Gascoigne, Richard (d.1716) (DNB00)

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GASCOIGNE, RICHARD (d. 1716), Jacobite, was born in Ireland and descended from a good Roman catholic family. His grandfather was killed in fighting for Charles I, and his father fell in the service of James II at the siege of Limerick. On coming into an estate of the value of 200l. a year, he converted it into money and came up to London, where he speedily dissipated his fortune and was reduced to very low circumstances. He recovered his position, however, by his skill and luck at games of cards and dice, and was taken up by the leaders of the tory party, who entrusted him with the management of their affairs at Bath. He was there when the rebellion broke out in 1715, and hearing that his arrest had been ordered, he set out with such forces as he could gather together to join the army at Preston. He proclaimed the Pretender king at the principal towns he passed through on his northern march, and arrived at Preston only in time to be taken prisoner. He was brought up to Newgate with the other leaders, and was put on his trial for high treason. He pleaded ‘not guilty,’ but it was proved that some chests of arms which had been seized at Bath were purchased abroad by him, and he was sentenced to death. He was hanged at Tyburn, 25 May 1716, and ‘died with the greatest unconcernedness of any of the unfortunate rebels’ (Patten, Hist. of the Rebellion). In a paper which he handed to the sheriff on the scaffold, he declared that he was never in his life an agent nor employed by any person in any political design, and he denied all knowledge of the arms that were seized. He further said that he did not take up arms with any view of restoring the catholic religion, but solely on behalf of his lawful king James III. After his death a letter which he had written to a friend the night before his execution was printed.

[Patten's Hist. of the Rebellion of 1716, p. 117, 3rd edit.; New Newgate Calendar, i. 207 (ed. 1818); A True Copy of the Paper delivered to the Sheriffs of London, by Richard Gascoigne; Gillow's Bibliographical Dict. of English Catholics.]

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