Monday, 17 August 2009

Dripping in diamonds

Old newspapers made it clear that travel around Deptford (and on the roads around London generally) could be dangerous thanks to highwaymen, but one traveller appears not to have worried, packing large quantities of valuables for his journey. He advertised in July 1719 for the return of a 'lost' trunk apparently stuffed with diamonds. The claim that the missing property was dropped or forgotten was a common device to keep the advert on the right side of the law - agreeing not to prosecute thieves if they returned their ill-gotten gains was an offence, 'compounding a felony'.

The address to be contacted suggests that the unnamed unfortunate was a jeweller, which explains the opulent contents of his luggage. It is interesting to consider why he didn't keep the small items on his person; perhaps for fear of being held up at gunpoint by a highwayman?
Dropt the first instant, about Noon, from the Eltham Coach, betwixt Deptford and New Cross, or left at Deptford, a Leather gilt Trunk, containing several parcels of new Linnen, Head Cloths, &c. and Papers of no Use but to the Owner, a Guinea and Half, a small Rose Diamond Girdle-Buckle, a Diamond Necklace, pair of Diamond Ear-Rings, one with Drops, a String of 9 Diamonds, Brilliants, a small Pearl Necklace of 5 Strings, two other Necklaces, small Gold Watch with a Gold Chain, and Brass Hook, some Gold mourning Rings. If offer’s to be sold, pawn’d or valued, shop them, and on Notice to Messieurs Green and Eades, Goldsmiths, at the Crown in bard-street, and you shall have 50 l Pounds Reward, or proportion for any Part.

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