy the public in any legal form, enquiry, or otherwise; but do not expect to get out before next court. Well, says he, I must wait. The gentleman who was a stranger to me, then addressed me. Mr. Lyon, what is the charge alledged against you? I told him. They certainly cannot keep you here if there is no oath against you; have you got any money, because you can make them pay sweetly for keeping you here. I gave him no satisfaction as to that point; but I said, if I am brought to the bar, I am informed there may be a something, have a cloudy appearance, against Smith the Cashier. What, says Mr. Rhoads, something appear against Smith the Cashier? Yes, says I, it is rumoured abroad I understand, that he is supposed to have been at the bottom of this business; (indeed, says I, I told him so myself). Says Mr. Rhoads, why don't you apply to George Ludlam, he is your friend; Sir, says I, since I have been in this place, all my friends, (generally speaking), have left me, and some of them to whom I have lent considerable sums of money; but I possess the spirit of independence: I will wait with patience 'till they can keep me no longer—we then parted, they went into an adjoining room, for what purpose I know not, but in cases of this kind, there was room to suspect it was not about [Page 46] the smoke-jack, that those visitors called upon me for informa­tion of, it rather appeared to me that they must have had an an inculcation, of th [...]se low-cunning lessons which had gene­rally prevailed against me. I was next visited by Mr. Benja­min W. Morris, this was about the 19th of November; (and suppose Mr. Morris then kne [...] the Bank's suspicions against Davis). I have had dealings with Mr. Morris frequently; but must confess, he appeared to me not always to confine himself to the principles of truth, but rather to the contrary; and when I find out a liar, (according to the old proverb, a liar is not to be believed though he accidentally speaks truth), I look upon him, as never to be by me believed. I was afterwards brought down from the east-wing of the prison, in the north-wing, and to my surprise there stood Mr. Morris in [...]aiting; I thought immediately that this visitor as one of the Pumps belonging to the Bank, to suck out something to establish a crime, though it was sufficient evidence to any candid mind of my inno­cence. He proceeded in his lesson in the following manner, Mr. Lyon did you finish my [...]heels before you left town? No, Sir, I did not; [...]ell that question is answered. He then took me do [...]n into the centre of the convict-yard, I suppose to pre­vent people from hearing what he had to say. Pray Mr. Lyon what are you here for? I began to tell him the particulars, and in the course of the narration, relating to him, the hard usage I had endured, he desired me to stop. Well, says he, I am one of the Directors of the Bank; (are you Sir, I replied), and last night [...]e found all the money to a fe [...] thousand dollars; (I replied), I am extremely glad to hear it, Sir. But, says he, you made the picks—did not, [...] answered, don't speak so loud: we can prove it. [...] defy you (says I), to prove [...] ever did a mean action in all my [...]. Well, says he, you will see. I defy you and all mankind. Don't speak so loud, said he, and we parted. He as allowed to go out of doors, but I was ordered back to the prison. [...] regard this charge of my making picks, as a part of the system aforementioned, i. e. the lying system; and his no following up that system, I did not believe the money was found. But luckily for me this as­sertion of his proved true.

To confirm Mr. Morris's assertion, that the money as found, a newspaper of the 20th of November, came to the prison [...]ith some provisions. This paper, was the Gazette of the United States, published by Mr. Fenno, in which I read the follow­ing paragraph: viz.

[Page 47] Democratic mystery unravelled.

It is [...]ith great satisfaction [...] acquaint our readers, that the notes robbed from the Bank of Pennsylvania, at the commence­ment of the fever; have been recovered to within four thousand dollars of the hole amount which there is a further prospect of getting hold of.

"It appears that one Isaac Davis, a carpenter, and a noted democrat, in conjunction with a porter belonging to the Bank, who died of the sever, were the sole agents in this nefarious business. Davis had set up his carriage and pair, and pretended that an India [...] had arrived at New-York, in which he sent out an adventure. On the death of his accomplice, he took the whole of the cash, (of which a dividend had been made), into his possession; and as detected by means of the large deposits he had made in each of the Banks."

"N. B. Citizen Davis had made off."

The name of Davis I knew not, or which of the porters were concerned with him, I was equally at a loss to know; at this time, I was even unacquainted with the names of either of the porters of the Bank. However, I made strict enquiry of Mr. H [...]n, the head goaler, who gave me this information, viz. "That it was one Davis a carpenter, who wrought at the Bank, and one Cunningham a porter belonging to said Bank." The name of Cunningham was not more familiar to my ear than the name of Davis, for I knew neither. I then wrote to my tried friend Lace, to endeavour to get my liberty. He waited on Mr Fox, but got no satisfactory answer: he wrote to me in prison that he would bring me my discharge in a few ho [...], which was what I had long been expecting, and on account of such information, gave an additional quickness of hearing to me, and an additional expectation likewise, being glad to hear, receive, and indulge myself, on such information; I was preparing to have the dismality attending on, and the horrescent scene of a Prison. But resentment had not yet quitted the malignant breast of some secret enemy, (which I verily believe) I had in that Bank, and who from the several ideas of my fel­low prisoners, which were regularly entertained by them, cast a deep suspicion in my mind, upon a particular individual; (and who are better judges of a school-master than his scholars). My fellow prisoners wrote to Smith the Cashier, and (from what influence I know not), were by degrees discharged under the orders of the Mayor. I do not know what weight, (in the [Page 48] scale of justice or influence), might have been thrown in. If I had wrote a whining, canting, hypocritical, and despicable let­ter to the Bank, like some persons: there might I believe have been some repugnance against their uniform system of cruelty; but truly speaking my mind, I would have sooner died under the hardships an innocent man suffered, than I would have disgraced my firmness, as a man, to ask a paltry boon from a character like Smith, the Cashier. Independent, native, ho­nesty forbade it. For in the first place, he came to the prison and falsely accused me; and I had previously heard, that this Machiavel was the most inveterate enemy I had in the Bank: and in the second place, (if I could judge of the system laid down by Lavater), there appeared a down, sullen, hanging, and revengful look about him, that made me think if I was a Judge upon a criminal case, such a prisoner would not not have gained much by the favour of nature; but I believe mankind may mistake on the principles of physiognomy, for many a man, with a fine appearance, has deserved the gallows, and many a valu­able diamond, has been unjustly punished, because he had a [...]ough outside. My worthy friend, Mr. Lace, went to Mr. Hallowell the attorney, to know why I was detained in prison. Mr. Hollowell waited upon Mr. Fox, who received him complai­santly with one of his tea table observations, viz. That Cun­ningham, (the man deceased accused, and whose evidence now can be of no avail before any human judicature); might have dealt with me for false keys, as well as any other man. And that they were determined to punish me as far as the law would admit of. Here all my friends at this trying crisis bore the aspect of alarm; blushing at, (as they supposed), such unjusti­fiable conduct. Then under such a consideration, my worthy friend Mr. Lace, was advised to employ Mr. Dallas, counsellor at law, (who I believe is the honest man's friend, and an ex­cellent expounder of the law—and though he may have ene­mies, merit always causes them; yet he is I believe the a just and worthy lawyer).

I now got a new pair of stockings, and observed as I had worn a pair of old stockings for eight weeks, the service they had undergone would pay for the new; and I sent the old ones to Lace to give an emblematical idea of the prison. I began at this time to prepare for trial, and did not know, but some gentlemen might endeavour to have a second edition of their former works in folio, not rough, but neatly bound, and lettered. Under such apparent circumstances, I sent for a [Page 49] quire of paper, and wrote (as far as I was able, considering every thing), my travail and defence. After completing the whole, the keeper of the east wing of the prison came to me, after locking up, and told me that my friend Lace was below, waiting for, or ready to receive my writings, which I delivered to the keeper, but my writings were debarred going beyond the confines of the prison door. In less than ten minutes after this, Mr. Fox sent up stairs for one of the name of Martin, who was in for forging notes on the Bank of Pennsylvania; whatever passed between Mr. Fox and Martin, was none of my concern I thought; be that as it may, the stratagem I believe was effected, and my writings I suppose fell into the hands of Mr. Fox, which gave me but very little uneasiness. In short, if Mr. Fox had read my writings, he must have seen by them, that he had no impulse, feelingly, to act against me from motives of his own; but I believe he had a prompter behind the curtain, to teach him the scenes of tragedy.

It was, (by whose order I know not), a Mr. Wood, a clerk to, or for the prison, who stopt my writings, and which I think he had no right to do, as it was taking the advantage of an unpre­pared and innocent prisoner. And believe every prisoner has a right to write to any friend; providing there is no relation con­tained in it of conspiracy of such like. But no, it seems (says [...] to myself), there is a policy, to get as many mechanics in the convict yard as possible, and be sure, (says this narrow minded policy), get as many old countrymen, (as the term is commonly used), as you can; it is not much matter under what pretence.

The court where my trial was to have been, was in such a state of prolongation, that many worthy and respectable men, thought it was cruel, wanton, and malicious in the Bank, (or their agents), to do as they did towards me, as every unpre­judiced and unjaundiced eye, could without winking discern their spleen. It was therefore thought proper that I should be removed by a second habeas corpus, before the Supreme Court. My friend Mr. Lace, by this time had employed Mr. Dallas, (of whose ability and integrity I unquestionably entertained a high opinion), in favour of me. Though I thought it was as strange, as it is inconsistent with reason, to employ a lawyer to defend an innocent man: but when I took a view of the train of villainy, which had been carried on against me, I clearly perceived it required as much trouble to extricate an innocent man from Philadelphia prison, as it did a guilty one; the con­vict-yard, [Page 50] and policy thereof, (as far as I could judge from reflection and observation), are enough to make humanity shud­der, as perhaps there may be many an innocent man suffering years of slavery, therefore it requires every exertion of the pri­soner to be used in his defence; particularly if he [...]s an ingeni­ous mechanic, and what is termed an old countryman likewise. A few days previous to my removal before the Supreme Court, my friend Mr. Lace called on me at the prison, and told every circumstance in regard to my removal; and that Mr. Ingersol the Attorney-General, was to plead against me. I told Mr. Lace, I thought it was hard I should be soused; but if Mr. Ingersol is against me, I know he will do every thing in his power to hurt me, because he has a private animosity against me, on account of trade. On the 14th of December, 1798. I dressed myself, and about 10 o'clock, I was sent for out of the east wing of the prison, to be conducted before the Supreme Court by one of the Keepers: however I would not go over the prison door, until my writings were restored to me. After some deliberation I got my writings, which contained most of the former part of this work; I was then conducted before the Supreme Court, accompanied by one of the keepers, and my steady and constant friend Mr. Lace. After waiting some time [...] was called up before the three Judges, viz. Judges M. Kean, Shippen, and Smith. Mr. Fox swore nearly to the same effect as he did before Judge Shippen, when I was remov­ed by habeas corpus the first time; and he want over the sus­picions which I delivered before Mr. Stocker, which was about six weeks before the robbery was discovered; and in those suspicions, as I have related before in this work, concerning Robinson the carpenter, and his companion; I thought I had good grounds for suspecting them from their confused appear­ance at the sight of me, when drinking together at Market-street ferry; and their nice inspection of the locks when at my shop.

Smith, the Cashier, sworn. It seemed to me he could hardly hold up his head, from what cause I know not, but I may suggest from his evidence given against me, his humane feelings in regard to me were not very poignant. However Jo [...]tie went over the whole work as well as [...]e could; but in this particular, he swore that the outside door was hang first, which was right. but it [...] Mr. Fox's oath before Judge Shippen, [...] then ( [...]) swore before the judge and company present that [...] door was [...] this is a very material point, [...] the [...] on the [...] door was [Page 51] the worst of the two, as I have related before, it is an old room door lock, with the latches taken out. However Smith, still went on, although he could not hold up his head, (being not of the Corinthian, but the leaden order); he swore after the robbery was committed, he observed the key of the vault, had some plaister or cement on it. He, said Smith, the Cashier, swore likewise, that there had been a print of the key taken as it appeared to him on wax, or on clay, or on putty, or on plais­ter of Paris. From such an oath as this, it was easy to conceive any person's drift; in short, a disappointed gentleman, might not know in what manner to bring his swearing to bear, because the reader may observe, there is in this oath, the colour of gold, of copper, of silver, of lead, and several mixtures. Here I cannot help making one observation, with regard to my phy­siognomonical knowledge, and I do publicly declare, I can read a man's conscience, and will not be deceived at a less propor­tion, than as one to six. At this time I could read Smith the Cashier, through and through; and it appeared to me the inde­lible mark of conscience was perceivably depicted on his brow, though fate may have ordained him for another purposes.

Robinson swore, (the companion and intimate of Isaac Davis), this Quiz, (for the Bank sent me to the flash school), was in such a condition, that the Judges were obliged, to tell him to hold up his head, and speak out; and many of the spe [...]tors from the appearance of the man, supposed him to have been the thief. As they said he confessed I told him of the inse­curity of the locks more than once, which proves that my knowledge of the crippled state of that Bank was not wrong; but well founded. His oath upset Mr. Fox's, as he swore, the outside door of the vault was hung first.

John alias Jack Haines saddler, and high constable and one of the wire-drawers of the Bank of Pennsylvania or their agents—swore, that he visited me twice, and that I told him I knew who committed the robbery; and that I observed to him, I would not te [...]l until I got my liberty and swore that I sent for him to communicate the same. He went on with a long train of cant, peculiar to himself. (Mr. Fox swore mistakenly once, which can be proved); but this evidence wound up the whole; I declare I never heard a man swallow the gudgeon before so completely (I am much obliged to the Bank for the knowledge of some phraseology I occasionly make use of, as they sent me to a well educated seminary): But the reward I believe was his object, and like a man dreaming that he had a large [Page 52] quantity of cash in his fist▪ and awaking in the morning found it to be a dream, and being a shadow instead of reality, feels forcibly the disappointment. I must acknowledge, I sported with him, when I suspected the reward was his object, and he very artfully turned the word suspect, into the word know—my sus­picions with regard to Mr. Robinson, and his companion, was all along kept secret until this time; when to my great surprise the strange gentleman that came to my shop, with Robinson, and whom I had a physiognomonical view of at Market-street fer­ry; this strange gentleman and companion to Robinson, turned out to be Isaac Davis who robbed the Bank, and in whose pos­session the money was found. This is some proof of my know­ledge, only by looking a man in the face, and it is the deepest knowledge I know of. The Attorney-General began; I obser­ved this gentleman's conduct before, and I was not the least de­ceived, he went on with my travel from Philadelphia and with a great many insinuations thereon, much to my disadvantage, and which were not founded upon fact. Mr. Dallas pleaded feelingly for my long suffering, and proving an Alibi, was suf­ficient to have discharged me. The Attorney-General then read the deposition of Samuel Wheeler. This deposition I have frequently applied for; but could not obtain, which I am well aware of, I ought to have obtained, which was either false, or malicious. One observation the Attorney-General advanced was a positive truth, to wit, that I had expressed in prison, that I was only a common Smith, and never made keys, and I de­fyed any person to come forward and prove that they ever saw me make a key of any description: this part I acknowledge to be true, as I was advised to do so on account of the villainous design that was plotting to swear away my life; to deny that I was a lock-smith, in any point of view. The Attor­ney-General got this information I suppose from Smith, the Cashier: who frequently visited the thieves in that prison—whether he carried the means to fee with him, I cannot tell. He then read the paper, which Mr. Stocker wrote on my se­cond examination, which is several times related in this work. The reader will see, how well my suspicions were grounded; Robinson was then asked by one of the Judges if he was well acquainted with Davis: he began to make answer (but was ordered again to hold up his head, and speak out), he said he knew him when he was 'prentice, and had been intimate with him ever since. The Attorney-General then began (but I must not say to his credit) to deliberate on the oath of the renowned Black-smith Samuel Wheeler, which was his chief [Page 53] ground work. And the lock of the Supreme Court, had the same finish, (which Samuel Wheeler swore it should not): let any lock-smith, or any other black-smith, even Smith the Cash­ier, I say what must they think of a man, who has sworn either falsly and maliciously or from ignorance, that the screws of the cap of such a lock, were always filed off flush with the lock-plate. I tell the public (I have no occasion to tell professi­onal men) that the cap screws of iron rim-locks are always rounded at the points, and screwed about two threads through the lock-plate, and not filed off flush as Samuel Wheeler swore. There is no large lock filed off flush with the lock-plate, or plates except mortice-locks: this is a piece of information simple as it appears, that will serve to give Samuel Wheeler, a lesson he did not know any thing of. Here is another strik­ing instance of Samuel Wheeler's judgment in Bank-locks, he was sent to repair a lock as I am informed, by the smith who alter­ed the doors for the other vault: [...]e the said Wheeler took the lock to pieces and not knowing what was the matter with it, took a large hammer and with the penn thereof, drew the bit of the key, so as to lay a greater hold of the talons of the bolt; by doing this the celebrated gate-maker altered the key so much, that the key would not [...]it the wards of the locks; and like a true wise man of Gotham, was obliged to tear out the wards of the lock, which just suits the shallow unmechanical ideas of the Bank of Pennsylvania. A general conversation [...]ook place in the court amongst all hands, I begged to be heard, and began from the period of leaving the city to the time the robbery was discovered, and by extracts from the former parts of this work, (without any flattery to myself) made a tolerable good defence; but when I came to mention, that one of the locks of the vault being an old room door lock, with the latches taken out; Mr. Fox would not let it pass [...]n the court, he contradicted it. Smith the Cashier, (who has all the appearance of a runner), went speedily out of the court and brought back a Quaker with him. The Quaker did not swear but affirmed, that I said the locks were good and could not be picked, I never had any conversation with the man about locks of any discription in my life; but it appeared to me he was brought forward to serve a purpose. Robinson the companion of Isaac Davis, could not deny but I told him of the deficiency of those locks, more than twelve months prior to the robbery; and I can prove I did publickly, and yet Jontie from motives which I shall endeavour hereafter to ex­plain, [Page 54] brought this Quaker to swallow the gudgeon—lucky in­deed for me Captain Phelps was dead. However, I could not get John Haines' oath and I asked (as he had already sworn, that I sent for him), if he could tell by whom, he could not, nor can tell of any person I sent to him to this day; but he being fond of a lazy life, (if a ma [...] may judge from the ac­ceptation of his present situation), wanted possession of loave [...] and fishes, at whose expense, is immaterial to me. Mr. Dal­las made several very feeling remarks so as to operate forcibly on the minds of all present, to effect my discharge: but the oath of Smith the Cashier, with his wax, clay, putty, plaister of Paris and the Devil and himself knows what, Haines' ob­servation, arising from mortified disappointment, and Whee­ler's ignorant and mistaken oath.—The honourable Judge M'Kean held me to a bail of two thousand dollars. I have no reflection to cast on any of the honourable Judges of the court, for if false evidence is levelled against a prisoner, it will no doubt cause him to be held to bail, and sometimes cause him to be hanged. Mr. Dallas turned to me, and asked if I could raise bail for the above sum I answered I could not tell, as it appeared to me I was a stranger in the land. A Mr. Bryden being in the court came forward as one of my bail, I asked him how much he could bail me for, he said he would bail me for £.800 this was more than two thousand dollars; but it was necessary to have two, I was permitted to go to my neighbour­hood, under the care of the keeper of the east wing of the prison; I went to the house of Richard Guy, and asked him if he would bail me for one thousand dollars, he answered yes, five thousand if you want it. Bail was entered by both these friends; and all that know them, know they would not bail a dishonest man. I was a prisoner at large▪ and [...] May­or's court bound to keep the peace, particularly to Smith the Cashier of the Bank of Pennsylvania. I went and saw seve­ral old acquaintances, and they gave me something to drink; (after drinking nothing exclusive of water, for three [...] ▪ When I had rested a few days to relieve me from the exhausted state I was in, from imprisonment, I began to collect the follow­ing materials for my defence, at my expected ensuing trial, viz. a conversation which took place between Smith the Cashier, and a friend of mine, who has related it publickly as fol­lows.

Mr. R.

I saw Mr Lyon last night.

S. Cashier.

Did you, by God! what has he got out?

Mr. R.
[Page 55]


S. Cash.

I am sorry for that, what does he say?

Mr. R.

He says you have used him very cruel.

S. Cash.

By God, we will use him worse, we are not done with him yet, we will try and confine him longer.

Mrs. Smith who was present.

To her husband Jontie.

Mrs. S.

Are you not afraid, now he is loose.

S. Cash.

Damn him we have got him bound down, and damn him, we have got him fixed so, that he cannot sue us.

Thus finishes this dialogue for the present; but as there is another similar, which took place between the same parties, after the bill was found IGNORAMUS, I shall take notice of it in turn. I then began to enquire into the character of Smith, the Cashier of the Bank of Pennsylvania, and was told that he was originally bred to country work. I was inclined to believe the report from two causes, viz. He had been a bitter enemy against me, that inclined me to believe a report however un­founded. The second was from his appearance, manners, and language, correspondent with those of black-smiths, butchers, sailors, cart-drivers, &c. But a man who has been put into the office of one of the State Banks, to make use of such lan­guage as he did, and to say that he was sorry an innocent man had got out of prison, and that they would use him worse and confine him longer; I ask if all this was consistent, for a man in his then present situation. Mrs. Smith no doubt saw the side which her husband had taken, and was apprehensive for his safety. The circumstance of binding me down was very easily effected, for this was the only truth he swore, to wit, my saying in prison that I would be revenged on him. But the stratagems which were carried on by the Bank, wind up the whole, which they had carried on under their idea of jus­tice. The story of Smith being bred to country work, I found to be false; as I have it from good authority that he was brought up to be a quill driver from a boy and seldom or ever country bumpkins carry pen-knives with them.

I now had time to lay my hard, though innocent case, before Mr. Dallas who told me all he wanted of me was to get some persons to come forward and give me a good character and to bring them forward; I told [...] I could bring forward some of the first m [...]n in the city: he required also if it was possi­ble, to bring any person who knew me at home. I told him I would bring several and amongst those, is Mr. Cou [...]and, who wrought with me in a manufactory in London, nearly [Page 56] ten years ago, with this Mr. Dallas was perfectly satisfied; but Mr. Lyon said he, I heard it whispered in the court, that you had 1400 dollars [...] one of the Banks, I answered that was true, and the Bank of Pennsylvania is apprehensive that it is some of their money. As I have already given the reader an account of the statement of my Bank book in the former part of this work, it will be needless to go over the same ground. I told Mr. Dallas I would satisfy the world on that point, he said that was all that was wanting; but Mr. Dallas added they may be inquisitive to know how you made this money, I told him I would bring my books and a gene­ral statement of my worldly affairs, &c. Several of my ac­quaintances were very busy in collecting every information respecting the unjustifiable conduct of the Bank towards me, I was told that John Corneck who keeps the sign of the Horse and Groom in Stawberry-alley, had some information to give me. I went to Mr. Corneck and took a friend with me, he informed me that Cunningham, the porter, who slept in the Bank (as the term is), one night was obliged to sleep at his house [...] he could not get into the Bank to sleep, owing to a particu­lar mistake, to wit, after Cunningham had locked up the Bank, and Smith and him coming away, (Cunningham going to get his supper I suppose, and then to return to the Bank to sleep). Smith handed Cunningham a key, which was not the key of the front door; but Cunningham going to the Bank with an intent to sleep I suppose, or to make necessary arrangements for robbing it, I know not; be that as it may, the key that Cunningham had, would not fit the front door lock, therefore Cunningham was obliged to sleep at Mr. Corneck's that night: and Mr. Corneck publicly declared that he saw Cunningham go to bed, and he saw Cunningham tye this key to his neck with his garter, and he slept with the key all night. I will leave to the readers to judge what key this must have been. Being under bail, it was impossible for me to settle my mind to my professional business, and being very successful in collect­ing every circumstance, so as to make the Bank no doubt in the eyes of many appear inconsistent and ridiculous.—I found out where both the watchmen were, belonging to the Bank, and had the opportunity of examining both those honest men: (who were implicated by Smith the Cashier) and in short their commitment was wrote, and the Mayor was hesitating whether to send both those poor men to prison, or not. At present the watchmen don't like to say much about it.

[Page 57] The Mayor's Court drawing near, I collected my evidences, and every circumstance was attended to for the defence of an [...] and innocent man. On the 12th of January, 1799, a b [...] was preferred against me to the grand jury, who turned it out ignoramus I [...]nt a friend who was well acquainted with one of the Ju [...]y-men; who by my order, told him that it was my particular wi [...]h, and desire to be brought to the bar; as I was in possession of materials and documents, sufficient to stand in my own defence, and to make the Bank of Pennsylvania appear cloudy and darkened in the eyes of the world. Two days [...]: to the mortification of the Bank; it appeared in the public prints, that the Bill was, ipse facto; found ignora­mus. When the Bill was found ignoramus, the following con­versation took place between the parties formerly alluded to.

Mr. R.

Is Mr. Lyon [...]ot clear, or is he condemned?

Smith, Cashier.

(After a little consideration), answered, he has got clear.

Mr. R.

I suppose you will make him a compensation for his lost time and expences?

S. Cash.

He may think himself damn'd well off, he has got off so easy.

The condition I was placed in, and the plan which seemed to be carrying on against me by Sheaffer, &c. I really was very thankful for my acquittal, because if Sheaffer's intended plan had taken place, it might have amounted to a conviction; but Captain Phelps, (the friend of Sheaffer, &c.) died. But how cunningly those geniuses of poppy and wormwood were acting, is a long mystery, like the labyrinth of Daedalus, not easily found out. On the 11th of the month, that is to say, the day before the bill was found ignoramus respecting me, the com­mittee of the State Legislature had made out their story, which did not make its appearance 'till the 14th of the present month, during this time, I wrote a memorial directed to the President and Directors of the Bank of Pennsylvania, naturally expecting they would step forward to make good every loss I sustained through their internal misfortune. A copy of which I here subjoin, &c.

[COPY]. To the Honourable the President and Directors of the Bank of Pennsylvania.


YOU will be pleased to take into your consideration all the circumstances attending my unfortunate though innocent [Page 58] case—On foot I travelled from Wilmington, under heavy dis­tress, anxious to surrender myself to you, labouring under your suspicions. So anxious was I to see you, that I neglected tak­ing proper nourishment on the road; being conscious of my innocence and integrity of mind, I surrendered myself with pleasure. After my examination before Mr. John C. Stocker, I was thrown into an unwholesome prison, where the Yellow fever raged with a forcible degree of malignity, there being at the time between twenty and thirty cases of that ravaging dis­order then in prison; several of the keepers died that occasion­ally served me with necessaries; during which time, being six weeks under close confinement, and without a bed; I have been twenty-four hours without a morsel to eat, or a drop of water to drink, besides the extreme danger I ran in losing my life, by that terrible, calamitous, and tremendous disorder, no­minated the Yellow fever; and likewise by false representations a heavy bail was exacted, which bail, (from my situation and such representations, public confidence being diminished in regard to me), was out of my power to command. At length suffer­ing three months imprisonment, eight weeks of which I was in one pair of stockings; being denied every necessary commu­nication with my friends, and held on suspicion without an oath, (or any ground for an oath), against me; suffering all the inconvenience of a loathsome and unwholsome prison, then under the scourge of the prevailing malignity of 1798), which no tongue can describe, nor man's feelings conceive, unless in the then peculiar situation—the loss of my trade by getting into other channels, during my confinement; the vast expence and accumulation of debt, during my imprisonment, from shop and house rent; loss of my time in my profession; furniture and valuable tools decaying and rusting; and above all, the deprivation of character, which I suffered, (or must suffer), in the estimation of my fellow citizens of the United States; and such depreciation of character no doubt will reach Europe, where my aged parents, (if living), reside, which on their hear­ing whether just or false), may according to the old but war­ranted saying, bring their grey hairs wi [...]h sorrow to the grave. To hear the harsh tidings of a son being brought to a trial for life and death, must strain and break the heart strings of pa­rental affection. Any honest man must consider his character as the most inestimable treasure in his possession, and of which he ought to be a vigilant guardian; but if wrested from him by means he cannot guard against, he has only to lament that [Page 59] such a possibility exists without his power to guard against the blow. In my present case, any investigation, take it in any point of view, I am ready and willing to answer, or to meet. Justice has been invariably my object, decidedly so; it is my wish that, that peculiar object should and ought to be attained, and I am ready and willing to manifest my desire and ability to effect so desirable an object. Resting on my idea of your justice, I submit this address, and to sum up the whole, I wante a recompence for all my real losses, my sufferings, and my depreciation of character, which I humbly conceive to be a just, honest, and honourable demand; and under every consideration of my case, either generally or collaterally, I must think, ought to have weight in your deliberate considerations concerning me. If there is any question, or any circumstance relative to the case, harbouring in your breasts, I am willing to come forward when­ever you please, to answer any interrogatories, as I am satisfied every coming question will be an additional proof of my inno­cence.

If you will be pleased to give a decisive answer to this repre­sentation, it will oblige.

Your humble, (though injured), servant. PATRICK LYON.

P. S. Since writing the above, a paragraph has appeared from the committee, to whom was referred that part of the Governor's address, relative to the Bank robbery, wherein my name is introduced in the most flagitious form: with what de­gree of justice can such a paragraph be looked at, after the bill respecting me was found ignoramus.

N. B. If you should be so disposed, please to address to me, to the care of Mr. Dobson, Stone-house, Second-street; on account of the late circumstance, I being unhinged of house and home.

While writing the above memorial, out come the declara­tion of the Committee of the Legislature of Pennsylvania; to whom was referred that part of the Governor's address, which relates to the robbery of the Bank of Pennsylvania, and upon which I shall be very concise. "That on the night of the 4th of August last, some person or persons entered the banking house in [Page 60] Lodge-alley, and made an unsuccessful attempt to force open the doors of the cash-vault, and to pick the lock of an iron chest used by the second teller." Let any person first consider the security of a Bank when it is so lame and unprovided, as to yield to every attempt of an entry; it goes on considering the insecurity of the building, and the impossibility of making such repairs to it as would render it safe to trust the property any longer there. The immediate removal of the Bank to Carpenter's-Hall was proposed—This building from it's construction, and the im­provements which had been made to it in the occupancy of the Bank of the United States, was thought perfectly secure. Remark, This first attempt of the robbery as kept a pro­found secret, and the reader will keep in his memory, that in the first part of this work, I being uneasy, went to Lodge-alley where the preparations were still going on, and found Robinson; I asked him the meaning why the work was stopped, his answer to me was, he would put me [...] to it by and bye: at the same time giving me strict charge to take no notice to the bricklayer; however I suppose this was his meaning. The Committee goes on; "but previously to the removal, which took place on the Saturday following, a new patent lock for the outer door was procured."—Remark, This patent lock is sold in London by a Mr. Ives, corner of Shoe-lane, Fleet-street: this is the most insignificant patent that ever was granted by his majesty king George the third of Great Britain. The wards of this lock are clumsy and of solid brass, which causes the cavities of the key to be ex­tremely wide and easy to be copied. This lock had two tum­blers, which may attract the attention of those who do not know better. It does not signify if a lock had a dozen tum­blers, provided you can procure a key the same as the original. On the same day, (Saturday), in the Banking-house, I took up this stupid lock, and the inner door lock; and in the presence of Clement Garretson, told Robinson the carpenter, that both these locks were not fit for a bank; he answered me, that the front one had a double tumbler. It has been whispered to me that Isaac Davis procured this patent lock, and this lock I leave to those mechanics who are acquainted with the art, and the At­torney-General to explain, (for he stopped in the middle of Samuel Wheeler's art). The Committee goes on; "The watch­man were charged to be particularly vigilant," and I am author­i [...]ed before witness, to tell the committee, Sam Fox, Sam Ro­binson, Sam Wheeler, Sam Rhodes, and all the Sams, or [Page 61] Neddies belonging to the Bank; that it is a downright falsity. They declare publickly that no such charge was given to them, and that it was kept a secret that any attempt was ever made on the Bank. The Committee adds, "That Mr. Annesly, the run­ner, having occasion to go to the Bank to complete some business which he had left unfinished the evening before, found the back door of the Banking-house open; and looking into the room, he to his great surprize, discovered the doors of the back vault likewise open: he immediately roused the port [...] who was asleep up stairs—Cunningham immediately came down stairs and unlocked the front, as well as the inner door of the house, they went into the Banking room and found all the window shutters secure, the back door unbarred, and the doors of the cash vault unlocked. Mr. Annesly went immedi­ately to t [...] the residence of the Cashier, and apprized him of what he discovered."

Remark, Cunningham came down stairs and unlocked the front and inner doors—the opening the inner door was what staggered my prosecutor (or persecutors) on my examination: for this lock must be opened before they could come to the vault doors and when I asked this question there appeared to be a conscious silence amongst the whole, (or amongst all hands) it is said the back door was unba [...]d. The back door it seems had no lock at all; but just barred like a barn door, instead of a banking house. The doors of the cash vault un­locked; but how these doors were unlocked is still kept a se­cret, and when Mr. Annesly [...]ent to the Cashier I do not know that any particular surprize was evinced.

The Committee—"A message was immediately sent to the President of the Bank; upon his coming to the city he found the Cashier, Runner and Porter in the Bank. Upon an exa­mination of the house, it was found the locks had been open­ed by false keys, for no injury had been done to the wards of them, nor was there any appearance of force having been used."—Remark, I suppose before the President came, the Por­ter might have got the matter (or matters), in train, an a prepa­rative for his reception. The Committee goes on, "That se­veral persons were arrested upon suspicion, and amongst those, is Patrick Lyon the Smith, who was employed in fitting the iron doors of the cash-vault; and without whose privity it is believed this robbery has not been committed."—Remark, This Committee composed of three members, (their names I shall mention hereafter), but they certainly have to the eyes of their [Page 62] fellow citizens generally, been guilty of a great and unwarrant, able oversight, to call it no worse: and I declare (I think, provided they were acting as enemies against this country), if an army of eighty thousand men, composed of such men as this committee consisted of, that ten thousand men such as my­self would make them tremble in their harness. I have con­versed with several of the members. and I am sure there are gentlemen amongst them, and those gentlemen reprobate in strong terms), this committee for taking hold of an honest citizen's name; and insinuate against him to the public, in the manner they have done. If the language they have made use of res­pecting me is not of their manufacture, let them publicly de­clare it; and whether derived from a Fox, a Smith, a Stoc­ker, or from whom. This very case I hope will serve as a les­son to all the states in their assemblies, never to run headlong into mischief not ascertainable: with respect to the policy at­tending the affair, it evidently carries with it every feature of disguised fear: and it will hereafter be placed in the history of extraordinary things, that an individual possessed of ingenuity in the line of his profession; should be made a martyr of, be­cause he possesses that ingenuity: and I defy the world to prove that even the ingenuity I do possess, was applied to any bad purpose, but always to the contrary.

The committee say, "They had the satisfaction to discover the perpetrator of this daring robbery, so that the whole amount of the property stolen, has been recovered, except about three thousand, two hundred dollars. One Isaac Davis, a carpen­ter by trade, had an account open in the Bank, (or in the Bank of Pennsylvania), and the first circumstance which excited the suspicion of the President and Cashier against him, was the deposit of 16,000 dollars; enquiry was made into his circum­stances and character, which was found to be such as to induce the officers to watch his conduct. On Saturday the 17th of November, just before the Bank closed, he deposited 3,910 dollars. Their suspicions were then increased, and it was thought proper to enquire at the Banks of the United States and North America, whether he had any accounts open with those institutions, and on Monday morning such information was obtained, as left no doubt that he was the robber." Re­mark, This Isaac Davis was the man, as I have often before observed, that I long suspected before I went out of town, and [...] was along with Robinson at Market-street ferry. The Committee says he was a carpenter, but they do not say that [Page 63] he was employed at and in the Bank, no, they are sub silenti [...] like a dumb clock in that case— [...]nquiry was made into his cir­cumstances and character. Jonathan Smith, Cashier of the Bank of Pennsylvania, (well knew, or ought to well know) his character and circumstances. Smith must have known that the finances of Davis, were not capable of keeping a carriage, and Davis's childish observation on an India adventure, ought not to have escaped the penetrating sagacity of a Bank Cashier. Davis was fond of dress and out [...]ard sho [...], Smith knew that; but did he not like [...]ise know, that Davis was obliged to give a note for his and for his apprentices board, and by way of cover to enquire into his character and circumstances, &c. is what is called in some affairs "a good one." On Saturday 17th of November, (he, Davis, made another deposit. The reader [...]ill observe, that Smith visited me in prison, a few days before the robbery [...]as discovered; and to a certainty the mo­ney as found in a fe [...] days after. There are certainly some honest men in the Bank of Pennsylvania; but I think, and it is my opinion, this robbery [...]as discovered by my firm resolution: and my suspicions, were, and have been proved to have been well grounded, and I [...]as as justly entitled to benevolence if any was in possession▪

The Committee says, "he, (Davis), was invited to the house of the Cashier, upon a pretence which excited no apprehension of the views of the officers: and their party, by threats of an immediate arrest, and by promise of an intercession with the Governor for a pardon, a confession of his guilt was ext [...]t [...]d from him."—Remark, This is the grandest farce of the whole, and well played off; the Committee has not told their story perfectly right at all: what I have understood is as follows, he was invited by his acquaintance Smith to his house, by way of joke, to do some work; (and in which house I suppose he spent many a joyous evening): and it was told to me Mr. Fox was one of the actors in this farcical scene. Mr. Fox I understand, was placed in a dark room, with a pistol and a cutlass, and I sup­pose there were some others of equal bravery, who supposed the shield of heaven would defend both their courage and their carcases, all equally armed. Smith the Cashier, conducted Davis into the dark room—the curtain rose, and discovered all the warriors. "Davis was then implicated," says the Committee, "they then le [...]t him to his own reflections,"—but to disregard the punishment inflicted on innocence, is a new species of justice, at least it is to me.

[Page 64] I now come to the Cashier again; On the 21st of November the said Cashier, inclosed a bond and warrant of attorney to Isaac Davis, drawn in favour of the President, Directors and Company of the Bank of Pennsylvania, for the sum of 3,000 dollars, requesting him to execute the same, this was intended to secure some real estate he held in the county of Delaware. Remark, The Bank have never reflected on their permitting Davis to escape if they had, it must have amounted to self condemnation: because it is here stated, that the Cashier of the Bank, was in actual correspondence with him. If Smith sent him a bond on the 21th of November, why did not Smith send for Davis, and secure him, to be tried by the laws of his country. No, Smith thought he might be too near, I suppose if he was in Philadelphia. The Committee say that, "the rob­bery originated with Cunningham, (and pray how should ihis sagacious and all-wise committee know that it did), who pro­cured the false keys, and that he, Davis, does not know who made them."—Remark, The introduction of false keys is pretty well laid on, as it served very well to blind the public. If there were false keys made, will any man persuade me Davis did not know who made them. At another sitting of the Le­gislature they go on. "First, That the aforesaid Benjamin Bran­non, contrary to the duties of his office; endeavoured to pre­vent a certain Isaac Davis from being punished, whom he knew had robbed the Bank of Pennsylvania."—Remark, In answer to this, what did the Bank let him go for, the Bank in my opinion were far more to blame than Brannan. "Secondly, That on the 21st of November last, Jonathan Smith, Esquire, Cashier of the Bank of Pennsylvania, sent a bond to Isaac Davis."—Remark, Here Smith (is called an Esquire), and for what mortal reason, or for what design, is best known to the Legislature themselves. They first blame Brannan for preventing Davis from punishment, and then tell the public that Smith sent a bond to him on the 21st of November: as I observed before, why did not Smith send Haines or some one of a similar profession, and take Davis prisoner, and not lay all the fault on Brannan. The Legis­lature thus continue, viz. That the said Benjamin Brannan, called several times on the Cashier of the Bank, between the 22st of November, and the 24th of the said month; and impressed a belief on the mind of the Cashier, that Isaac Davis would tell who made the picks and keys, &c.—Remark, Does not this appear like an undeniable proof, that Davis must have known who made the keys, for Mr. Brannan would not have impressed [Page 65] the Cashier, with such an idea; unless he had some authority so to do, or strong reasons from expressions that might fall from Davis to that purport. What relates to Mr. Brannan person­ally, I shall pass over, as I have no business with it. I shall now conclude the long detail of this lethargic committee. The committee are of opinion that the President and Cashier of the Bank of Pennsylvania, for their care▪ vigilance and exertions, in detecting the robber, and recovering the money stolen from the said Bank, deserve the highest commendation. Ordered to lie on the table—Remark, If I am permitted to give my opi­nion, in place of this wiseacre committee, that opinion would be as follows, That the President and Cashier had neither care or vigilance, and in place of deserving the highest commendation, they ought to be Nebuchadnezzared; as they were warned of their insecurity long before. Having thus finished this long hypocritical story, of either a led-away or uninformed committee: I shall proceed to the names of said committee, as extracted from the Journals of the Legislature, and from the following Sections, to wit.

13th. Resolved, That a committee be appointed, to enquire into the circumstances respecting the robbery of the Bank of Pennsylvania, mentioned in the Governor's address: and make a report to this House.

The thirteenth resolution was adopted.

Ordered, That Mr. Preston, Mr. Frailey, and Mr. Weaver, be a committee for the purpose expressed in the said resolution.

Since I have been out of prison, I find Mr. Fox has made every enquiry after my situation; from such enquiries, if he has been told the truth, I am perfectly easy: he asked Mr. Murray, what liquor I was fond of, Mr. Murray answered, the last time I called on Mr. Lyon, at his shop, he gave me some wine and wa­ter to drink. I asked Mr. Lyon's reason for drinking wine and water, he answered if he drank spirits and water, and followed up the work, he was then carrying on with great activity, that he would be in a state of intoxication all day. Mr. Murray told the truth; Mr. Fox, I have heard, likewise has enquired what my politics were, and if I was a man fond of talking about such like—I shall make a speech for Messrs. Preston, Frailey, and Weaver, when they meet next session, which I hope will satisfy [Page 66] Mr. Fox in regard to my politics; and as I have visited the Bri­tish House of Commons, I shall take the rules, because I don't know how they proceed in the Pennsylvania State Legislature. (Here it is,) And there shall be a cry of Hear him! Hear him! That the alien law in our opinion, (speaking on the principle of political opinion), is of no effect under its denomination, because we can under any pretence, (gentlemen), criminate any foreigner, (particularly if he be an ingenious man), and throw him into prison at pleasure, and particularly if he will not fall down and worship the carbuncles that grow upon our noses. You know, (gentlemen), that it is our peculiar desire to come as near to the British system as possible, for you know, (gentlemen), that the hereditary system is the best for us; because we will then get leave to keep all our wisdom to ourselves, and to our sons, and our sons, sons: thereby destroying the idle pretensions of the scientific, the learned, and men of genius and talents, and make them bow down their neck to the goddess y [...]lep'd Ignorance. You know, (gentlemen), the blessed effects of keeping Lyons in the tower, for in the year of our Lord, ninety and eight, there were two Lyons confined in our great towers, in the Presidency of John Adams, Esquire, (whom God preserve). You know, (gen­tlemen), that one Lyon was held in bondage, whether for speak­ing the truth or not we do not know, and the other, the younger, because he is an ingenious man; and neither of them would fall down and worship the carbuncles that grow on our noses. Hear him! Hear him! For it is said that the Younger saw the light in one of the great cities in the east, on the A [...]ion shore, and we have it from good authority, that he is a cunning man, and can work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, and in steel; and he can instruct the cunning men of our tribes: moreover it is told to us, (gentlemen), that he is the seventh son of Patrick Lyon, his father, (since dead of a broken heart), and that he has got what is called the second sight; for it is further manifested, that he can tell who is a thief as soon as he has the second sight, and the great men where our Treasures are held cannot deny it, for he has given convincing proof of his wisdom. You know, (gentlemen), that they confined him, but he would not fall down and worship the carbuncles that grew on their noses. For lo! they kept him forty and eight days in close confinement, and all that time without a bed, and sometimes in a state of starvation; but the Lord visited him in prison, and strengthened him, and his beard grew [...]o a con­siderable length; and he was ordered several times into the [Page 67] deep dungeon, and still he would not fall down and worship the carbuncles that grew upon their noses. There was even an attempt to bring false witness against him, which grieved his heart, and he was thrown into the east wing of the prison, amongst the thieves, and he preached to them and kept the inno­cent heart in good order, and without fear: and he was order­ed to the cells more than thrice, and he went on his way to the cells; but one of the keepers of the tower, who had more humanity than some of the others, said, you have done no harm, your prosecutors have no right to punish before trial. And his prosecutors were admitted to falsely accuse him, and told him in these words, that he would be confined, tried, and condemn­ed: but his heart was true, he never yielded, and publicly declared that he would not fall down and worship the carbun­cles that grew on their noses. Hear him! Hear him! He was kept eight eight weeks in one pair of stockings, he was pre­vented from almost any communication out of the tower, but he had one friend left, and [...]e was a worker of steel, and his heart was as true, for he declared himself out of fear, and he was independent of the Scribes and Pharasees, and he would not fall down and worship the carbuncles that grew on their noses. The Younger Lyon has likewise declared, that he will drink what he pleases, and when he pleases; and is clearly of opinion, that it is not the business of the Scribes and Pharasees to inspect into his conduct so minutely: he has publicly de­clared, that he will still adhere to republican principles, and all those things he will abide by attendent thereon, and act as is becoming a man in the land of liberty, without licentiousness. And be it further known, (gentlemen), that Lyon the Younger was held in bondage during the greatest part of the plague, and he wrote his narrative in the prison, but it was not suf­fered to go to his counsel, for fear it might do him some good. And it appears unto us, that our country is greatly troubled with this dreadful plague, the Hessian fly, and that there is a set of young B [...]dies or Dubbsmen rising up in our land, and that wickedness is making vast progress thereby; and we think it necessary for the good of our youths, and the sake of reli­gion▪ to ho [...]d the 5th of July, as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer; and that we do borrow the following most excel­lent prayer from the church, which is likewise

Lyon the Smith's Prayer.

From all blindness of heart, from pride, vain glory, and hypocricy; from envy, hatred and malice, and all uncharitable­ness, [Page 68] Good Lord deliver that unfortunate Bank, the Bank of Pennsylvania; is the earnest prayer of Patrick Lyon, in behalf of this committee—after prayers are over we must not spend the day the same as on a former fast day we had last year.

On the 1st of February, 1799, I waited on Mr. Fox, the President, and I asked him if they had taken my memorial into consideration; he said he had read it, but their reliance was placed on Haines' declaration, and from such declaration they held themselves in justification. I then began to ask Mr. Fox several questions, but he would not give [...]e a direct answer, and declared off; at the sametime said he was incapable of talking on the subject: then entered a strange gentleman, and I left the room. On the sixth of the same month, I was told by a friend of mine, that Young Brannan made use of the fol­lowing expressions, or to that purport, to wit. (That Smith the Cashier, wished Isaac Davis to get out of the way, as it would prevent Smith the trouble of finding out who made the false keys). On the eighth I found out Young Brannan, and took with me Mr. Condie, the above question I put to Young Brannan, but his answers were evasive, and he gave it as his opinion, that if there were any false keys made, it must have been Davis who made them himself; but my friend still persists that these (as nearly as he possibly can recollect), were the ex­pressions Young Brannan made use of, at the Bull's head, in Strawberry-alley. Young Brannan then gave proper directions where Isaac Davis' mother lived, and Mr. Condie went with m [...] t [...] the house on the same afternoon, and we found Benja­min Davis, brother to the said Isaac, and he had accounts from his brother Isaac, that Patrick Lyon was entirely innocent of the charge. I was then advised to write a letter to the said Isaac Davis, and get his declaration from under his hand, and on the 12th instant, I went a second time to the house of Mary Davis, mother of the the aforesaid Isaac, Mr Condie being still w [...] me; the said Mary Davis had sufficient word from her son Isaac, declaring my innocence: I then handed her a letter, requesting her to forward the same to her son Isaac, she told me s [...] did not know where he was, but if ever she heard of him, she certainly would forward it. A copy of which I lay before my readers.


BY this time you will no doubt from your experience acknowledge, that it is the nature of compassion to associate [Page 69] with misfortune, and as I have formed an acquaintance with your brother Benjamin, who has informed me what you have expressed in your observations concerning my innocence, the inference of course follows. Sir, I have suffered three months imprisonment, six weeks of which I was under close confine­ment, and without a b [...]d to sleep on; at the sametime running all the risque of that terrible and tremendous disorder, called the Yellow fever, denied every necessary communication with my friends; was eight weeks in one pa [...] of stockings, and suf­fered all the inconveniences of a loathsome and unwholesome prison; Sir, from all the above circumstances of my sufferings, (and the cause of such circumstances and sufferings, you know I am innocent of,) I heartily forgive you, and no doubt feel for you, [...] I hope you will in course of time arrive to be an or­nament to society. Sir, there is one thing I beg of you, a declaration from under your hand, declaring my innocence, which will be greatly acknowledged, and add much to your phila [...]throphy in the estimation, (in the mind), of your fellow citizens: Sir, I beg of you to forward your declaration respect­ing me, and it will relieve the most injured, and innocent.


I thought it proper to enquire what operations the doors of the other vault went through, by the other smith; I and my friend Lace, went to the other smith, and he declared he did not remove more than two of the hinges of the doors, which was half the work that I did; I had four hinges to remove, and because I was longer in doing double the work of another man, (besides doing Mr. Stocker's work), it seems was cause enough to suspect me, and hurl me into prison. The Bank was indebted to me the sum of £.17:8:9 [...], and this instance may give an idea whether a faint one or not of the th [...]n existent mean­ess of that Bank. Mr. Witherow drew the bill from my books on the 16th of February, and carried the bill to the Bank, which bill was handed to Mr. Fox—Smith being present, came for­ward and returned Mr. Witherow the bill, and said that he would discharge the bill, if he, (Mr. Witherow), would deduct the twenty dollars which was sent to Mr. Lyon while in prison, to which Mr. Witherow replied, that he was not authorised by Mr. Lyon to deduct any thing from the bill; and therefore must take the bill back and receive further orders from Mr. Lyon, before he could settle it on such conditions. It is to be observed that I never sent for twenty dollars to Mr. Fox or [Page 70] Mr. Stocker, although they both claimed the merit of the good deed, or ever contracted any debt with them. The twenty dollars which were sent to me, was intended I verily believe as a man trap to catch unwary innocent, and unguarded feel­ings—Mr. Helm received the twenty dollars, and that he laid it out in necessaries for me, I do not deny; but to give a man a present of twenty dollars, when he was suffering through the negligence of those who thrust him there, and then want to stop it out of his bill; seems to me one of those low, debased, mean, and unworthy actions, that would more become the vi­lest of the Jewish race, than the philanthropic and polished breasts of gentlemen composing the body of a commercial and national institution.

I waited about three weeks, thinking that when the storm awakened in the breasts of some of that body against [...] might be lulled; that calm consideration would get over the precipi­tate ebullitions of anger and prejudice, and that they would consider deliberately what their conduct might appear in the eyes of the world.

I asked advice from several professional gentlemen, and I was advised from the above statement to sue the Bank of Pennsyl­vania before the Alderman's Court. I applied to Squire Jen­nings for the purpose, but he would not grant me a summons; but said he would write a letter to Mr. Fox, to this I had no objection but it struck me instantly, thus, that if a poor man is indebted, he is summoned and brought in triumph (to use a vulgar though common phrase) up to the bull-ring; however Mr. Fox, did not like to dispute this ground, he sent the mo­ney to Squire Jennings and I gave a receipt for the same to prevent any farther exposition of the Bank. I still had an idea that I could have brought an action of damages for false imprisonment, and waited on several gentlemen of the law, and which cost me a considerable sum; but I could find none that would ensure me any success, from the following observations of theirs. First I was held to bail and if I brought an action against the Bank of Pennsylvania it must be tried at the Su­preme Court, and it would come on before the very Jud­ges▪ which held me to bail▪ and that would be a countermand of their judgment if they even countenanced my action. Se­cond, The trial must come before the same Court and it is most probable the Jury which would be impannelled would be men interested in the Bank of Pennsylvania: under those two heads they could not give me any encouragement to bring [Page 71] the action forward. It is easy to hold a man to bail providing the prosecutor can tell a tough story and when a Jury is kept under the thumb of a Bank the [...] is settled without either regard to law or justice. I have applied to the late mayor's brother Mr. Baker, for all the papers respecting the robbery of the Bank, or a copy of them which were in the possession of the late Hillary Baker: but his brother tells me Mr. Fox holds them, and I have been since told by the watchmen that the above papers are in the hands of Billy Sansom, I should [...]e glad to know what business Mr. Fox, or Billy Sansom, has to retain papers which ought absolutely to be in the of­fice of the mayor for inspection: I should have been glad to have had copies of them, at least Samuel Wheeler's, depo­sition which was either ignorant, false, or malicious, according to my conception. The Bank of Pennsylvania was very much disappointed, and the vast expence that they were at with me, I suppose made them more inveterate against me. They rode after John Boyd, a Brick-layer, near forty miles into West-Chester, to be an evidence against me, and when they got John Boyd he did not know me. I am sure I did not know him at that time, but we have since became acquainted and he has related to me the whole of that part of the farce. I now return to Haines, the constable or catchpole, or what you will. I am sorry for neglecting so amiable a character so long—when he got his orders to go to the Capes after me, he was told by several of my Friends, that I was gone to Cape Henlopen; but in place of going there, he went into the Jersey, and down to Cape May. I have the story from captain John Carsin's mother, who was about that time a neighbour of mine, and a better woman is not in the circle of my acquaintance. Haines fell in with this old lady at Cape May, but unfortunately for him, she was well acquainted with me and my family concerns; and would not allow Haines to advance any false representations against me: It was not only the erroneous accusation of the Bank of Pennsylvania against me; but Haines must have visited Rebecca Barker, or some of her companions; she being under the denomination of my mo­ther-in-law. I only lay such cases down, to find what rational man can place confidence in such reptiles—such women are a disgrace to the modest sex, and serves as another instance of my belief, that there are not too great a number of men can boast of a good mother-in-law. Haines, when at Cape May was told that I went into a tavern, and called for something to [Page 72] drink; and looked over the newspaper; and as soon as I had read the paper, drank off the liquor in a hurry, and went into a cedar swamp, and set fire to it in two different places. God knows I never was at Cape May in my life. Haines and the high-con­stable of Cape May, (a pair of worthies), cut down from some of the large trees, two clubs, and like the t [...]in brother giants, Gog and Magog, issued forth on a wild goose chace into the cedar swamp; but the asses could find no Lyon. For Saul was sent after his father's asses, but could not find them, and then was declared wise enough to be a king; but if asses can't find a Lyon what is their wisdom entitled to. Haines did not go to look for a brother, he went out to look for a Lyon, the king of the beasts, and he could not find him; and the king of the beasts thinks it a very great hardship, that he should be hunted after, by one of the meanest, lowest, and most debased of his subjects.

I have related the nature of the Philadelphia prison in se­veral parts of this work; the advocates of which, cannot be­lieve that such treatment is exercised on the prisoners, in any part of the prison; but these people that will not believe that the Philadelphia prison is as bad as any other prison, that is to be read of, my only wish is, that they may have a fair and speedy trial of it: it is impossible say these unbelieving advocates, that any man can be twenty-four hours without a morsel. When it can be proved, that a prisoner some time back, was starved and disfigured by the rats; and I suppose those advocates can­not deny that a keeper cannot at pleasure take the unfortunate women out of the west-wing, and keep them in the cells—for what purpose I suppose may be easily guessed at. A man taken to the cells for God knows what, sometimes at the re­quest of his prosecutor, or persecutor, I cannot say which, for they are synonimous; and kept several months on half a pound of bread, and a quart of water every 24 hours, until he is so weak that he has been known to knaw the plaister from the walls, and could not stand to evacuate his urine. After such a reduction, the unfortunate and sometimes innocent victim, is conducted to the sick room and breathes his last: and if it is as­ked what he or they died of, it answered (sometimes) of an in­damation of the bowels, or a consumption, or any thing but the real thing. I say no prisoner has a right to be put to the cells by the orders of the prosecutor, or prosecutors, to extort any thing from him, or to satisfy their savage barbarity: why rail at the rack or the inquisition, if similar methods are pursued, to ex­tort [Page 73] by means of force, the frantic exclamations of suffering in­nocence, for the purposes of self-condemnation. I only men­tion those things, to let my fellow citizens know a little of th [...] too much boasted of Philadelphia prison; and as this is but a small specimen, I shall likely take more particular notice of many things in a publication I may think proper to make here­after, and in which I shall not forget my friend Haines, who used to be a common visitor in that prison.

On the 4th of May 1799, I went to the house of Mary Da­vis, with Mr. Condie, and received an answer from Robinson's old crony, viz. Isaac Davis. Here it is—

I RECEIVED information from you, with your situ­ation, and do sympathize with your long suffering and loss of character. My heart was deeply wounded when I heard of your imprisonment, because I was sensible of your innocence: therefore I can safely say, you had no hand in robbing the Bank of Pennsylvania, though perhaps I am not to be relied on at present; but I declare your innocence with a heart full of sorrow, for my departure from the great moral principle, hence I undoubtedly realize the necessity of a strict adherence to virtue—Virtue and industry are completely competent, to satisfy the mind with solid happiness. This I have realized by fatal experience, I will in future pursue the plain paths of my former diligence.

To Mr. Patrick Lyon.

Observation. When the Bank was robbed, from what I can learn; Smith, Davis, and Robinson, were all in triangled si­tuations. Davis at Brannan's table, would frequently say at dinner, I wish they could catch the thieves: Smith at Ger­mantown, and Robinson in the state of New-Jersey; but they all sung the same tune, to be sure Lyon must be the man, and if this one will take him, or that one will take him, there will be three thousand dollars for you. Then some got guns, and some got pistols, and some got swords, and some got clubs, (and off to the swamps). Such a continued race of warriors never existed before, only in the chimerical brain of the famed Knight of La Mancha, when he attacked the flocks of sheep, and had his teeth knocked out by the shepherds.

[Page 74] The opinion of many in regard to Davis, runs in this kind of language, viz. That Davis was a great rogue but bigger fool; a rogue first for robbing the Bank, and a fool for not being more careful in preserving the cash when he was in possession. But the Bank, or the public at large, will accept of my opinion, (it is this): First, I say that if Davis took the money, he was wrong, for no man has a right to take that which does not be­long to him. Second, If Davis ever suffered himself to be made a tool for other people's private purposes, he certainly must be granted a fool without redemption, in my poor hum­ble opinion: because this affair is not yet developed to the [...]ld, or in what manner this Bank was robbed, and which still remains a mystery. I say it appears to me, as if some people [...] be pleased the whole should be buried in oblivion, with­out the funereal farewel of a whisper.

It has been reported that the Bank offered me different sums of money, and that I had made a certain demand: I declare to the public, the Bank never came forward, nor did I ever make any demand. If they are closely interrogated, it is answered by a fetch or come off, such as, there are still some doubts, &c. about it. Some relate one story, and another a different one, as nearly answers the purpose for which it is spoken. Where is then such an instance? Can the Histories of different nations furnish you with such a refined in­stance of cruelty, and such polished combination of man, sty­ling themselves gentlemen, and residing in a free Christian coun­try, (I mean to select those for my observation only, as were the cause of my sufferings) as those I unfortunately had to deal with, but such an instance of cruelty is not to be for­gotten, if forgiven on this side of the grave, whatever may be the consequences on the other. If the equilibrium is destroyed between man and man, the aggressor should give to the injured the Balance due in his favour, and give back to the injured every atom of his due; but no, say these gentlemen, we publicly de­clare we will punish him, and bring him down, never more to behold the glorious luminary of Heaven: and close his eyes in terre [...]tial darkness. I only ask if it would not have been more humane, of those gentlemen, to have come to the prison, and have taken me by the hand and humanely as London merchants certainly would have done—pride, ignorance, or indolence, or all, may have carried them farther than they expected. And their keeping me in prison nearly three weeks, after the money [Page 75] was found, served only to blind the public, into their measures at that time; but at present I have the pleasure to inform those gentlemen, and the committee for whom I have so great a re­gard, (on account of their decision so well frought with Solo­monic wisdom), that it has been my chief study to fulfil the station which I believe nature intended me for, in, and on all my transactions in life. A disinterestedness which has been often an injury to me, but which I have invariably pursued in spight of the false shew, glare, glitter, and splendour of the world: an open plainess, and honest bluntness of speech, which as my feelings dictated: were involuntarily spoken. These are pleasant, soothing reflections to me, they quiet the corroding irksomeness of care, and give a delicious composure at night to the wearied body. And when those gentlemen, who are so great in the world's eye, leave this world and the bell tolls their funereal knell, honours they cannot rationally boast of, and all their grand speculations die with them: while on the other hand, my works will be durable and ornamental, and probably my works and my principles, may not so soon be forgotten, as those of the gentlemen above alluded to.

I do not know a better country or part of a country in the world than Pennsylvania for people to die in, and get a good posthumous name: for if he who dies, has practised swindling, usury, and every other vice, within the pale of the law; he is sure to be a good patriot, an indulgent husband, a kind father, with a variety of other innumerable virtues. If a woman, hack­nied in all the meretricious arts and failings of her sex: she is every thing that is less than a saint, and praised with more vir­tues than ever belonged to a mortal of either sex: but news­paper praise, for the dead, ought to be valued at the price of old rags, being just as cheap, and of equal worth.

To sum up the whole, if any inaccuracies have crept into this work: I hope I shall be forgiven, as I am more accustomed to mechanics than to authorship: but I hope I have as nearly as possible, kept the undeviating path of truth, and while she re­mains my mistress, I have not the least doubt, but this will meet with the approbation of my fellow Citizens,

Whose humble servant, I remain, PATRICK LYON.
[Page 76]

N. B. Just as this work was going to the press,—Hazard▪ Esq. of Broadkill Hundred, and who acted with such a degree of benevolent humanity to me, by his assistance to me in the be­half of my apprentice, who deceased by the prevalent malignant of 1798.—called to see me, and in an extraneous conversia­tion; informed me that, that he took the depositions of several persons by order of a Mr. M'Night, acting clerk for the Bank of Pennsylvania; but the said Mr. M'Night, possessing a bad and deficient memory, forgot to pay him (said Hazard [...] Esq.) the customary fees.


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