How Hodgekins of Halifax came to the Court, and complained to the King, that his Privilege was nothing worth, because when they found any Offender, they could not get a Hangman to execute him: and how by a Fryer a Gin was devised to chop off Mens Heads of it selfe.

CHAPTER VIII.

How Hodgekins of Halifax came to the Court, and complained to the King, that his Privilege was nothing worth, because when they found any Offender, they could not get a Hangman to execute him: and how by a Fryer a Gin was devised to chop off Mens Heads of it selfe.

AFTER that Hodgekins had got the Priviledge for the Towne of Halifax, to hang up such Theevcs as stole their Cloth in the Night, presently without any further Judgement, all the Clothiers of the Towne were exceedingly glad, and perswaded themselves, that now their Goods would be safe all Night, without watching them at all, so that whereas before, the Towne maintained certaine Watchmen to keepe their Cloth by Night, they were hereupon dismissed as a Thing needlesse to be done, supposing with themselves, that seeing they should be straight hanged that were found faulty in this Point, that no Man would be so des

-perate perate to enterprise any such Act. And indeed the Matter being noysed through the whole Country, that they were straight to be hanged that use such Theevery, it made many lewd Livers to restraine such Theevery.

Nevertheless, there was at that same Time living, a notable Theefe named JVallis, whom in the North they called Mighty Wallis, in regard to his Valour and Manhood: This Man being most subtile in such Kind of Knavery, having heard of this late Priviledge, and therewithal! of the Townes Security, said that once he would venture his Necke for a Packe of Northerne Cloth: and therefore comming to One or Two of his Companions, he asked if they would be Partners in his Adventure, and if (quoth he) you will herein hazard your Bodies, you shall be Sharers in all our Booties.

At length by many Perswasions the Men consented: whereupon late in the Night they got them all into a Farriours Shop, and called up the Folkes of the House. What the foule ill wald you have (quoth they) at this Time of the Night? Wallis answered, saying, Good-fellowes, we would have you to remove the Shooes of our Horses Feete, and set them on againe, and for your Paines you shall be well pleased. The Smith at length was perswaded,

and and when he had pluckt off all the Shooes from their Horses Feete, they would needes have them all set on againe, quite contrary with the Cakins forward, that should stand backward. How? fay, fay, Man, qd. the Smith, are ye like Fules? what the Deele doe you meane to breake your Crags? gud Faith, I tro the Men be wood. Not so, Smith, qd. they, do thou as we bid thee, & thou shalt have thy Money: for it is an old Proverbe,

Be it better, or be it worse,

Please you the Man that beares the Purse.

Gud Faith, and see I sall, qd. the Smith, and so did as hee was willed. When Wallis had thus caused their Horses to be shod, to Hallifax they went, where they without any Let, laded their Horses with Cloth, and so departed contrary Way.

In the Morning, so soone as the Clothiers came to the Field, they found that they were robd, whereupon one ranne to another to tell these Things. Now when Hodgekins heard thereof, rising up in Haste, he wild his Neighbors to marke and to see, if they could not descry either the Foot-steppes of Men or Horses. Which being done, they perceived that Horses had beene there, and seeking to

pursue

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