John Smith, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 4th December 1760.

Reference Number: t17601204-15
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Not Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death

16. (M.) John Smith , was indicted for that he, on Robert Scholey , on the king's highway, did make an assault, puting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person two guineas, one half guinea, and one silver watch, value 4 l. his property and against his will , Sept. 30 .*

Robert Scholey. I live at a place called Little Thurock in Essex. I am a grazier . On Tuesday evening, the 30th of September last, I was returning from London. I set out from the Bull in Whitechapel, about 20 minutes after 9 at night, on horseback; about 20 yards, more or less, on the other side Bancroft's alms-houses . I past the prisoner at the bar. I believe it to be him.

Q. What makes you believe it to be him?

Scholey. Because my watch was found in his pocket.

Q. Was it moon-light?

Scholey. No, it was dark.

Q. What size man was it that you past?

Scholey. I described his coat, and the man, very near the prisoner, before I saw him.

Q. Was you in the high road?

Scholey. Yes.

Q. Was the man on horseback?

Scholey. Yes, I overtook and past him.

Q. What time of the night?

Scholey. This might be about half an hour past nine. I had a suspicion when I past him that he was upon some ill design, After I had past him I pull'd in. I was upon a young colt, upon a trot, at about 7 or 8 miles an hour. I did not think of seeing him more. I believe about 40 or 50 rods beyond where I passed him he came galloping, he on one side the road and I was on the other; when he got opposite me he pulled in?

Q. Did you observe how he was dressed?

Scholey. He was in no sort of disguise: he had a loose horseman's coat hung down halfway his boots. When he got opposite me, (the road is pretty wide) he unbuttoned the top part of his great coat and pulled out a pistol.

Q. How wide is the road?

Scholey. It is about 6 rods wide. I saw it before, it shone very bright, but when he turned and came up to me I was certain it was a pistol. He demanded my money, or he would blow my brains out, or words to that effect, and presented the pistol to me. I told him I had but very little money; he said, if I made a word he'd blow my brains out. I pull'd out two guineas and a half and a shilling, and gave it him: and went to turn off to go home. Whether he swore or not, he expressed himself in some odd manner; If I did not immediately give him my watch he would blow my brains out. I begg'd very hard for my watch, but he insisted upon having it; I gave it him. Then he asked me if I had any more money; I said no. I went to turn away, and my young colt ran against him, he asked we what I meant by that, and said, if I did not immediately go off he'd blow my brains out, and turned after me with his pistol in his hand. I had much ado to get my colt at first to go from him.

Q. how far did he ride after you?

Scholey. I am not certain how far; it may be twenty rod, or not so much; then he turned back again, and I rode forward.

Q. How long might he be with you?

Scholey. I quere whether he was not two minutes; he was some time in getting my watch and money.

Q. did you see his face?

Scholey. No. I saw nothing of his face; I believe he had nothing over it.

Q. Look at the prisoner well, and tell the court your belief.

Scholey. I believe him to be the very man, by his head of hair, no otherwise. I described him to have his own hair, turned up at the ends. I do not swear he is the man.

Q. Have you ever seen him since?

Scholey. Yes.

Q. What do you say to the prisoner's voice? you have heard him speak.

Scholey. I knew his voice as soon as ever I went into Newgate. I was asked if I knew the man; I said, I knew his voice more than any thing else, but I will not swear to him by his voice. I believe it to be him; and I believe I could swear it very safely.

Q. Did you go immediately home when he left you?

Scholey. I went as far as the Rising-sun, in Stratford parish, and lay there all night; in the morning I went to Rumford-market, where a cornfactor inform'd me, that a highwayman was taken in Whitechapel, and he believed a cheesemonger in Whitechapel was at the taking him.

Q What day was this?

Scholey. I was robbed on Tuesday evening, and this was the Wednesday, the day following. I took my horse and went to London, there I enquired what justice committed him to Newgate. I found it was justice Pell; I went with Mr. Pell to Newgate, and saw the prisoner in

the tap house. Mr. Pell had given me my watch in my pocket. The justice ask'd the prisoner if he knew me or no His reply was, It is a very odd question for you to ask me; how is it possible for me to know a man that I never saw in the days of my breath. Mr. Pell ask'd me for the watch, then he said to the prisoner, Do you know this watch? he answered, Yes; Mr. Pell said, How came you by it, he answered, he bought it of a man in New-England, or New-York, and he could describe him, he wore his own hair, and that is as black as a coal; Mr. Pell said. Can't you tell his name? He said, It is time enough to prove that in court, and how he came by it.

Q. Did any thing pass between Mr. Pell and the prisoner, as to Mr. Pell's coming into the possession of the watch?

Scholey. No.

Q. Do you know, of your own knowledge, how Mr. Pell came into the possession of it?

Scholey. No; here are people in court can give an account of that. [The watch produced in court and deposed to.]

Q. How long have you had it?

Scholey. I have had it I believe three years. I question whether there are three watches like it in London.

Q. What is the seal?

Scholey. It is a brown chrystal, set in silver. I know it to be my own, this is the very watch and seal I had taken from me that night.

Richard Tipler . I, being an officer, was sent for to take the prisoner at the bar.

Q. When was this?

Tipler. It is two months ago or better. They had beset the house; I went in and up two pair of stairs. On the first pair I ask'd the woman of the house, (who goes by the name of Kitty) If there was any man there; she said no; then, on the next pair of stairs, there was a woman just got out of bed; I said, Have you any body belonging to you here? she said, no. There were two closets, I opened one of the doors, there stood the prisoner at the bar, I laid hold of his hands. He had a huntsman's great coat on, and this whip in his hand, (producing a small hand-whip) with boots and spurs on. Thomas Sherman said, That is the man, and gave me charge of him.

Q. Whereabouts is this house?

Tipler. It is in Dark's-alley, Whitechapel.

Q. What was he charged with?

Tipler. Sherman charged him with stopping and robbing him near Mile-end.

Q. Did the prisoner hear that?

Tipler. I dare say he did. Then I ordered Sherman to assist me, for fear he should shoot me.

Q. What did the prisoner say?

Tipler. He said, What are you going to do with me? are you going to rob me? Then he said, I thought you were going to get a warrant for me for a new suit of cloaths of 6. which I owe. I searched him, and found a powder-horn with powder in it. [Produced in court.] Sherman said he was sure there was a pistol; the prisoner said, No, there was not. then we went down stairs; the woman of the house, upon being asked, said, The man brought in a pistol; then the man of the house went below stairs and brought up a pistol; where he had it I know not. I asked the prisoner, If that was his pistol; he said, he would tell that when he came before the justice. I carried him before justice Pell, there I ask'd him, whether there was another pistol; he said, No, there was no more than that. The justice ask'd him, if that was his pistol; he said, Yes, it was his pistol. [The pistol produced.] He said, he bought it at Bristol.

Q. to prosecutor. Look at the pistol.

Prosecutor. I can't swear to the pistol.

Tipler. The justice order'd me to search his pockets; I pull'd out this watch here and two guineas and some silver. After that the prosecutor came to me, and said, you have got such a watch, and described it every way. I went with him to justice Pell's, and there delivered it to the justice, and the justice to the prosecutor. It is a very remarkable watch. There were several bullets found on the prisoner, how many I cannot say, there were several. He was committed for robbing the gentleman's servant. I did not see the prosecutor till after the prisoner was in Newgate.

Q. What did the prisoner say for himself?

Tipler. He said he had been a soldier, and was discharged, but would not tell what regiment he had belong'd to.

Cross Examination.

Q. Do you remember the prosecutor saying it was so dark that he would not swear to the prisoner?

Tipler. No, I do not remember that. Sherman, the gentleman's servant, did swear to him, that he robbed him. I never saw the prosecutor and prisoner together before now.

Thomas Sherman . I was going along with the prisoner before the justice, I observ'd him to fumble in his fob; when we got there he was ordered

to be searched: there was a watch found, the same that the prosecutor has owned: the prisoner said there that he bought it in New York.

Q. How came the prisoner to be suspected?

Sherman. I happened to be in Whitechapel-road, and I saw the prisoner go into a bawdy-house: I watched him in, and knew him to be the man that had robb'd me the night before (which was the 30th of September) over-against the old almshouses, before you come to the weighing-place at Mile end.

Q. How near Bancroft's alms-houses?

Sherman. About a mile and half from them. He was on horseback, a dark bay horse, dressed in a horseman's light coloured coat, very loose, with nothing over his face.

Q. to Prosecutor. Do you recollect the colour of the man's horse?

Prosecutor. I thought him to be a black one; I was frighted.

Richard Weston . I first saw the prisoner in the alley on the Wednesday morning when he was taken; I was present when the constable apprehended him: we found this powder-horn upon him, and I found the pistol in a closet below stairs, in the same house where we found him: we found the watch and leaden bullets on him at the justice's.

Q. What did the prisoner say?

Weston. He said he was not guilty.

Cross Examination.

Q. Did he say what he was? Did not he say he was a lieutenant in the king's service?

Weston. He said he was a sea-faring man, and came from New York.

Prisoner. I know nothing of the matter: I have witnesses here to prove where I was at the same time.

Prosecutor. He has mentioned he will bring witnesses to prove where he was at the time: I hope I have liberty to send for witnesses to prove where he baited his horse that night.

Court. Send for who you will.

Prisoner's Defence.

That night I was taken there came a countryman to me at the Hand and Coffee-pot in Warwick-lane, and brought me word that they wanted me at Gravesend. I brought a watch with me from New York; a man there said, That is a pretty watch, let me look at it. He asked me to swap watches: he was eager to swap: I believed his watch was better than mine, I swapp'd with him, and gave him ten shillings to boot: I was a little in liquor. I had been down to Gravesend about a cask of rum, that a captain sent me from Virginia. I went from Mrs. Archbold's to this Hand and Coffee-pot; then I went to the Bull in Whitechapel, and then came back to the Hand and Coffee-pot again: there I saw Clark. I staid there I believe till about five.

For the Prisoner.

Susanna Archbold . The prisoner was in company with me, the last night in September.

Q. Where?

S. Archbold. In Water-lane, Black-friars. I made half a dozen shirts for him, and he came for them that night.

Q. What day of the week was it?

S. Archbold. It was on a Tuesday.

Q. What time of the evening?

S. Archbold. He came at six in the evening, and staid till between ten and eleven; then he went away.

Q. How do you know it was that day?

S. Archbold. It was the day after Michaelmas-day.

Q. Do you know any thing of his character?

S. Archbold. I have known him 16 years: he sails with my husband: he is an honest young man, as far as ever I heard of him.

Q. Are you any relation of his?

S. Archbold. No, I am not.

Q. What was he doing all that time he was with you?

S. Archbold. He came in liquor, and he fell asleep in an elbow-chair.

Q. What time did he awake?

S. Archbold. He awaked about nine; I finish'd his last shirt, and he took them away with him, and I saw no more of him.

Q. Who were in the house at that time?

S. Archbold. All the lodgers; but there were only him and me together.

Q. Were you in one room all that time together?

S. Archbold. We were.

Q. When had you finished the last shirt?

S. Archbold. About ten.

Q. Do you lodge in that house?

S. Archbold. I do.

Q. Whose house is it?

S. Archbold. It is the house of Mr. Jordan, a baker.

Q. What makes you sure it was the day after Michaelmas-day?

S. Archbold. Because that was on a Monday.

Q. What circumstances had you to remember that was the day?

S. Archbold. I know it was that day.

Q. How long was it before any body applied to you to recollect yourself about it?

S. Archbold. It was about a week after that I heard he was in Newgate, charged with a robbery; then I said I would take my oath on it.

Q. Did you go to see him?

S. Archbold. I did.

Q. Who told you he was in Newgate?

S. Archbold. The gentlewoman's name is Lovegrove.

Q. Who told you he was charged with a robbery?

S. Archbold. I did not know that till I went to Newgate.

Q. What day did you go to Newgate?

S. Archbold. I can't tell the day of the month; I believe it was about a week after; I believe it was about the Wednesday or Thursday after.

Isaac Clark . I was in company with the prisoner about two months ago yesterday.

Q. What day of the month?

Clark. I cannot tell; it was the very day he was taken

Q. Where was you in company with him?

Clark. At Mr. Houton's, in Warwick-lane, at the Hand and Coffee-pot, by Newgate-market; it was some minutes before one o'clock: he continued with me some little time, and went away: between one and two I went into the market.

Q. Who were there besides you?

Clark. There were several people that belong to the market.

Q. Had he any conversation there with any body about a watch?

Clark. I know nothing of that.

Q. What is his character?

Clark. I never heard an ill character of him before this in my life.

Q. How long have you known him?

Clark. I have known him two or three months.

Q. What are you?

Clark. I am a gardener. I know this was on a Wednesday morning, betwixt twelve and one o'clock, because that was market-day.

Prosecutor. He was taken on a Wednesday morning.

Elizabeth Williams . I am a midwife. I have a small acquaintance with the prisoner; he came to my house at the desire of a friend, who desired I would let him stay a little while there, for he was in trouble: she desired I would let him stay till it was made up, as he was a little in debt: he never was out but one night while he was with me: he went away from me the Monday before he was committed, about six o'clock in the morning, and never returned again.

Charles Penton . I have known him about five months; he lodged in the neighbourhood at Brentford, and I used to shave him.

Q. What was his character in the neighbourhood?

Penton. Very honest, as far as I know; he always paid me honestly: as for any thing else, I know nothing at all of it.

Mary Prudence . I have known him within this twelvemonth.

Q. Where do you live?

Mary Prudence . I live at Brentford.

Q. What is his character?

Mary Prudence . He is a very honest man, as far as ever I saw.

Q. What business did he follow?

Mary Prudence . I never knew him follow any business: he has lived there always since I knew him: he went down to Gravesend once in the time.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick. I have known him about five or six months.

Q. Where do you live?

Mrs. Fitzpatrick. I live at Brentford.

Q. What is his general character?

Mrs. Fitzpatrick. He had a very good character while he was there: he behaved extremely well, in a very decent manner.

Prisoner. I went from Mrs. Archbold's house to the Hand and Coffee-pot in Warwick-Lane that night.

Sherman. Here is the woman in court at whose house the prisoner was taken, if the court please to examine her: I do not know her name, any farther than Kitty.

For the Prosecution.

Catharine Needs . I live in Dark's-court, Whitechapel, it is the same place that is called Dark's-alley; the prisoner at the bar, some time in last March, had a lodging at my house; he was up and down in Whitechapel that night; I saw him between ten and eleven o'clock, from alehouse to alehouse, I mean the night before he was taken. He was taken on the Wednesday, and on the Tuesday night he was riding about Whitechapel; the neighbours were laughing at him, to see what a fool he made of himself: he was drunk, and when the watchman was beating the hour of eleven, I desired him to go and put his horse up, and the watchman went away with him.

Prisoner. Sherman's master ordered him to prosecute me right or wrong; and this woman makes a common report of it, that she shall have the pleasure of drinking my health with a Tyburn ticket in a bowl of punch. She is a base woman, and carries a knife in her bosom in order to cut people down.

Isaac Palmer . I live at the Bull in Whitechapel, I and my brother keep it: the prisoner came on the 30th of September, and put his horse up at our house.

Q. Did you know him before?

Palmer. No, I had never seen him before.

Q. What time did he come in?

Palmer. He came in between twelve and one in the night; I saw him come in, and served him with a glass of brandy. He staid some considerable time, and I saw his horse taken care of. I asked him if he would take a bed with us: he said no. I let him out at the wicket, and he asked if he could have his horse between four and five in the morning.

Q. Do you know where he was on that night, about nine o'clock?

Palmer. No, I do not.

Acquitted .

(M) He was a second time indicted by the same name, for that he, on the king's highway, on Thomas Sherman did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person one shilling, his property, and against his will , Sept. 30 .*

Thomas Sherman. I was going out of Whitechapel, very near nine at night, in a single horse-chaise, for Leighton-stone, to my master's country house.

Q. What is your master's name?

Sherman. His name his Cleaves. Just before I came to the alms-houses, I saw the prisoner at the bar on horseback behind me: he came up to me, exactly over-against the alms-houses: there were lights in the windows.

Q. Whereabouts are those alms-houses?

Sherman. They are just before you come to the weighing-place, I believe almost a mile from the stones-end. The cover of my chaise was down, so that I saw him behind me. He came up plump to my chaise, and bid me stop: my horse went on a little way, and he d - d me, and said he would blow my brains out, if I did not stop that instant: the horse stopped directly. Then he demanded my money, watch, and pocket-book; and said, I had writings about me. I told him I had not any. He d - d me, and insisted on searching me; and made me stand upright in the chaise, at the edge of it, that he might lean from his horse, and search me. He had drawn a pistol at his first coming up, and he held that in his hand. After he had searched me, he said: D - n you, I have found but one shilling, you have got more about you; and said he was very sure of it. He searched my breeches, and my breeches knees; and said, I was a gentleman, and had more about me. I said, I am a gentleman's servant, and have got my livery on, and desired him not to hurt me. As I was going away, he said: D - n you, I have lost my whip, get out of the chaise and look for it. I got out of the chaise, and looked about, but could not find it. I said, pray, Sir, take my chaise-whip. He took it, and went off with it; and upon hearing my chaise did not come on, he came back again, and overtook me, and said: Are not you the lad that I was with? I said, yes. He gave me my whip, and said: Here, d - n you, take your whip, I have found my own. Then I asked him to give me my shilling again, but he would not, but away he went towards London, and said: D - n you, if I find you stop, I'll come back again, and blow your brains out. There were lights in every window at the alms-houses, and four houses altogether; and I was close to them, in the middle of the road, and that is not very broad there.

Q. How far from the farthest of the houses?

Sherman. Not above eight, or nine, or a dozen yards at most: I could see his face distinctly: the moment I saw him, the next morning, I knew him again, and dogged him into the bawdy-house, where he was taken.

Q. How long was he with you?

Sherman. He was with me six minutes to the full, on and off.

Q. And afterwards, when he came up to you to give you your whip, could you see him then distinguish him?

Sherman. That was by the weighing-place, where I saw him first; there is a lamp on each side, but he did not stop much there: I cannot say I saw his face there. I am very sure he is the man that robbed me that night. The next day I came up to London, about eight in the morning, and had just put up my horse at Mr. Fillingham's, at the George-inn, Whitechapel. I saw the prisoner riding along in Whitechapel: I knew that was the man that had robbed me the night before. He went down Dark's-alley, and sat on horseback with his back towards me. I went to the oil-shop at the corner of the alley, and asked the gentleman if he knew that man: he said, he did not know him. I said he robbed me last night. Then I

went to the man that keeps the Yorkshire-Grey, and told him the same: he advised me to get a constable: he went himself: the first time the officer would not come: then he went again, and he came. I stood and watched. The prisoner put his head out at the door, half way; and the very moment he saw me, he went in and shut the door. He had hung his mare at the window. I observed he sat on his mare five minutes before he went into the house. He knocked the people up. One of the ladies in the house heard some bustle in the alley; and somebody said there was a highwayman in that house. I believe she gave him the item: he looked out: I saw he had only his red waistcoat on, the same he has on now; and I know he had that on when he robbed me. Then a little while after he came out with his whip in his hand, and a great-coat on, in order to get on his horse: I called out to the people not to let him go out of the alley. Upon which he went in again. Then the officer came, and I told him the man that robbed me was in that house. Said the officer, you must go into the house, and shew me the man. I went in with him, and up one pair of stairs they shewed me another man, and asked me if that was the man. I said no. Then they had me up another pair of stairs, there was a woman in bed, and another getting up. There we found the prisoner in a closet. I charged the officer with him. Then we searched him, and found a powder-horn in his pocket. In going to the justice's I saw him fumbling in his breeches: I thought he had got a watch: I spoke to the justice to have him searched. He was searched, and the watch, produced on the other trial, and some leaden bullets, were found upon him. I charged him with robbing me: he denied it, and said: I was a false man. After that he fainted away, and desired the justice to ask him no more questions, for he could not resolve them.

Cross Examination.

Q. Can you be exact as to the time you was robbed?

Sherman. I cannot, but I believe it was about nine o'clock.

Q. Was it light or dark?

Sherman. There were some stars appeared.

Q. How long had it been dark?

Sherman. I cannot say how long, I know it was almost nine o'clock before I set out of Whitechapel.

Q. How far was the chaise from the lamps?

Sherman. About twelve or fourteen yards, or not so much.

Q. Had you ever seen the man before?

Sherman. No.

Q. Can you take upon you to swear the prisoner is the man?

Sherman. The next morning I knew him to be the man, as sure as I stand in this place alive.

Q. How was he dressed?

Sherman. He had a great-coat on, buttoned round his neck; but not when he shewed the pistol.

Q. Was not his face partly hid by the greatcoat?

Sherman. No, I saw his face fully.

Q. Whether you did not declare you would prosecute him right or wrong?

Sherman. No, Sir.

Richard Weston . While we were disputing whether we had best take him, there came a woman in the alley, and said, he had been there about eleven, and made a sort of uproar. I saw him taken in the closet, and the powder-horn taken from him; and the man of the house told me where the pistol was. I carried it up stairs, and asked him if it was his; he said it was; I asked him if he had any more; he said he had not.

Richard Tipler . I am the headborough, I found the prisoner in the closet; I asked him what business he had there? He said, he had had some cloaths, and thought I had got a warrant against him. He said, Do you want to rob me? We searched him, and found this powder-horn in his pocket; and before the justice, we found the watch and bullets on him. He acknowledged the pistol to be his before the justice, and that he bought it at Bristol.

Catharine Needs . The prisoner came to my house the morning he was taken, between eight and nine, or about eight, his horse was standing by the door; he ran up stairs, there being no back door to get out at: there he was taken.

Susannah Archbold , and Mary Prudence , deposed on behalf of the prisoner, as in the former trial.

Guilty Death .


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