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The Story of the Lunar Rogue

Chained and shackled in a bare cell, 22 by 16 feet, with only one 4 by 5 inch window, Henry More Smith’s disposition changed dramatically. Up to now, despite his repeated attempts to escape, he had remained docile and co-operative but on November 16, 1814, the Sheriff found the prisoner in a foul temper, threatening to burn the jail down. Loose again, he had broken one padlock and had knocked much of the plaster off one wall by lashing at it repeatedly with his chains. Although there was little chance Henry could escape, the Sheriff took out some insurance.

The following is the Sheriff’s own description of the measures he took to secure the prisoner.

“I then prepared a pair of steel fetters, case hardened, about 10 inches long, which we put on his legs, with a chain from the middle, 7 feet long, which we stapled to the floor; we also put an iron collar about his neck, with a chain about 8 feet long, stapled also to the floor in a direction opposite to the other; and also a chain from his fetters to the neck collar, with handcuffs bolted to the middle of his chain in such a manner as to prevent his hands reaching his head and feet when standing, leaving it just possible for him to feed himself when sitting. In this situation we left him, loaded with irons, the entire weight of which was forty-six pounds, and without anything to sit or lie upon but the naked floor.”

The Sheriff could be forgiven if he felt a bit smug as he left Henry’s cell, but the Lunar Rogue was not finished with Bates just yet.