Apr 23, 2008

Wild's Maxims

During the 18th century, Jonathan Wild (1682-1725) was perhaps the most famous criminal of Great Britain. While he was the nation’s leading policeman, he organized a gang of theives to steal valuables and return them as ‘recovered items’ after the stories broke and rewards were offered. Wild would collect these rewards, and cut in the theives for a portion of the profits. Wild also made common practice of arresting members of rival gangs as theives. He manipulated the press and the nation's fears to become the most loved public figure of the 1720s – but this love turned to hate when his villainy was exposed. He was convicted and hanged in 1725.

Here are some of the maxims that guided the notorious Jonathan Wild:
  • Never do more mischief than is absolutely necessary for success.
  • Never forgive an enemy.
  • Foment [Promote] jealousies in your gang.
  • A good man, like money, must be risked in speculation.
  • Keep hatred concealed in the heart, but wear the face of a friend.
  • Know no distinction, but let self-interest be the one principle of action.
  • Counterfeit virtues are as good as real ones, for few know paste from diamonds.

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