Outlaws and Highwaymen

Passages from The Declaration of Captain James Hind
The Declaration of Captain James Hind, (London, 1651), pp. 1–3, 6

15 November 1651

Indeared Countrey-men,

Whereas there hath been sundry and various Relations of the proceedings of Capt. James Hind, fraught with impertinent stories, and new-invented fictions; I am (in order thereunto) desired by the said Mr. Hind, to publish this ensuing Declaration, for sattisfaction, & true information of the People ...

The Declaration of Captain James Hind ...

Whereas the Heavens are doomes of mens deeds, and God holds a ballance in his hand, to reward with favour, all those that walk uprightly; and to revenge with justice, all those that steers their wayes to the contrary; even so may the life of man be well compared to the Ocean Seas, that for every calm hath a thousand storms; for a little pleasure, much pain; and for high desire, much discontent:1 For as folly perswaded me to lead a sinfull life, so at length Justice may bring me to a sorrowful end; (but God requires mercy in the midst thereof) Yet notwithstanding, I am confident, the wrongs which I have committed doth not cry aloud for vengeance; but rather the Mercy that I shewed in all my Designs and Actions, may plead an acquitment of all punishment: However, Gods Will be done; for while I live my heart shall not faint me: I sorrow not to die; neither shall I grieve at the manner of my death, though it be never so untimely. Yet could I have but that happiness, as to fight for my life, and to encounter an Enemy in the field, it would be an infinite comfort, and joy of spirit to me. But blessed be the Name of the Lord, that he hath given me an humble spirit in these my days of Tribulation, and a heart of repentance to bewail my former course of life: For every wrong I have done (called now to remembrance) wrings drops of bloud from my heart; although I never shed one: Neither did I ever take the worth of a peny from a poor man; but at what time soever I met with any such a person, it was my constant custom, to ask, Who he was for? if he reply’d, For the King, I gave him 20 shillings: but if he answer’d, For the Parliament, I left him, as I found him. As for any other Exploits since 1649. I am guiltless of: For in the same year, May 2. I departed England (as appears by my Confession to the Council at White-Hal on the 10 instant, 1651.) and went to the Hague; But after I had been there three dayes I departed for Ireland ...

[The rest of the Declaration contains a brief account of his travels and service to the royalist cause in Ireland, Scilly, the Isle of Man and Scotland, and his actions during and after the battle of Worcester.]

This is all that was declared and confessed by him, who remains captivated in close Prison in the Gaol of New-gate.

Novem. 15. 1651.           JAMES HIND


Hind, a former highwayman turned royalist trooper, fought for King Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. After the King’s defeat, Hind went to ground in London, only to be arrested and imprisoned in Newgate. Hind had had some education, but he was not a very literate man; it is more likely that this statement was taken down by a journalist than that he wrote it himself. The sonorous rhetorical opening, in particular, is redolent of the seventeenth-century hack. Nevertheless, there is a high degree of probability that Hind had considerable input into this document, and that it accords with the way that he wanted to see himself presented to the public.


Notes and page design © Gillian Spraggs 2001, 2007
Text added to site on 31 October 2001 | Page last modified on 28 August 2007

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