Colonel Jacque, called Colonel Jack, an adventurer who commits many misdeeds. An illegitimate child, he is given to a nurse who dies when Jack is but ten years old. Having to fend for himself, Jack the waif becomes a successful though sometimes conscience-stricken pickpocket. He is tossed by fate into the American Colonies and becomes an indentured servant on a plantation, where he becomes a successful and kindly overseer of slaves. When freed from his period of indenture, he becomes a landowner in Virginia. Leaving his plantation in the hands of his faithful overseer, he returns to England and marries. Unfortunate in love, he attacks his wife’s lover and flees to France to become a professional soldier, fighting with the French against his countrymen. After another sojourn in Virginia and many adventures, he finally repents of his life of crime and violence, seeks a pardon from the English crown, and settles down in England, persuaded that only the goodness of God has saved him. He hopes that his life story will make other persons repent of their sins and become good Christians.
Captain Jack, Colonel Jack’s thoroughly evil foster brother. He is a witty, intelligent rogue who introduces Jack to the picking of pockets. Captain Jack rebels against indentured servitude, flees to England to resume his criminal life, and is at last hanged as a common criminal.
Will, a pickpocket and a partner in crime of Colonel Jack. Will is a vicious man who murders as well as robs. Will’s hanging at Newgate Prison saddens Colonel Jack, even though he knows the punishment is deserved.
Jack’s First Wife
Jack’s First Wife, an unfaithful woman, as well as a gambler and spendthrift. She turns up years later as an indentured servant and a repentant woman. She and Colonel Jack are remarried and live happily for many years in their old age.
Jack’s Second Wife
Jack’s Second Wife, the daughter of an Italian innkeeper, who is unfaithful to her husband.
Jack’s Third Wife
Jack’s Third Wife, a beautiful and virtuous woman who becomes a drunkard and finally commits suicide. By her, Colonel Jack has three children.
Jack’s Fourth Wife
Jack’s Fourth Wife, an older woman who provides Jack with a pleasant home and is good to his children. She dies after a fall.