Hind, James (DNB00)

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HIND, JAMES (d. 1652), highwayman, son of a saddler of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was apprenticed to a butcher in that town. He did not serve out his apprenticeship, but went to London and joined a gang of highwaymen. Many mythical exploits are ascribed to him in Johnson's 'Lives of the Highwaymen'—that he waylaid Cromwell, terrified Hugh Peters in Enfleld Chace, robbed Colonel Harrison of 70l., made an attack on Bradshaw near Sherburn, and shot Bradshaw's six horses. Hind was an ardent royalist; he received a commission from Sir William Compton, was at Colchester when it was taken by Fairfax, and escaped in woman's apparel (27 Aug. 1648). On 2 May 1649 he went to the Hague, and after threedays sailed for Ireland; landed in Galloway, and was made corporal in the Marquis of Ormonde's life-guard; was wounded at Youghal, and escaped to Duncannon, whence (to avoid the plague) he shipped to Scilly. There he stayed eight months, proceeded to the Isle of Man, and, after a stay of thirteen weeks, made his way to Stirling, where Charles II commended him to the Duke of Buckingham, marched south with the king's forces, and after the defeat at Worcester escaped to London, where he lived for nine weeks under the name of James Brown at a barber's house in the Strand. On 9 Nov. 1651 he was arrested at that house, and on the following day was examined at Whitehall 'in regard to his late engagement with Charles Stewart, and whether he was the man that accompanied the Scots king for the furtherance of his escape' (True and Perfect Relation of the taking of Captain James Hind). He declared that he had not seen the king since the fight at Worcester, and expressed satisfaction at hearing that his majesty had made so happy an escape. After his examination he was sent back to the Gatehouse, and on the next day was closely imprisoned at Newgate. His arrest caused much excitement, and sensational accounts of his achievements were hastily printed and circulated. When he was asked whether he had seen 'Hind's Ramble' and 'Hind's Exploits,' he answered that those narratives were fictitious, but added that he had played 'some merry Pranks and Revels.' In December he was tried at the Old Bailey, where he 'deported himself with undaunted courage, yet with a civill behaviour and smiling countenance' (Trial of Captain James Hind). Before his trial he drew up a 'Confession' of his recent movements,which he submitted to the council.

As no conclusive evidence was forthcoming he was remanded. On 1 March 1651-2 he was removed to Reading and tried for manslaughter on the charge of having killed one of his friends in a quarrel near Reading. Sentence of death was passed, but he procured his pardon under the Act of Oblivion, The authorities, however, declined to release him. He was sent to Worcester, where he was tried and condemned on the charge of high treason. On 24 Sept. 1652 he was drawn, hanged, and quartered.

There is a ballad on Hind among the 'Roxburghe Ballads' (iii. 672). He is also the hero of 'An Excellent Comedy, the Prince of Priggs Revels: or the Practices of that grand Thief, Captain James Hind. . . . Written by J. S.' [11 Nov.] 1651, 4to, a catchpenny trifle. Among the tracts relating to him are 'The English Gusman: or the History of that Unparallel'd Thief, James Hind. . . . Written by G[corge] F[idgel,' 1652, 4to; 'Wit for Money. Being a full Relation of the Life, Actions, Merry Conceits, and pretty Pranks of Captain James Hind' [1652], 8vo; and 'No Jest like a true Jest: being a compendious Record of the Merry Life and Mad Exploits of Capt. James Hind,' 1674, 4to.

[Trial of Captain James Hind; The English Gusman; Wit for Money; Johnson's Lives of the Highwaymen.]

A. H. B.