Poster describing the crime and execution of a twelve year old boy, 1829, 74/1888.c.3
The Dreadful Life and Confession of a Boy Aged Twelve Years, Who was Condemned to die at last Old Bailey Sessions, 1829
With horror we attempt to relate the progress of evil, generally prevailing among children through the corrupt example of wicked parents: though we are constrained to confess that many a child through bad company, wickedly follow the dictates of their own will and often bring the hoary heads of honest parents with sorrow to the grave. The errors of a guilty conscience crieth to heaven for vengeance against such wretched parents as belonged to T. King who after eloping from their native place took obscure lodgings in East Smithfield, where they harboured the vilest characters and wickedly encouraged their only son in lying, stealing &c. At the age of seven years the parish humanely bound him an apprentice but his wickedness soon caused his master to discharge him – he was afterwards bound to a chimney-sweeper in the borough, who soon repented having taken him, for he plundered every place that he was sent to work at, for which not only correction but imprisonment ensued. His master being an honest man brought him twice back with some property he had stolen which obtained him pardon, and prevented him from being transported.
Lastly, his parents made him desert from his master, and bound him to a gang of thieves who sent him down the chimney of a jeweller in Swallow street, where he artfully unbolted the shop window, out of which his companions cut a pane of glass, and he handed a considerable quantity of articles to them; but the noise he made alarmed the family, and he was taken into custody, but the others escaped.
He was tried at last Old Bailey Sessions, found Guilty, and sentenced to die in the 12th year of his age. After his sentence the confession he made struck those around him with horror, stating the particulars of several murders and robberies. We hope the dreadful example of this wretched youth may produce a lasting warning to the world at large.