Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/518

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DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

Philadelphia had been cast away on the coast of Ireland, he laid aside gown, cassock, and bands, and assumed the garb and language and address of a Quaker. "His countenance was now demure; the words You and Sir he seemed to hold in abomination; his Hat was moved to none; for though under Misfortunes, he would not think of bowing the knee to Baal." Thus equipped he preyed very successfully on the Friends. He even went to a great meeting of Quakers from all parts at Thorncombe, in Dorset, and induced the Friends there to make a considerable contribution for the relief of this member of the sect who had fallen into such distress through the wreck.

His effrontery, his cunning, his utter unscrupulousness gained him such credit among the gipsies that on the death of Claude Patch, who had reigned previously over the canting crew, he was elected King of the Beggars, and thenceforth drew from the whole community a certain income.

At last he was arrested, tried at the quarter sessions at Exeter, and transported to Maryland, where he was sold to a planter. As he tried to escape, an iron collar with a handle to it was riveted about his neck. He again escaped; this time he succeeded in getting among the Indians, who relieved him of his collar. He stole a canoe from his benefactors, and in it made his way to Newcastle in Pennsylvania. There he wandered about, pretending to be a Quaker, being everywhere well received by the fraternity till he came to Derby, where Mr. Whitefield was preaching and drawing crowds. He attended Whitefield's meetings, pretended to be a converted character, sought the preacher out, imposed on him, got from him money, and departed for Philadelphia, and thence made his way to New London, where resided two sisters of Sir