Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

A Hue and Cry after the Pretender

A Hue and Cry after the PRETENDER. By Jack Catch, Esq; Executioner-General, within His Majesty’s Dominions, Humbly Dedicated to the Cardinal, of a Great Church betwixt Newgate and Tyburn, to all Goalers and Goal-Birds, whether in Custody or otherwise; To all Thieves and Thief-Catchers, Hawkers and Stalkers; To all Itinerants in these Kingdoms, whether Parsons, Merchants, Eves-droppers, fortune-tellers, or Mountebanks, cum Socijs: To all Mendicants, Foreign and Domestick; whether Fryars, Soldiers, decay’d Gentlemen, or unfortunate Ladies; To all Owlers by Sea, and Strolers by Land; and to all Idlers and Vagabonds whatever; as Catch-polls, Bum-bayliffs, Parish-Clerks, and Fox-hunters; as well as to all honest Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Sub-Sheriffs of Counties, Mayors of Corporations, Constables, Church-Wardens, Tithing-Men, and Sides-Men; and to all other his Majesty’s Loving-Subjects, who Value their Religion, Liberty, Lives, Fortunes and Reputation; and have a just Dread and Esteem for me, the last Distributor of Justice, and true Author of condign Punishment, GREETING.

Whereas one James Stuart, alias Oglethorp, alias Tiler, alias George, alias Chevalier, alias Pretender, alias King, &c. Neither Caesar nor Nullus, neither a man nor a mouse, neither a man’s man, nor a woman’s man, nor a states-man, nor a little man, nor a great man; neither English-man nor French-man, but a Mungrelian, between both; heither wise nor other-wise; neither soldier nor sailor, nor cardinal; without father or mother, without friend or foe, without foresight or aftersight, without brains or bravery, without house or home: made in the figure of a man; but just alive, and that’s all clandestinely once elop’d from his friends, though a back-door in Scotland, and has not been seen or heard of since, till of late a Spanish priest has produced him, to the certain mirth and laughter of all the world.

And whereas the said Alias came at that time from France, which was a time of profound peace, to raise a mob in North-Britain, and other places, just after his accompolices had been routed in two places on the same day, and a whole set of them arm-tied and sent to Newgate, and other places of safe ward and custody.

And whereas the said Alias pretended to come here, to watch and fight, to bring men and money with him, to train an army, and march at the head of them, to fight battles and besiege towns; but in reality did none of these things; but sculk’d, and whin’d, and speech’d, and cry’d; stole to his head-quarters by night, went away before morning; and, having smelt gun-powder, and dreamt of an enemy, burnt the country, and run away by the light of it.

And whereas the said James, &c. then did, and still does, fancy himself a King, and makes Mock-Ministers of State; creating Sham-Generals, Secretaries, Lords and Knights, Duke of Newcastle, and Greenwich, in his Hunting-Matches and Freaks at Bar-le-duc, and Avignon, Urbino, and Rome, where he and the rest of them, are raving like Don Quixot and Sancho, about Kingdoms, and the Government of imaginary Islands, to the known disturbance of their own brains, and the great diversion of their neighbours.

Now whereas the said James Stuart, alias Oglethorp, alias Tyler, alias George, Alias Chevalier, alias Pretender, alias King, alias, &c. hath foolishly and knavishly done and undone these things, once rais’d a mob, and there left them, and soon intends to raise another, like a fool as he is; kept himself from them when they wanted him, and went to them when it was too late; stole money, misapply’d it, sneak’d from France, run away from Scotland, neither carry’d men with him, nor headed those which he had there, neither array’d his army, nor engag’d ’em; but sign’d, slept, wept, made one silly speech, and so scour’d off: And whereas he blasphemously induc’d the Pope to sing Te Deum for these things, for which his friends wish him at the Devil, and swore, Nunc Dimittis.

And, lastly, Whereas to this end, Ormond was sent to Coruhnna, Mar to Leghorn, and the Spanish Priest had prepar’d Letters Recommendatory for Alias, and Sobieski, and the rest of the crew, to some of the princinpal people of England, who escap’d hanging about two or three years ago: But whereas the said Lady broke her leg in the way to Italy, AND The said Alias, not being perfect yet in his senses, stay’d to build a castle in the air at Rome, but is vastly wanted in England by every soul in the Kingdom, though upon very diffrerent accounts, and to very different ends.

For these, and many other reasons, to us known, and too tedious here to repeat, we command you, and ev’ry of you above-mentioned, to apprehend dead or alive the body of the said James Alias, &c., and so apprehended, to bring before me, that he may receive the benefit of the law; for which you shall have the following rewards; and for the doing of which, this shall be your sufficient warrant. Dated at Bridewell-Dock, this 2d, Year of our Reign. February the 20th, 1719.


          If you bring the said James Alias before me, you shall have 5l. reward, and no questions ask’d.
          If before a Mayor or a Corporation, 50l. and meat, drink, washing and lodging for a month.
          If before a lawyer, 1000l. provided you prove fully, your impostor to be no impostor.
          If before a soldier, the full value of his commission.
          If before a parson, nothing. Charity covers a multitude of sins.
          If before a Justice of the Peace, together with one of the late Ministry, 5000l. provided that you let him go again.
          If betore one of the present Ministry, 100000l. and your statute erected about Westminster-Hall.
          Any poet who will write him to death, shall have 30l. per Ann durante vitae, and a new perriwig every Easter.
          If Sacheveral will preach him dead he shall have a bishoprick, as soon as his friends come into place again besides the liberty to encommunicate and turn men out of his church at pleasure.
          If Trapp will dedicate to him, and destroy him, he shall have a parish at last of his own this way.

And now, lest any of you shou’d mistake him, remember, he is a tall, slim, black, yellow, brown, sallow, heavy, dull, good-for-nothing fellow, he has dead looking black eyes, meagre cheeks, long chin, mouth gaping, nose dropping. If you look at him, he looks at you? if you say any thing to him he signs, and says he was unfortunate from his mother’s womb. Some say he can write and read; but he sure don’t forget that he has long legs, and loves to make use of them: He never laughs till he is drunk; plays at cards on Sundays; makes pellets in company with bits of bread with his fingers, lolls his tongue out, and leans on his elbows: And now if you meet him and mistake him, you are puppies and fools, and ought to be hang’d insead of him the said James Alias, &c. And so I bid you heartily Farewell.
          Jack Catch.

(SOURCE: Weekly Journal, or, British Gazetteer, Saturday, 21 March 1719)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "A Hue and Cry after the Pretender", 7 April 2007 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/pretend.htm>

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