British Executions

Thomas Reynolds

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: treason

Date Of Execution: 1 Jan 1751

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Executed at Tyburn, for enlisting soldiers for the service of the king of France.

   THIS traitor was a Roman Catholic, born and educated in Ireland. He was an excellent scholar, being master of the Latin and French languages. When a young man, he went over to France, where he enlisted as a Hussar, wearing false whiskers, his beard not yet being grown. On the rebel expedition being fitted out there to invade Scotland, he served an officer, in the capacity of valet, and who was killed at the battle of Culloden. After this he was taken at Carlisle, and from speaking French so very fluently, he was exchanged as a Frenchman.

   Being a man of genteel address, he ingratiated himself so far into the good opinion of a rich widow, near Carlisle, as to persuade her to marry him.

   He soon left the widow, taking away from her all he could lay his hands upon and returned to France, where he got an appointment in the retinue of the ambassador from that country to the court of St. James's.

   Having now some money, he determined on taking a public-house, his master having attended King George on his then visit to Hanover, and left him behind. He then sent for his wife, to attend the bar, while he put in effect a plan which he long had in contemplation, of seducing our soldiers, and enlisting them for the service of France; and in this treasonable practice he was too long successful. The insinuations which Reynolds used, to tempt the soldiers from their loyalty, was to represent the severe punishments in the English army and the lenity of that of the French -- that he had power to enlist for Lord Ogilvie's regiment, one of the finest in the French army; where they would be treated like gentlemen. He gave them abundance of spirituous liquors and sent prostitutes to keep them company, until he found an opportunity of shipping them. He also, contrived, at different times, to send to France English arms and ammunition, which were supposed to be for the purpose of another invasion and rebellion in Scotland. His public-house was in St. Giles's, and frequented by lewd women, and men of abandoned morals. Regarding the once splendid widow, in her present employ of waiting upon such vagabonds;


"O what a falling off was there"

   Several soldiers of the guards frequented Reynolds's house, and having already sent off some to France, he began to practise his deceit upon one Carnes, a private soldier in the foot-guards. He persuaded him to take money for this service, and shewed him fourteen or fifteen suits of regimentals, belonging to soldiers whom he had already sent to France. He desired him to cut off his hair, wear a smock frock, and to avoid the large towns, or pass through in the night, on his road to Dover. As a guard over him, he sent one of the prostitutes, many of whom he had at his command, who was to see him shipped, and give him money. Thus he meant to evade the proof of his having enlisted him.

   Arrived at Dover, Carnes went to the castle, and disclosed the treason to the Fort Major. The woman, finding this, fled back to London. The Fort Major detained Carnes, and sent information to the War Office. Reynolds, before he could be apprized of this, was seized, his house searched, and different regimental clothing found concealed. He was convicted of the treason, on the clearest evidence, and sentenced to be hanged.

   He protested his innocence to the very last moment of his life; and declared that he went to be hanged with as much satisfaction as though again going to be married.