Robert Cunningham*, Royal Offences > tax offences, 7th September 1748.

Reference Number: t17480907-38
Offence: Royal Offences > tax offences
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

427. + Robert Cunningham*, otherwise Cullingham , the younger, late of Wingfield, in the county of Suffolk , labourer , was indicted for that he, with divers other malefactors, disturbers of the peace of the kingdom, to wit, to the number of 40 persons, or more, (whose names are unknown) after the 24th day of July, in the 19th year of his Majesty's reign, to wit, on the 10th day of March in the 20th year of his Majesty's reign , did, at Horsey , in the county of Norfolk , with fire-arms, and other offensive weapons, riotously, unlawfully, and feloniously, assemble themselves together, in order to be aiding and assisting in running, landing, and carrying away uncustomed good, and goods liable to pay duties which had not been paid or secured ; in defiance and contempt of the King and his laws, to the evil example of all others, against the peace of the King, his crown and dignity, and against the form of the Statute in that case made and provided.

* He was tried last Sessions for not surrendering himself, according to the Act of Parliament, and acquitted.

Coun. for the Crown. I am counsel for the King against the prisoner at the bar, and his charge is , being assembled, with divers other persons, to the number of 40, at Horsey , in the county of Norfolk, in order to be aiding and assisting in running and landing uncustomed goods, &c.

Gentlemen, on the 10th of March, 1746. one Bailey, who kept a coffee-house in Yarmouth , had occasion to go to Horsey , and there was a gang of smuglers there, and they expected their cutter, and thought he came as a spy; and they went to one Manning's house, where this Bailey was, and whipp'd Bailey in a cruel manner; then they brought him out of Manning's house, and carried him into the church-yard, and brought out a caseknife , and told him they would cut his throat if he did not answer all the questions they asked him: and they asked him what he came there for; he said he came to see his acquaintance Manning: and they tied a rope about his neck, and almost strangled him, and tied him up to an arm of a tree, and left him almost dead. And the next step they took to get this man to shew his great thanks to them was, that they made him down on his knees, and thank them for not hanging him; and made him swear damnation to his soul if he revealed what they did; and then they let him go. And they took him into custody again the next day, but they did not treat him so ill as they did before. But, gentlemen, you must consider, that he was in very great terror; and this man having been treated as a spy without foundation, he thought, as I have been treated so ill, now I will see what these people are about; and he very cunningly pretended to be going another way; and he followed them so close , as to see what was going forward; and he saw a gang, to the number of 40 or 50, running and landing of goods; and he says the prisoner at

the bar, Robert Cunningham , was one of them. And I hope, gentlemen, if we prove the prisoner to be one of those persons, you will do your duty in bringing this person to condign punishment; and that if we prove these things to be true , you will find the prisoner guilty.

Abraham Bailey sworn.

Co. for the Crown. Where did you live in March 1746?

Bailey. At Yarmouth in Norfolk.

Q. Was you at Horsey that Month?

Bailey. I was there on the tenth of March.

Q. Was you the next day at Horsey beach ?

Bailey. Yes, and the gentleman at the bar; I did not know whether his name was William or Robert Cunningham , but I saw him at Horsey-beach on the eleventh, and he was in Manning's house when I was used so ill, and I saw a gang of smugglers the next day on the beach, and the prisoner was there: there were about forty of them.

Q. Was he armed?

Bailey. Yes, he was on horseback, with a pair of pistols before him.

Q. Were they all armed?

Bailey. I can't tell.

Q. Were there three armed?

Bailey. Yes.

Q. Was there a cutter came in there?

Bailey. Yes.

Q. Was there any goods landed out of her?

Bailey. Yes.

Q. What goods were landed?

Bailey. There were oil-skin bags, which, I suppose, had tea in them; and casks, which they commonly run brandy in.

Q. Are these bags the usual package for tea?

Bailey. It was the way I always saw it when I was a custom-house officer.

Q. What quantity of tea do those bags hold?

Bailey. About 25 pounds weight.

Q. What quantity do these casks hold?

Bailey. About four gallons and an half, or five gallons; and they all loaded their horses.

Pris. Coun . What time was this?

Bailey. Between one and two in the afternoon .

Q. Had he his pistols in his hand?

Bailey. No; he had them before him, in something that they put them into.

Q. Did you know this Cunningham before?

Bailep . I did not know him before that time.

Q. Did you ask him his name?

Bailey . I asked him if his name was Cunningham , and he said, yes.

Q. Now I would ask you whether you did not ask him his christian name?

Bailey. I don't know that I did.

John Leader sworn.

Co. for the Crown. Was you at Horsey, or on Horsey-beach , in the month of March 1746.

Leader. I was there in March 1746.

Q. What day of March was it?

Leader . I think, as near as I can guess, it was about the middle-day.

Q. What did you do there?

Leader. I was servant to one Samuel Fox , and he sent me for four tubs of brandy.

Q. Did you see any smugglers there?

Leader. There were a great number of people.

Q. How many do you think?

Leader. About thirty .

Q. Were they all armed?

Leader. There were a great many armed.

Q. What were they employed about?

Leader. They were waiting for the cutter's coming in with tea and brandy; and the cutter came in the next day: then the company went down, and said they had used Mr. Bailey very barbarously; and they said they had whipp'd him till they thought they had almost kill'd him, and then hung him up over the arm of a tree, till they thought they had kill'd him.

Q. What goods did you see landed?

Leader . Oil skin bags with tea , and casks with brandy.

Q. How do you know there were tea in those bags?

Leader. Because I saw some of the tea fall out, and I tasted some of the brandy.

Q. Did you know the taste of brandy?

Leader . Yes, to be sure.

Q. Did you see the prisoner there?

Leader . Yes.

Q. Are you sure the prisoner is the person?

Leader. Yes, I am sure; for I have known him several years.

Q. Had he any arms?

Leader . Yes; he had a brace of pistols stuck into a girdle by his side, on the same day; and I saw him go down with his arms.

Q. Did he load any goods?

Leader. I saw him load a load of goods upon his horse.

Q. Are you sure the prisoner had fire arms?

Leader . Yes, or I am not alive here.

Pris. Coun. Had he his pistols in his hand?

Leader . They were stuck in his girdle.

Thomas Kimmings sworn .

Co. for the Crown. Was you upon Horsey-beach the 11th of March, 1746?

Kimmings . I was not upon the Beach, I was upon the Hill, and I saw a gang of smugglers; and I saw 44 Horses, and several people armed.

Q. Could you distinguish any of them, their persons?

Kimmings . No; I was not near enough to distinguish them.

Q. Did you see Mr. Bailey that day?

Kimmings. Yes; and I saw the mark of the rope round his neck, and the blood was set; and there were the marks of the rope about his Wrists.

Guilty Death .


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