ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 203
In this 203rd issue of the Baba Indaba’s Children's Stories series, Baba Indaba narrates the English folktale of “THE GENTLEMAN HIGHWAYMAN.”
James Maclain (occasionally 'Maclean', 'MacLean', or 'Mclane') was born in 1724 in Scotland. He was the second of two sons of a Scottish Presbyterian minister who moved to Monaghan in Ireland. The elder son became a minister while James was educated to become a merchant. MacLaine frittered away his inheritance in Dublin on fine clothes, gambling and prostitutes.
He moved to London and married the daughter of an innkeeper and horse dealer. With a dowry of five hundred pounds (approx. £50,000 in 2016 or US$67,000) he set himself up as a grocer in Welbeck Street. His wife died within 3 years, and he ruined his business by adopting the airs of a gentleman to attract a new wealthy wife. At that time the son of a clergyman would have all the true airs of a gentleman, though perhaps not the funds. He joined bankrupt apothecary William Plunkett as a highwayman.
Plunkett and Maclain were responsible for around 20 highway robberies in six months, often in the then, relatively untamed, Hyde Park. Amongst their victims were Horace Walpole, son of first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole and Lord Elgington. The thieves were always restrained and courteous, earning Maclain the sobriquet 'The Gentleman Highwayman'. The proceeds enabled him to live the high life.
Sought by the law, he fled to his brother in the Haque, the Netherlands, for sanctuary. He waited until the furore had died down before returning to London.
Caught trying to pawn lace pilfered in one of his robberies, MacLaine was incarcerated at the notorious Newgate Prison, near St Paul’s Cathedral, where he reputedly received nearly 3,000 guests while imprisoned. Plunkett was not apprehended and made his escape to France.
MacLaine's trial at the Old Bailey became a fashionable society occasion. Nevertheless he was convicted and hanged at Tyburn (near the Marble Arch, at the bottom end of Oxford St.) on 3 October 1750. His brother, Archibald, a minister of religion and a translator, travelled from the Hague to intercede with the court for justice for his brother but was unsuccessful.
You’re invited to download and read the whole story of James Maclaine “The Gentleman Highwayman”.
33% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.
INCLUDES LINKS TO DOWNLOAD 8 FREE STORIES
Each issue also has a 'WHERE IN THE WORLD - LOOK IT UP' section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story.
HINT - use Google maps.
Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children's stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as 'Father of Stories'.
THE GENTLEMAN HIGHWAYMAN - An English Legend
Baba Indaba Children's Stories Issue 203 - Abela Publishing
Publication date: 01/09/2016
The true story about a gentleman highwayman in England in the 1700s
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