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The Windsor and Eton Express.
Bucks Chronicle and Reading Journal

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Some Selected Reports from The Windsor and Eton Express

13th May 1837

A meeting of the members of the Windsor and Eton Royal Horticultural Society was held in the Town-hall, on Wednesday, the Rev.W.J.Moore in the chair, when the accounts for last year were exhibited and past, and a highly respectable committee appointed for the year ensuing, of which Sir John Chapman is the chairman, and the Rev.Mr.Coleridge vice-chairman.

The anniversary of the opening of Chalvey Chapel will take place on Tuesday next, when sermons will be preached in the morning and evening, by the Rev.G.Burnett, of London.

Uxbridge, May 12.

At the meeting of the Board of Guardians for the Uxbridge Union to-day, contracts for the building of the central workhouse, agreeable to advertisements were received; and that of Mr.Henry Morten, builder, of Uxbridge, obtained the sanction of the Board.

Chertsey, May 12.

On Sunday night two leaden pumps were stolen from two houses at Addlestone [?], which were found the following evening between that place and Chertsey by Giles, [by] the constable, concealed in a dung heap. On the same night the lead was attempted to be removed from the from the front of a house in Guildford-street, Chertsey, which was occupied by the late H.T.Willats, Esq., but it is supposed the thieves were disturbed, as they left their work in an unfinished state.

Convict Chase and Capture

About half-past two o'clock on Saturday afternoon a party of convicts employed in Woolwich Dock-yard; in charge of an officer and a military sentinel - four most determined characters - viz., Thomas Boutel, John Wallace, Thomas Dalton, and John Bannon, all of them very powerful men, particularly Boutel and Dalton, suddenly rushed upon the sentinel , a rifleman, on duty at the west gate of the dock-yard, violently assaulted him, and forcibly took away the rifle. On one of the officers approaching, Boutel, who had possession of the rifle, levelled it at him, and swore that if he came nearer to him he would blow his brains out. The four convicts immediately made their escape by scaling the gate.

Upon breaking out into the London-road, the convicts betook themselves to the brick-fields on the other side. Their ignorance of the localities induced them to climb a steep hill on the centre of Charlton sand pits, thinking it was part of the hanging wood; but finding a ravine of great depth intervened between them, and the only spot by which they could expect to escape, they rapidly descended in the full view of the excavators into the pits. Boutal, abandoning the rifle taken from the Yager, as impeding him, heavily chained as he was, and forced to employ one hand in holding up his fetters, gave it to his young companion Bannon; then squatting down upon his hams, and folding his arms over his knees, he rolled himself, bounding like a ball, down the face of a very steep precipice, fully eighty feet to the bottom, without sustaining any injury. They now struck into an orchard, and forced themselves through the hedge-rows of some gardens on the left, it is supposed with a view of reaching the covert of the large woods on the Eltham side of Shooters-hill, Dalton taking a different line up the face of the assent to the hanging wood, quickly pursued by Steadman, an active officer of the convict police establishment, who had now got sight of him for the first time. The others had, in passing through the gardens in the garb of convicts, with a firelock, alarmed all the inhabitants of that rural and retired spot, Woodland Place, most of whom shut themselves in, and watched from their upper windows the pursuit , which, as the convicts could now be seen crossing a sloping meadow, became exceedingly hot an animated, the yagars discharging several shots at Boutel and Bannon, but without effect. Captain Grove, observing that the convicts were taking different directions, ordered the bugle to sound for his men to extend from the centre with the view to outflank them all. In this was Wallace was captured. The other convicts gained the summit of the hill, crossed a bridle road, and being out of their pursuers struck into a close shaw of underwood and furze, admirably calculated for concealment. Their track was not quite lost, for a hat, shoes, and some articles of dress thrown off to facilitate their flight, continued to be picked up as the soldiers gained on them. In the gorse the proceeded to select a hiding place, and when the troops attained the summit, the convicts were not to be seen. A tinker in the bridle-road, by the bye, a very apt and efficient instrument to release them from their fetters if their escape was preconcerted, was asked by Steadman, if he had seen anything of the fugitives; but notwithstanding an offer of a present , a crown, for any intelligence, he steadily refused to give that which Steadman believes he had it perfectly and accurately in his power to afford.

Baffled in this instance they soon after obtained intelligence from two boys as to the part of the furze the convicts had been seen to enter. The centre of the corps of soldiers having arrived at this point, Captain Grove ordered the bugle to sound the command to encompass this part of the wood; and so exactly was the order complied with, that had there been a hundred instead of three in the enclosure, they must have all been included in the gradually lessening circle and been captured. The villains were dragged, amidst the exultation of the young soldiers, from their lurking place; the rifle piece recaptured, and they were marched back to Woolwich under a strong guard. It was not without a violent struggle for nearly a quarter of an hour, that Dalton was overpowered in another part of the wood by an officer belonging to the police establishment.

Bannon was dreadfully agitated when he was retaken with the rifle in his possession, and begged hard that they would not shoot him; but Boutel, on the contrary , told the officers and soldiers they might do what they liked with him, and continued to abuse them in the most insulting and revolting language all the way back to the dock-yard. Boutel, a most desperate fellow, is supposed in have been the ringleader of this affair. He has before been transported for burglary, and made his escape from Van Dieman's Land. He has been heard to say that the ship is not built that would ever take him out and that he would rather be hung than be sent abroad again, and that no man should ever take him there again alive.