The History of the Life of the Late Mr Jonathan Wild the Great by Henry Fielding


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The History of the Life of the Late
Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, by Henry Fielding
(#3 in our series by Henry Fielding)

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Title: The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great

Author: Henry Fielding

Release Date: March, 2004 [EBook #5256]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on June 14, 2002]
[Date last updated: July 30, 2005]

Edition: 10

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MR. JONATHAN WILD ***




Produced by Nicole Apostola, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team



THE WORKS OF HENRY FIELDING

VOLUME TEN


THE
HISTORY OF THE LIFE
OF THE LATE
MR. JONATHAN WILD
THE GREAT

WITH THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE, AND AN INTRODUCTION BY G. H. MAYNADIER,
Ph. D.

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY




INTRODUCTION

Jonathan Wild, born about 1682 and executed at Tyburn in 1725, was
one of the most notorious criminals of his age. His resemblance to
the hero in Fielding's satire of the same name is general rather
than particular. The real Jonathan (whose legitimate business was
that of a buckle-maker) like Fielding's, won his fame, not as a
robber himself, but as an informer, and a receiver of stolen
goods. His method was to restore these to the owners on receipt of
a commission, which was generally pretty large, pretending that he
had paid the whole of it to the thieves, whom for disinterested
motives he had traced. He was a great organiser, and he controlled
various bands of robbers whose lives he did not hesitate to
sacrifice, when his own was in danger. Naturally he was so hated
by many of his underlings that it is a wonder he was able to
maintain his authority over them as many years as he did. His
rascality had been notorious a long time before his crimes could
actually be proved. He was executed at last according to the
statute which made receivers of stolen goods equally guilty with
the stealers.

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