John Oneby.
2nd March 1726
Reference Numbert17260302-36
VerdictSpecial Verdict

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John Oneby , was indicted for the Murder of William Gower , Esq ; by maliciously giving him with a drawn Sword, in the left Part of his Belly, near the Navel, one mortal Wound of the Breadth of one Inch and an half, and the Depth of ten Inches. on the 2d of February , of which he languisht till the next Day. and then dy'd . He was a 2d Time indicted on the Coroners Inquisition for the said Murder.

Thomas Hawkins thus depos'd. On the 2d of February about 10 at Night, Mr. Blunt, the Deceas'd, the Prisoner, and my self went to the Castle-Tavern in Drury-lane ; where, in about half an Hour, Mr. Rich came to us. About the fourth or fifth Bottle, Box and Dice were call'd for, and Dice laid on the Table, I dont know by whom. The Box and Bottle went round together, and tho' we plaid so low, as not to set above half a Guinea, yet I had no great Inclination to it, and especially to set the Prisoner; and therefore after a trifling Loss, I declined the Play. The Prisoner exprest a Disgust at it, but I told him I should follow my own Inclination, without regarding whether or no it was agreeable to his Humour. They continued playing: The Deceas'd lost 30 Shillings. Mr. Rich said, Who will set me Three half Crowns? Upon which the Deceas'd took something out of his Pocket, and laid on the Table, but conceal'd it with his Hand, and said, I'll set you 3 Pieces; and then taking his Hand away we saw 3 Half-pence. This was not offer'd to the Prisoner, but he appear'd to be much affronted. He said it was very impertinent to set 3 Half-pence, or Words to that Effect. The Deceas'd ask'd him what he meant by impertinent. You're an impertinent Puppy, says the Prisoner; to which the Deceas'd reply'd, The Man that calls me Puppy, is a Rascal or a Scoundrel, I can't tell which, He had hardly spoke, when the Prisoner snatch'd up a Bottle, and with Violence threw it at his Head, which beat some Powder out of his Wig, but did him no hurt. He in return Tost a Glass (or a Candlestick) I can't tell which, for both fell down, at the Prisoner, but it did not reach him. They both rose up together, and went to their Swords; which hung up in the Room. The Deceas'd being quickest got his Sword first, and drew it, and stood still in a Posture of Defence, at a good Distance from the Prisoner, who was advancing, and drawing his Sword to meet him, but Mr. Rich stept in between, and prevented him, The Deceas'd then threw away his Sword, and they all sat down again, and drank for about half an Hour: When the Deceas'd offering his Hand to the Prisoner, said to this Effect. We have had hot Words. Major, you was the Aggressor: But let us be reconcil'd. To which the Prisoner answer'd to this Effect, No, D - n ye, I'll have your Blood; and turning to me he said, Hawkins, You was the Occasion of this. Why then, says I. If you have any Thing to say to me, I am your Man, and I'll see you out. No, says he, I have another Chap first. In about half an Hour after this, which was near 3 in the Morning, the Company broke up. I went out first, and coming to the Street Door, I saw it rain; I waited a little, and not seeing the rest of the Company come down, return'd to the Room, and found the Deceas'd wounded, and leaning on a Chair in a languishing Condition. He dy'd the next Morning. I knew him intimately well, and dont believe that there was a sweeter Temper'd Man in the World.

John Rich thus depos'd. I and some others, among whom were the Prisoner and the Deceas'd, went together to see the New Tragedy of Hecuba. We sat together in the Pit, and the Deceas'd and the Prisoner appear'd to be good Friends all the Time of the Play, and when it was over, I left them for a little while, and met them again at the Castle. The Prisoner and I call'd for Box and Dice, which not being to be had, the Prisoner call'd for a Pepper Box, and it was brought. I saw Dice lying on the Table, but knew not how they came there. I laid down 3 half Crowns. The Major set me: I threw. Seven was the Main, and Six the Chance. The Deceas'd put down 3 half Pence against me, and said, Here, I'll set ye 3 Pieces; I said I was not at the Brass. The Prisoner call'd him an impertinent Puppy: Says the Deceas'd, to this effect. I am not afraid of ye; he that calls me Impertinent is a Rascal At these Words, the Prisoner threw a Bottle at him, which brusht his Wig as it past; and he in return tost a Glass. Then they both took their Swords; the Deceas'd drew his, and stood ready to defend himself; but made no Offer to push at the Prisoner. There was a Table and Chair betwixt them. The Prisoner was coming forward to engage with him; but I stept between, and told him if he made a Longe it must be thro' my Body; which as I was unarm'd would be Wilful Murder. The Deceas'd then threw away his Sword, and they both sat down again; the Deceas'd put his Hand forward, and said to the Prisoner, Come, Major, let us be reconcil'd: We have had Words in heat, but they ought to be forgiven and forgot. To which the Prisoner passionately answer'd. to this effect G - D - ye you lie - I'll have your Blood by G - a. When we all got up to go, the Prisoner hung his great Coat upon his Shoulders, and I think button'd it in one or two places. Mr. Hawkins went out first. Mr. Blunt next, the Deceas'd follow'd him, I the Deceas'd, and the Prisoner last, but he was hardly out of the Room, when he call'd to the Deceas'd. Hark ye, young Gentleman, I have something to say to ye. The Deceas'd went back, they both re-enter'd the Room; the Door was immediately shut last; I heard a Clashing of Swords, and a great stamp upon the Floor, as if made by the Prisoner, who is a very heavy Man. Mr. Blunt stept back, we endeavour'd to get in, but could not immediately open the Door; but at last by the Drawers Assistance, we got in. Mr. Blunt first and I close behind him. The Prisoner was then next to

the Door, and standing with his Sword drawn in his Right Hand the Point of it toward the Deceas'd, whom he held by the shoulder with his Left Hand. I think the Deceas'd had then no Sword in his Hand, and I soon afterwards found it close to the Wall, behind the Foldings of the Table. It was greasy 4 or 5 Inches from the Point. The Deceas'd clos'd with the Prisoner, but in such a manner as if he rather fell towards him thro' Weakness, than otherwise; which makes me think the Wound was given him before we came in. We put him in a Chair, and sent for a Surgeon. I receiv'd a little Prick with (as I suppose) the Major's Sword, but I believe it was accidentally, while I endeavour'd to part them. Mr. Blunt receiv'd a dangerous Wound in the Belly, but I am ignorant by what Means. I told the Prisoner that I was afraid he had kill'd the Deceas'd. No. No, says he, I have only frighted him; but suppose I had kill'd him, I know what I do in such Affairs; for if I had kill'd him to Night (while the Quarrel was fresh) I should have had the Law on my Side. I asked the Deceas'd on his Death Bed if he receiv'd the Wound fairly, and he answer'd faintly. I - think - I - did - but - I dont know - what might have happened - if you - had not - come in - The former Part of the preceeding Depositions, being confirm'd by Michael Blunt , he thus went on. After the throwing of the Bottle, I being apprehensive that their Quarrel would break out again next Day; I invited the Company to dine together, in hopes to bring them to a Reconciliation, and thereby prevent farther Mischief. The Prisoner answer'd my Offer, with, No, G - d D - n ye all, I'll dine with none of ye. I heard the Prisoner call back the Deceas'd, and he was no sooner got into the Room again, but the Door was shut violently, and I heard the Clashing of Swords. When I got in, I did not see that the Deceas'd had any Sword in his Hand; he was sinking forwards, and I going to a assist him, receiv'd a Wound in my Belly, which I was afraid was mortal, but I cannot tell how, or by whom it was given: but I believe not by the Deceas'd, who had no Sword in his Hand, not was in a Condition to wound me.

Mr. Shaw the Surgeon thus depos'd. I found the Deceas'd languishing in a Chair, his Guts appear'd on the Wound, and were mortifying by being expos'd to the Air. I drest him and sent him home, but the next Day I found a second Rupture of his Intestines. He dyed soon after, and that Wound was the Cause of his Death.

The Prisoner thus made his Defence. The Dice and Pepper Box were call'd for, but not by me. I flung a Main and past it about. Mr. Hawkins refus'd. I told him I thought there was as good Fellowship in a little play, as in altogether drinking: At last the Deceas'd offer'd to set 3 half Pence; I told him it was very impertinent. He call'd me Rascal. You impertinent Puppy, says I, what do ye mean by that; and taking up a Flask I threw it towards him. He threw a Glass at any Hand, and immediately drew his Sword. I told him in so doing he acted very basely, and so I sat down again. When the Company was going, I put on my great Coat, which I think did not look as if I had any Thought of fighting. But the Deceas'd and I being the two last in the Room, be no sooner saw the rest of the Company gone, but he slung the Door to, and drew upon me. I was oblig'd to draw in my own Defence, and in parrying with him, I receiv'd 3 Wounds, one on my Knee, another across my Finger, and a third on my Buttock; which last I receiv'd when I clos'd him, for he then endeavour'd to stab me in the Back, and it must be by him that Mr. Blunt receiv'd his Wound, when he came to part us.

The Drawer thus depos'd. When I enter'd the Room I saw the Deceas'd and the Prisoner both with their Swords in their Hands, pointing towards each other, the Deceas'd closed with the Prisoner, but so as if he was rather falling than pushing, the Prisoner had hold of the Deceas'd with his Left Hand, for as soon as we parted them, the Deceas'd was so weak that he could not stand. I did not see him stab the Prisoner behind. But I cry'd out to the Prisoner, for God Sake what are ye doing.

Mr. Burdet, a Surgeon thus depos'd. The next Day in the Evening, the Prisoner sent for me to the House of Mrs. Gardiner, in Dean-street, near Red-Lyon-Square; where he had conceal'd himself. He desir'd me to dress his Wounds, of which he had three, as he now says, but none of them were the Depth of a Quarter of an Inch. Mrs. Gardner depos'd to the same Effect.

Some Points of Law arising from the Evidence, the Jury gave in a Special Verdict: which is to be determin'd by the Judges .


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