William Lawrence, Royal Offences > seducing from allegiance, Royal Offences > seducing from allegiance, 12th April 1738.

Reference Number: t17380412-30
Offences: Royal Offences > seducing from allegiance; Royal Offences > seducing from allegiance
Verdicts: Guilty
Punishments: Death

36. William Lawrence , of St. Clement's Danes , was indicted for unlawfully and feloniously procuring John Davison , alias David Birk , a Subject of our Lord the King to enlist and enter in the Service of the King of Prussia, as a Soldier, without Leave from our Lord the King, under his Sign Manual, first had and obtained, in Contempt of the King and his Laws &c. April 1st And afterwards, on the said 1st of April , for unlawfully hiring and retaining the said Davison, alias Birk, a Subject of our Lord the King, with intent to cause him to enlist and enter himself to serve the King of Prussia, a foreign Prince, as a Soldier without Leave from our Lord the King, under his Sign Manual, &c.

He was a second Time indicted for unlawfully a a feloniously procuring John White , a Subject of our Lord the King, to enlist and enter in the Service of the King of Prussia - as above, April 1. And afterwards, on the said 1st of April, for unlawfully and feloniously hiring and retaining the said White, &c (as above)

The Council for the King open'd the Indictment, and the Nature of the Offence; then proceeded to call the Witnesses.

- Snafe. I know the Prisoner, William Lawrence ; he is a Shropshire Man. About Michaelmas last he became acquainted with me, and told me, I should be well encourag'd and rewarded, if I could get any Men for him, that were 6 Foot high or upwards, out of his Majesty's Forces, in Order to their being carry'd to Prussia. To this End he has given me Money from Time to Time; I have had 23 or 24 Shillings of him since Michaelmas last. Twice I had 2 Half-Guineas; and at another Time, I had Half-a-Crown, which makes 23 s. 6 d Some trifling Pence I have had at other Times.

Counc. Do you know Davison and White?

Snafe. Yes; here they are.

Counc. Do you remember their being in Company with the Prisoner at your House?

Snafe They were in his Company (much about the same Time that I became acquainted with him) in Windsor-Court in Drury-Lane; and they have likewise been in his Company at the House to which I remov'd, in Vinegar Yard in Guy's-Court, Drury-Lane; both Houses are in the County of Middlesex; Windsor-Court is on the other Side of Clare-Market, between Clare Market and Drury-Lane.

Counc. When were they first in his Company?

Snafe. I can't tell he Month, but 'twas before Christmas. We have been all of us in Company together several Times; and I have heard him encourage them, and seen him make them merry with Eatables and Drinking. I may express the Words I suppose - it was to encourage them to go with him to the King of Prussia, for his Service.

Counc. Was there any thing mentioned of the Time, in which they were to continue in the Prussian Service?

Snafe. Yes, he told them they must continue in the Service 3 Year; and Davison and White were to have 10 l. each [Text unreadable in original.] at Hamburgh. They were not to have the Money here for Fear they should not go with him. He would

not trust them; that was the Reason they were to be paid there.

Counc. Did you observe the Prisoner to give either of them any Money?

Snafe. Yes; I saw him give White a Shilling, of which White told me the same Instant.

Counc. What Security had they that the 10 l. should be paid them at Hamburgh?

Snafe. He gave them Notes under his Hand: I saw one of the Notes deliver'd to Davison, by the Prisoner. I saw him write it, and then deliver it. They read it to me a little while after; and the Purport of it was, that they were to receive 10 l. on their Arrival at Hamburgh.

Counc. What was the Shilling given for?

Snafe. To enlist them, I take it. - Both Davison and White read their Notes to me, I did not see him give White his Note; but I saw him deliver Davison's to him, and they were both read to me.

Counc. Should you know the Notes again if you was to see them?

Snafe. To the best of my Knowledge these are the Notes: I can't read; but I believe they are the same.

Counc. Was the Defendant present when they were read?

Snafe. No; he was not.

Counc. Does Davison go by any other Name?

Snafe. By some Title of his Brother, I have heard him call'd Birk.

Prisoner. This Witnesses's Name is not Snafe, but Senett. Pray did you hear me seduce Birk or White, to enlist into the King of Prussia's Service?

Snafe. I heard the Prisoner say he would give him 10 l. and the King of Prussia, and his Service, was named several Times.

Counc. Do you know any thing of the Defendant's delivering colour'd Cloaths to Davison and White?

Snafe. Yes; I saw him deliver a Snuff-colour'd Coat to White, in my House. This is the Coat he deliver'd to him; and I saw him likewise deliver this other Coat to John Davison . These Cloaths were to disguise them, when they went on board, lest they should be discover'd in their Regimentals. They were to go on board last Saturday was a Fortnight, at Night; and he then gave them the Cloaths at my House, about 7 or 8 o'Clock that Evening. The Notes were given by the Prisoner the Day before.

Prisoner. Have not you and I quarrell'd of late?

Snafe. No; he us'd to be angry sometimes with me, and would tell me, that I neglected what he encouraged me to do, and did not get him tall Men.

Prisoner. Have not you declar'd you would be reveng'd of me?

Snafe. No.

John Davison, otherwise Brik. About the latter End of September, I became acquainted with the Prisoner; We met him at Snafe's House, in Windsor-Court , where he desir'd my Comerade and I to come and drink a Bowl of Punch with him. Snafe and his Wife were present at the same Time.

Counc. Did the Defendant propose any thing about your going beyond Sea?

Davison. Yes; he desir'd me several Times to see if I could get him any Men, 6 Feet high, or more; and said, when they got to Hamburgh, they should be encourag'd and rewarded. He spoke to my Comerade, White, upon the same Account, and desir'd me to keep him in the same Mind; for he had consented to go.

Counc. Did he propose your going too?

Davison. Yes; I was to go with them, but was to come back again; tho' this was only a Pretence; for at the latter End of the Time, he gave me a Note of 10 l. as well as White, for my 3 Years Service in the King of Prussia's Service, in his Guards. This was on the 30th of March.

Counc. Produce the Note.

Davison. This is the Note the Prisoner wrote, and deliver'd to me. I set my Mark to it, after I deliver'd it to Colonel Williamson.

Counc. How came this Note to be made payable to David Birk ?

Davison. I have a Brother by half Blood, of this Name, in Ireland, and most People that know him, call me by his Sur-name. His Name is Toby Birk . The David Birk, that is mentioned in the Note, is intended for my Name, and means me. They always call'd me John Birk, except when I was at the Barracks, and then he call'd me Davison. He gave me the Note in the Name of David Birk.

Counc. What farther was done in Order to your going beyond Sea?

Davison. He contriv'd so far, that my Comerade and I were to go away the first of April. We were to go down to Gravesend with the Evening Tide, and he gave us colour'd Cloaths to go off in. After he had given us the Cloaths, he went down to St. Catherine's, to learn what Time the Hamburgh Ship was to sail, in which we were to be put; and he brought us Word, that the Ship would sail that Tide, and that we must go down to Gravesend that Afternoon. This is the Coat and

Wastecoat he gave me to disguise myself in, that I might not be known to be a Soldier. I put the Cloaths on, but I discover'd the Design in the Morning to Serjeant Philips, and desir'd him to carry one of the Notes to Colonel Williamson, who came with some Men to Billingsgate: where the Colonel heard him say to us, - If you have either Honour or Honesty, come away directly; because we had promis'd to go along with him. I had one Shilling of him at first, a second he gave me to carry my Comerade White, and a third he gave me one Night, when I was a little longer than ordinary upon Guard.

Counc. Was you present at any Time when any Conversation pass'd between him and White, in Relation to his going into the Service of the King of Prussia.

Davison. Yes; White was to have so much a Week in the King of Prussia's Guards, nine Shillings per Week, and ten Pounds as soon as he landed at Hamburgh; this was his Promise to White, I don't say he promised the same to me.

Councel. Was you present when the Prisoner wrote the Promissory Note which he gave to White?

Davison. White had his Note given by the Prisoner before I had mine. I saw him write White's, the whole Note was of the Prisoner's own Hand-writing. I saw him write and deliver them both.

The Notes were read.

LONDON, March 30, 1738.

"I promise to pay to David Birk, or order, for "Value received, the Sum of Ten Pounds, as "soon as he is arrived in the City of Hamburgh; "and it is his own Will and Proposal, for three "Years Service in the King of Prussia's Guards. By Me,

WILLIAM LAWRENCE.

LONDON, March 30, 1738.

" I promise to pay to John White , or order for " Value received, the Sum of Ten Pounds, as " soon as he arrives at the City of Hamburgh; " and according to his own Will and Proposal, " to enter into the King of Prussia's Service for " three Years.

WILLIAM LAWRENCE .

Davison. Both these Notes were given us by the Prisoner, at the Bull-Head, in Peter-Street, Clare-Market.

John White . I have known the Prisoner since Michaelmas last; the very first Time of my being in his Company, was upon the Business of entering into the King of Prussia's Guards; upon this Account he daily treated me with Victuals and Drink, and was always reflecting upon his Majesty's Service, telling me it was poor sorry Bread, and what rare Things were to be done in Prussia, but nothing under six Foot would do for him, una every Man that was so much above six Foot high, should have so much the more Pay.

Councel. How many Meetings had you before you took the Notes?

White. Several; we met twenty or thirty Times I believe, but about the latter End of March we made the Agreement, and for our Encouragement he gave us Notes on the 30th of March, for ten Pounds payable when we got to Hamburgh, and we were to go aboard the next Day. He told us he had got Provisions on board, and all Things proper, if we would proceed to the Vessel. In order to disguise me he gave me a colour'd Coat, which I kept and have brought hither; he gave Davison Cloaths likewise, I saw him fit them upon him, and we were to have gone aboard the 1st of April, at 8 o'Clock at Night, but I gave Information to my Serjeant in the Morning, and he went to Colonel Williamson, who sent a Guard from the Tower, and he was taken and carried before the Colonel.

Councel. Who writ the Notes?

White. The Prisoner.

Councel. Because 'tis said in them, - that 'tis your own Will and Proposal.

White. We told him so to carry on the Scheme, and to find out his Roguery; but he writ the Notes himself, and delivered them in my Presence. This is the very Note the Prisoner gave to me.

Prisoner. Was you never deluded by Birk and Sennett to go abroad with them to Germany or France? And did not they tell you they had been in Foreign Service before?

White. Davison and I intrigued all along in order to catch the Prisoner, and Birk spoke to me several Times on that Head, but between him and I he told me he had no Mind to go, nor should I go. We shew'd a Disposition to go that we might deceive and detect him.

Prisoner. Did not Sennet (Snafe) say he had a Disposition of Spight against me, concerning his Wife?

White, No, never in this World, nor Davison neither.

John Philips . (Serjeant.) Davison and White are Soldiers in our Regiment. On the first of April, White came and enquired for Captain Parker, but he not being in the Way, his Servant came for me, and White told me that the Prisoner was going to carry him to Prussia, with his Comrade. He gave me the Ten Pound Note which the Prisoner had given him, and I carried it to Colonel Williamson. This is the very Note, I read it over and over, and have had it in my Pocket a Day or two. Colonel Williamson, when the Prisoner was before him, shewed him the Note, and he took hold of one End of it, but before he would let it go again, the Colonel was forced to hold a Candle to his Fingers. He was asked, what was the Reason of his giving those Notes? at first he would not resolve him, but afterwards he said the Men obliged him to it.

Colonel Williamson. The Prisoner was brought before me in the Evening the 1st of April. This Serjeant came to me with one of these Notes, and told me what Design was going forwards, that a Man had enlisted two Grenadiers for the King of Prussia's Service. The Note I saw was full and distinct, therefore I thought it was very proper to look after this Fellow. The Serjeant told me the Men were to go away at 8 o'Clock that Evening, but they were honest and had given him this Information. He asked for a few Men that they might go and take him; I told him, I not only would let him have Men, but I would go with them myself; so I took a Serjeant and a File of Musquetteers, and planted them in the dark at Billingsgate, where they were to take Water.

After we had waited some little Time, Davison came and told us, the Prisoner would be there presently, for his Time was come; he had then this brown Coat on, which has been produced here. About 8 o'Clock I perceived the Guard running, I pursued and caught him, just as they overtook him near Thomas-street by Billingsgate. When he was before me, both the Notes were produced, and I asked some Questions about them, he humm'd and haw'd, and said they were a Parcel of Rogues. But, says I, here are Notes (and shewing him one) is this your Hand-Writing? Let me see it, says he; I would not part with it out of my Hand, but I let him take hold of one End of the Note, and asked him again, if that was his Writing? He would make no answer, so I bid him let go the Note; he would not let it go, therefore I was forced to put the Candle to his Hand, and when he felt the Flame he quitted his Hold. On this full Evidence I committed him to Newgate.

Councel. Was it before or after this, that he said she was obliged to give the Men these Notes

Serjeant Philips. It was after the Colonel had got the Note out of his Hand While we waited for the Prisoner at Billingsgate, I heard a Man say, - Now, if you have either Honour or Honesty, come along. I thought this must be the Man, so we all endeavour'd to take him, but he took to his Heels and run up a little Lane towards Thames-Street, the Guard ran after him, and somebody running against him threw him down; before he could get up again we took him.

DEFENCE.

Prisoner. I have fourteen or fifteen Witnesses to prove that Birk and Sennett have sent Men abroad these three Years, and that I did not instigate them to do this Thing.

Patrick M'Cauly . I live in Sennet's (Snafe's) House, and have seen Davison and White with Lawrence eating and drinking there. Snafe kept the House, - we call him Sennett. I never knew the Prisoner encourage a Man, but Sennett employ'd me once, - with Submission to your Lordship and the Honourable Jury, I am a Taylor, and he employ'd me to alter an old Suit of Cloaths once, and they were to be done against 6 o'Clock in the Evening, and he said I should be paid. When they were done, I carry'd them down to Sennett in the Kitchen, the Prisoner was there, but he did not employ me. Sennett helped the Cloaths upon Birk's Back, and White asked for a Room up-stairs to dress himself in.

Counc. Have not you seen Lawrence the Prisoner there, in Company with Davison and White, when they were eating and drinking?

M'Cauly Not together. - I have seen them together, but I don't know whether they were in the same Company; I don't know whether they join'd Company; - there are several Seats in the Kitchen. When White ask'd for a Room to dress himself in, Snafe cry'd, - Bl - d and W - ds, take the Key of the Cellar, and dress yourself there. This was about a Fortnight ago, but I did not (cannot) mention the Day.

Counc. Recollect whether the Prisoner was there.

M'Cauly. I believe he was. - I am not sure. - To the best of my Knowledge I saw him there. - I am not sure - I can't say directly he was there.

Counc. Did you hear any thing of the Reason why the Cloaths were sitted on the Soldiers?

M'Cauly. I don't know, - but I smelt something, and Snafe said I should get 5 Guineas, if I

could procure a tall Man. I brought one Henry Carpenter to his House, and Snafe measur'd him, - he measur'd 6 Feet high in his Shoes. Carpenter told him, he could bring him another Man, taller than himself, and Snafe said, they would do very well together; but Carpenter did not like his Face, so he came no more to him.

Nathan Riley . I am a Peruke-maker, and seeing the Prisoner frequently in Snafe's House, I got acquainted with him, and have known them to have several Quarrels, which as far as I understood, were from Jealousy of his Wife. Once I met him, and he told me, that the Prisoner and his own Wife had abus'd him, and he was going to swear against him. I have heard Snafe often say, he would be even with him, by Night or by Day, and that he would be one upon his Taw, swearing bloody Oaths. I have heard the Prisoner warn Davison from keeping Snafe Company, and tell him, that he (Snafe) was a spunging, lurking Companion It was entirely out of jealousy, and there was an Uneasiness between them. Snafe and Davison deserted out of France.

Patrick Riley . My Wife and Snafe's Wife are Brother and Sister's Children. Snafe has often complained to me about the Prisoner, that he had kept his Wife out, and that he would be even with him. The Prisoner and he have had Words together upon the same Occasion; and he (Snafe) has told the Prisoner, he would be reveng'd of him if he sold himself to the Devil.

Counc. Do you know one Birmingham?

Riley. Yes; several.

Counc. But do you know that Birmingham that was in Newgate?

Riley Yes; I knew him at Clerkenwell; he is a Turner, a noted Man.

Counc. Was that he who was in Newgate?

Riley No; I never knew any Birmingham in Newgate. This Day Fortnight, (the Beginning of April) I was at Work, and the Prisoner came and told me, he was going out of Town. He ow'd me some Money, so went to Snafe's House to settle. This was about 7 o'Clock in the Evening, and they were going to light Candles; the Prisoner told me he was going out of Town.

Counc. And did not you wonder at his going out of Town at 7 o'Clock at Night?

Riley While I was there, he said to a Porter that was with him, - Come let us go, - we shall be too late. I don't want any Body to come; if they don't come, I won't stay. The Porter had something in his Apron, but I don't know what. Lawrence and I had a Pot of Beer in the Entry; I took a Drink, and he went away down Russel-Court.

William Connor . I never saw the Prisoner before in my Life; but I know Birk, (or Davison:) I enter'd with him on board the Windsor Man of War, as a Land-man. I was sick on board, and was sent to St. Thomas's. From thence I went to Newtoner's Lane, where Birk lodg'd, and I lay with him 3 or 4 Nights; this was 3 Years ago last Winter. While I lay with him, I had the soul Disease, and he advised me to go to France for a Cure; telling me that Soldiers were punish'd here for the least Fault, but there they are punish'd for nothing but stealing.

Birk, alias Davison. I don't know that ever I saw this Man in all my Life.

Connor. And I never saw the Prisoner in all my Life.

Margaret Riley . I am Riley's the (Shoemaker's) Wife, and heard Snafe say, he had dogg'd his Wife to an Alehouse with the Prisoner; that he would be reveng'd of him by Night or by Day; and would not sleep 'till he had him in Irons. Snafe is my Relation, - I should not hurt him, - but he said he had got these Men, Davison and White, and would oblige the Prisoner to give them his Note, to get them on the other side the Water; and as the Prisoner was an Englishman, not an Irishman, the 2 Men would trust him. 'Tis all thro' Jealousy this is done. Snafe told me farther, that he was to go along with the Prisoner, and the 2 Men; and when they got on the other side, Snafe was to pay the Prisoner again.

Mary Sennett , otherwise Snafe. I am that Man's (Snafe's) Wife; and I was going one Day last Week, - I can't remember the Day, - thro' Vinegar Yard, and meeting Davison, he and I went to the Thistle and Crown; I ask'd him how he could be so vile, as to do such a Thing as this against the Prisoner? he told me, He was heartily sorry for it; and if I could raise Snafe and him a Guinea, they would both go out of the Kingdom; for, said he, I am loth to have a Hand in the Blood of the Innocent; and I would not have done it, had not I been persuaded to it. The Prisoner and Davison have often been at my House.

Counc. You say the Prisoner and Davison, and White, have often been in Company together at your House?

Sennett. No; never but once. I sell Ale, and a Glass of Two-penn; but when White was with them, they had a Bowl of Punch; I believe that was a Month ago. Another Time, White and Davison, and Sennett, were at my House, (but Lawrence

was not there then) and White complained of his being affronted in the Barracks, by the Corporal; and before he would live such a Life, and be call'd Irish Villain, he would go any where. They both said, they would rather serve the Turk than K. G - .

Counc. Do you know any Thing of the Prisoner's preparing to go abroad a Fortnight ago?

Sennett. Yes; and I remember his being at our House that Night. Patrick Riley and he drank at the Door; there was a Porter with him, and he was in haste to be gone. - I have one thing more about Birk. - About a Month ago he told me, that my Husband and he had been abroad, and says he to me, if you knew the Nature of foreign Countries you would go too; and if you will pretend to be a Protestant, and will turn Roman, you will make a Purse of Money. I ask'd Patrick M'Cauly about it, and he said he got 55 l. by this Means, before he got to Rome.

Francis Gibbon . About 5 or 6 Months ago, I heard Sennett and his Wife disputing, because he had flung up his Pay, that he might get Men for the K. of Prussia.

Glynn Bray . I was one Day at Sennett's House, to drink a Glass of Gin, my Wife was with me; and she and I falling out, Sennett cry'd to me, G - d d - n it, come along to France, and I will provide for you. When you are got to France, I'll provide a better Master for you than ever you had in your Life. I am a Gentleman's Servant, and came out of Place about a Month ago; but I was afraid he would sell me like a Cow or a Horse, so I avoided the Fellow's Company.

Patrick M'Cauly I have been in the French Service myself, Sennett was a Trooper there, and Birk was a Soldier.

Eliz. Davis. I know nothing but - I'm upon Oath, and will speak Truth. Last Saturday was se'enight I met this Man Sennett in the Street, and he told me his Wife was gone to Lawrence in Newgate, and that he would be reveng'd on them both. I told him it was a vile thing in him to take such Exceptions, and swear so. G - d d - n it, says he, I wou'd not wish for a Million of Money that I was concern'd in the Action, for bringing this upon Lawrence. I had but very little Acquaintance with Sennett, and had not known him long; but he said he was sorry he had done the Thing.

Michael Luttuych . If I was to dye this Moment, it will be my Opinion, this Contrivance is owing to Sennett's Jealousy. Sometime ago he came and demanded to talk to me about Lawrence's having us'd him ill; and he said his Wife was a Bitch. I cannot say I know any thing ill of Sennett; but I believe this Affair proceeds from pure Jealousy.

Counc. But do you think that Birk, (Davison) and White, who have no Wives to be jealous of, would work themselves up, and perjure themselves, because Sennett is jealous?

Luttwyel. As to that I can't say. Birk must degenerate very much from that noble Family in Ireland, to which he is related, if he does so

Col. Williamson. That very Man, under his own Hand, recommended Birk as a very honest Man.

Counc. - to Mary Sennett. Look upon that Coat and Wastcoat.

Sennett. I bought them myself of M'Cauly The other Coat I know nothing of; but I saw Sennett give it to White, and heard him bid White go down into the Cellar and put it on.

Counc. Don't you know your Husband had Money, upon this Account, from the Prisoner?

Sennett. I know of no more than 2 Half-Guineas, and that Money I sent my Husband to ask him for. - 'Twas part of a Debt of 5 Guineas which he ow'd me. As to the Cloaths, they had been in the House before; my Husband dusted them, and the 2 Men put them on, while the Prisoner stood at the Door; and they 3 went away half an Hour before the Prisoner.

Counc. Did not you hear the Prisoner say - Come make haste, we shall be too late?

Sennett. No; only - Come let us go.

Thomas Hanning . Never heard of the Prisoner's being concern'd in Affairs of this Kind before.

Capt. Carr. Gave an Account of the Behaviour of Davison and White as Soldiers, and said he believ'd them to be very honest Men.

Snafe, alias Sennett. What the Witnesses have sworn, with Relation to my saying the Prisoner was Innocent, and to my being sorry for being concerned in this Prosecution, is all false upon my Oath. I may have said I would be even with him to my Comerade, but it was because he often abus'd me for not getting him Men. I never had a Word with him in my Life about my Wife. He himself left the Cloaths with me, for Davison and White, and he put them on them himself. I would not forswear my self for the World.

The Jury found the Prisoner Guilty . Death .


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