Outlaws and Highwaymen

Two chapters from The English Gusman, by George Fidge
G[eorge] F[idge], The English Gusman, (London, 1652), pp. [3]–5


What befel him when he came to London

Hind being now come to London, did meet with many of his friends, and acquaintance, and one night being drinking in the City, and too long staying by the good liquor, made Indentures as he went by the Counter, (a Trap to catch such Rats,) was forced to take a nap before he went any further, and after his first sleep, awaked and looked about him, saying, This is a large house and may entertain many guests, but I do not intend to keep my Christmas here;1 and afterwards meeting with some mad Lads (as mad as himself) in earnest resolved to be drunk, being before but spiced a little with the same disease, in jest; now they drink and roar, fearing neither Cunstable, nor Watchmen (to come to disturb them) and at this place Hind became acquainted with *Allen, who now is one of the chief Rogues in the Pack and promised Hind to entertain him as his servant, and to learn him such an Art, as would for ever make him a Gentleman, Hind being willing to imbrace his proffer, (to be a Gentleman) vowed, To serve him in any thing: so the morning being come, they payed their Fees, and were discharged; now Hind is very observant to his new Master, and thinks his money well spent in the Tipling house, by that means to get so good a Master, in so short a time; Allen takes his servant to the Tavern to consult of some points, that they may lose no time.

*Allen was in the Counter for being drunk [marginal note]

How Allen instructs his new servant, and sets him to rob a Gentleman.

Allen being at the Tavern with the rest of his Crew, began to drink merrily; but Hind being somewhat modest, went from the table, and stood by them least his new Master should think him Sawcy if he were too familiar, still expecting what rare Art his Master would teach him; Allen seeing his young man in a Study took him aside, saying, I would have you be as my companion and friend, and not as a servant, neither do I look fo any such respect as you do give me; you shal eat and drink as I do, and if I have money, you shal have part, and want none, and if I want, you must help to get some as well as you can: In short, Hind condescended, and they swore him to be true to their Gang; which being done, they admit him as a Brother of their Company:2 And now to Flesh him they determined, and went to a stable, where were many brave Horses: Allen bid him chuse his Horse, and to take which he liked best; whereupon Hind did chuse the very best (and Allen and his Gang wondred much to see what an audacious spirit their new Brother had:) Now they go to Shooters-Hill, where presently they discovered a Gentleman and his servant coming towards them; 3 and Allen bid Hind to ride alone up to them, and they would lie in an Ambush if occasion should serve; thereupon Hind rides to them (being already tutor’d to the purpose) and bids them Stand, and deliver such money as they had, otherwise he would presently be their death; The Gentleman not willing to die, presently gave him Ten pounds, which was all the Gentleman had; Hind seeing it was all he had, said, Sir, here is forty shillings for you to bear your Charges; in regard it is my Handsale;4 the Gentleman answered, I wish you better luck with it then I have; so Hind took his way, and came to the rest of the gang; and Allen praised him for learning his Art so quickly, saying, did you not see, How he rob’d him with a Grace.

George Fidge


The English Gusman purports to be a biography of a famous highwayman, James Hind, who was still alive (though in jail) at the time it was written. In fact, the book is mostly fiction. This extract begins at the third chapter, after Hind has run away from the butcher to whom he was apprenticed and come to London to seek his fortune.


Notes and page design © Gillian Spraggs 2001, 2007
Text added to site on 20 September 2001 | Page last modified on 28 August 2007

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