But It Was Not Only In
This Part Of His Business That He Excelled:
He executed every branch
of it in superior style.
Had not his villainy been still more notorious
than his skill, he would have proved an invaluable possession to a new
country. He had passed through innumerable scenes in life, and had played
many parts. When too lazy to work at his trade he had turned thief in
fifty different shapes, was a receiver of stolen goods, a soldier and a
travelling conjurer. He once confessed to me that he had made a set of
tools, for a gang of coiners, every man of whom was hanged.
Were the nature of the subject worthy of farther illustration, many
similar proofs of misapplied talents might be adduced.
Their love of the marvellous has been recorded in an early part of this
work. The imposture of the gold finder, however prominent and glaring,
nevertheless contributed to awaken attention and to create merriment.
He enjoyed the reputation of a discoverer, until experiment detected the
imposition. But others were less successful to acquire even momentary
admiration. The execution of forgery seems to demand at least neatness
of imitation and dexterity of address. On arrival of the first fleet
of ships from England, several convicts brought out recommendatory letters
from different friends. Of these some were genuine, and many owed their
birth to the ingenuity of the bearers. But these last were all such
bungling performances as to produce only instant detection and succeeding
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