The art of relieving men of their money
In spite of their low status in society many female criminals were able to fight the system, and win.
If women in London in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries sought the perfect crime in which to participate. Selecting and receiving stolen goods provided excellent opportunities for profit and little chance of punishment. Low conviction rates, combined with the fact that women did not have to pretend to be something else, but could be themselves, made dealing in stolen goods relatively easy for women in the large cities.
The Old Bailey
Charlotte was arrested for stealing at least once a year between 1781 and 1794, but only twice more thereafter, in January 1798 and December 1799. However, between April 1794 and October 1799 she was arrested for being a disorderly person on at least six separate occasions and committed to Tothill Fields Bridewell or Middlesex House of Correction. As she was now in her forties, she may have found it harder to attract customers. London Lives
Her Final Trial
In January 1800 Charlotte was found guilty at the Old Bailey for the first time and was sentenced to death. In the Criminal Register for February 1798 she is described as “a very old offender” who “has been tried several times”.
Charlotte’s death sentence was commuted to transportation for life. She boarded a ship, the Nile, which set sail in June 1801 for New South Wales, arriving in Sydney on 14 December 1801. With the shortage of women in the colony, even Charlotte was able to find a skilled craftsman to live with. He was 14 years her junior, so her final years were probably more comfortable than her final decade in London.
She died in Sidney in November 1806 at the age of 52
Criminal Lives | Exploring London
Forty years of crime in London (Journal) Robert B. Shoemaker
The Newgate Calendar