John Marsland, Sexual Offences > rape, 17th January 1739.

Reference Number: t17390117-25
Offence: Sexual Offences > rape
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

99. John Marsland , of St Mary White-chappel , was indicted, for that he, not having God before his Eyes, &c. on the 20th of September , in, and upon Mary Marsland , Spinster, did make an Assault, and her, against her Will, wickedly, unlawfully and feloniously, did carnally know and abuse, against the Form of the Statutes , &c.

Mary Marsland. I am 13 Years old. I know the Nature of an Oath. About the 20th of September, I came out of a Service, in which I had been three Weeks, and having no where else to go, I came home. - He is my own Father; and about Ten o'Clock at Night I went to Bed, and fell asleep; he wak'd me, &c. &c. I cry'd out, and tho' he put a Handkerchief to my Mouth, yet a Boy that lay in the next Room heard me; [the Girl gave a particular Account of the Fact, and mention'd the Circumstances requisite to the Proof thereof, then she proceeded] and he gave me the foul Disease. I got up about Seven o'Clock in the Morning, and did not tell what had happen'd to any one, till about three Weeks afterwards; I was taken sick about that Time, and could neither walk nor stand; my Uncle carry'd me to a Surgeon. I lay with him one Night; for in the Morning, I went into Mansel-street, and after that I took a Lodging in the Minories, where I staid two or three Days, then I went to my Uncle's, and was taken sick at his House. I have two Uncles, my Mother's Brothers by Marriage, John Dewsberry , and John Waddiley .

Prisoner. She has been prompted on to this by my Brothers-in-Law. I am as innocent as an Angel. I might turn in my Bed, and perhaps I might turn upon her, and hurt her; I had no Handkerchief in Bed with me.

Jury-man. I think she said, she grew so ill, she could neither go nor stand, and that in three Weeks it was found out; and I think she has said, that she went to Mansel-street, and from thence to the Minories, and from thence to her Uncle's; what became of her Father all this Time?

The Girl. I was carry'd by my Uncle to a Surgeon, and told him my Father did it. I can't tell when it was I told him, but 'twas about three Weeks after. I told an Aunt of mine before

I told the Surgeon, and that was about three Weeks after the Thing was done. My Uncle then seeek'd out for my Father, but he kept out of the Way

Thomas Ranshaw . (Fifteen Years old.) About 11 o'Clock one Thursday Night (I don't remember the particular Day of the Month) I heard the Girl cry out, - don't Father, pray let me alone, &c. &c. I was at that time in Bed in the next Room, which is separated from the Prisoner's Room only by a little Partition. My Master keeps a Publick House in Petticoat-Lane, and the Prisoner lodged in the House. The next Morning, I told our Tom, the Hostler, of it, and nobody else, till it was found out; then I told the Girl's Uncle of it. The Girl's Mother and Father, and she, used to lie together, but she (the Mother) is in the Hospital now. She never lay with him alone but that one Night, neither before, nor afterwards.

The Girl. My Mother was in the Hospital then.

John Waddiley . When the Matter was made known to me, I endeavoured to bring him to Justice, and therefore took out a Warrant for him, on the 12th of October. The Fact was committed on Thursday was three Weeks before, and the first Information I had of it, was on the 10th of October, from a Chairman, that married my Wife's Sister. I thought it a henious Crime, and complained to Mr. Justice Rickets, who did not care to grant me a Warrant for the Prisoner till the Surgeon had made Affidavit of the Child's Condition. And she was in a poor Condition indeed; I asked her, if any one had meddled with her beside her Father? She told me, No. She gave me an Account that she had lain with her Father and Mother-in-law several Times, at the Goat-Alehouse, in Petticoat-Lane, but that this Night her Mother-in-Law was absent, and she lay with only her Father. This Mother-in-law was in the Hospital for the Foul Disease, which was given her by the Prisoner, as he himself owned; and she is now turned out, as incurable. When she was first seized with the Distemper, it affected her Brain, and she ran mad, and was put into Bedlam. (The Witness here repeated the Account which the Child gave him of the Commission of the Fact) When she told me all this, I went to the House where the Prisoner lodged, and was informed by the Boy that heard the Girl complain that Night, ( repeating the Words of her Complaint) I did my Endeavour to get her cured, and got her under Doctor Ward's Care, and I thought she had been well, but she is relapsed, and I have again apply'd to him. Before I could take the Prisoner, I went to (I believe) thirty different Places where he had lodged, one Night, and two Nights, and at some three, and could not find him; but at last he was taken on the very Day that Buchanan the Pyrate, was hanged; and I told him, he had been to see a much honester Man than himself go to be hanged. He had absconded about two Months.

Prisoner. I was every Day about my Business in Rosemary-lane; and I was a Fortnight at Chatham.

Charles Rag , Surgeon, gave an Account of the bad Condition the Child was in, and repeated the Account she gave him of the Commission of the Fact; (The particular Circumstances were too shocking to be exposed; though unhappy Necessity call'd for a Declaration of Truth in the solemn Proceedings of Justice.) He added, That to save Expence, he had put her under the Famous Dr. Ward's Care.

Prisoner. If she has got the Foul Disease, I am innocent; for I am a clean Man; and if she is rotten with it, I am innocent as an Angel.

Hannah Dewsberry . The Girl came to me, about a Week before Michaelmas, ill; I asked her, what was the Matter with her? She said, she could not tell. She grew worse and worse, and at last could not stir. I asked her if some nasty Person, had not meddled with her? She said, No, - if it was so, it was her Father, - (The Witness mentioned the Child's Expression) and no one had meddled with her but him.

Mr. Rickets informed the Court, That the Girl's Uncle came to him, and complained of the Prisoner's having committed a Fact so horrible and unnatural, that he was cautious of taking the Evidence; and thought, (in such a strange Case) it was proper to have some Account from a reputable Surgeon, before any Thing farther was done. That the Surgeon (who had been examined in Court) was a Man of Reputation, and he upon Oath declared in what a Condition the Girl was. That she giving him pertinent and rational Answers to his Questions, he examin'd her likewise; and she told him the whole Story, in the same Manner she had repeated it in Court, - but with more unnatural Circumstances, [Which were mentioned; particularly, That it was what all Fathers did, &c.] Mr. Rickets added, That upon hearing all this, and the Evidence of the Boy, who heard the Girl's Complaints, &c he granted a Warrant.

John Theobald , the Constable, gave an Account of his having been, with others, three Days in a Week, in Search for the Prisoner; and that tho' they frequently heard of him, yet they could not take him. But at last they found him in a House where the People deny'd him, and he had lock'd himself up; That the Prisoner deny'd the Fact when he was taken, and said he only had - &c &c.

Prisoner. When I was taken, I could have escaped if I had pleased, and as to my being locked up - I was not. And as to this Fact, I am as innocent as the Angels in Heaven, and if I die, I die innocent.

William Sparks . I keep a Publick House in Petticoat lane: The Prisoner has used my House these two or three Years. I never saw any Thing unhandsome by him.

Peter Field . I have known him some Years; I never saw but he was a civil Man. I have a youngish Wife myself, and I never observed him to touch her.

The Jury found him Guilty . Death .


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