"Jack Cooper The Tremendous Little Gypsy
This milling hero, a second gas-light man for tremendous execution, was born in the neighborhood of Windsor, and is about 20 years of age; In weight between 9 and 10 stone and in height about 5ft 5inches.
His first exhibition in the Prize Ring was with West Country Dick,on Epsom Downs, on Tuesday May 16th,1820, for a purse of £ 10, to make up a third fight, after Rasher and Giblet, and it was the best battle of the three.
The Gypsy introduced himself to the notice of the amateurs, and he selected Dick as a customer, having been offered his choice of several of the light weights. Cooper is well made, having a frame that almost seems to defy punishment. Dick was seconded by Randall and Clark; and Cooper by Young Brown and Abbot. It is but justice to state, that West Country Dick bad been up all night drinking, and far from being in a fit condition to fight; yet his courage would not let him refuse, and he immediately acquiesced with the proposal.
On 24 October 1820 a fight was made up in a hasty manner for a purse of 10 guineas between Paddy O'Leary & Cooper the Gypsy - betting was 6/4 on Cooper. This fight went 49 rounds & lasted 52 mins and Cooper won the contest but he was led out of the ring 'in a sad pickle'. Nevertheless it was noted that Cooper possessed such fight pre requisites that it would be a difficult job for any pugilist of his weight to conquer him.
A return with O'Leary ended in disaster with the death of the Irishman. Jack was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to six months in prison [of which he served three].
Soon after his release Jack was back in the ring: the fact that he had killed a man in the ring generated fear in his opponents with much larger crowds eager to watch the Gipsy hard man."
"To gratify the plebeians and commoners, a subscription purse of £ 25 was collected for a fight between Dick Curtis and Cooper the Gypsy. It took place in the railed hollow where the plate horses saddle, and in the hurry to encircle the field of blood, hundreds of elegant females had a peep if they chose, as they were snugly wedged in …"
"In his Romany Word-Book*, Borrow mentions the transportation of Fighting Jack Cooper, 'once the terror of all the Light Weights of the English Ring, who knocked West Country Dick to pieces, and killed Paddy O'Leary, the fighting pot-boy, Jack Randall's pet'. Jack Cooper and his brother Tom were transported under peculiar circumstances. Tom was the first to be sent away. It appears that the brothers went to a ball where, in the course of the evening, Jack 'pinched' a silver snuff-box, and without meaning any harm dropped it into his brother's pocket. Presently the snuff-box was missed by its owner, and suspicion fell upon the Gypsies. A policeman was called in, and, while conversing with Tom, offered him a pinch of snuff. As the Gypsy removed a handkerchief from his pocket, out flew the snuff-box to his great astonishment, for he was unaware of the trick played by his brother. Speedily the handcuffs were slipped upon Tom's wrists, and in due course he was brought to trial. Before the judge, Jack swore that Tom was innocent, as indeed he was, but he was nevertheless sentenced to transportation.
However, Jack's fate was not long delayed. 'Infatuated with love for his paramour,' (says Borrow),' he bore the blame of a crime which she had committed, and suffered transportation to save her." On the expiration of his lengthy term, he preferred to stay in Australia, where he made money by teaching young gentlemen the pugilistic art."
"Jack lingers and lingers in the Sonnakye Tem [Sonnakey Tem/Gold Country], golden Australia, teaching, it is said, the young Australians to box, tempted by certain shining nuggets, the produce of the golden region …
...how stoutly West Country Dick contended against Jack, though always losing; how in Jack's battle with Paddy O'Leary the Irishman's head in the last round was truly frightful, not a feature being distinguishable, and one of his ears hanging down by a bit of skin; how Jack vanquished Hardy Scroggins, whom Jack Randall himself never dared fight. Then, again, her anecdotes of Alec Reed,cool, swift-hitting Alec, who was always smiling, and whose father was a Scotchman, his mother an Irishwoman, and who was born in Guernsey; and of Oliver, old Tom Oliver, who seconded Jack in all his winning battles,..."
"Such a passion was inspired more than half a century ago by Jack Cooper, the Kurumengro Rom, or Fighting Gypsy, in a girl of his own tribe. Her name was Charlotte Lee, and it was about 1830 that Leslie, the Royal Academician, led by the fame of her beauty, painted the picture, now in New York in the possession of his sister Miss Emma Leslie, from which the engraving here given was taken. The fame of her charms still survives among her people, and when a few days ago as I write, I was talking of Charlotte to some gypsies of her kin, near Philadelphia, I was asked if I meant the Rinkeni, that is, the Beautiful one.. I have known her very well in her old age; at one time I saw her very frequently, when she lived at Bow Common. Once in conversing with Mr. George Borrow, the author of ' Lavengro', I mentioned Charlotte, when he informed me that he believed she was the only one of her people in Great Britain of pure Romany blood."
It was said of Michael Simmons, 'an old and daring offender', charged by the Police at Lambeth Street Magistrates Court with picking a Gentleman's pocket that 'While in Newgate he made a representation, through Mr. Wontner, to the Secretary of State, that he was the vperson who committed the office for which Gipsy Cooper, the pugilist, was apprehended, which turned out to be entirely false, and it was proved to have been a planned trick to exculpate Cooper, who has since been transported for life'. Morning Post, 30 December 1833.