John Powel.
13th October 1736
Reference Numbert17361013-29
VerdictNot Guilty

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37. John Powel , was indicted for breaking and entering the House of Henry Hall and Cranley Thomas Kirby , in the Night Time, and stealing thence 140 Pounds weight of cut Tobacco, value seven Pounds , the Goods of Henry Hall , and Cranley Thomas Kirby, October the 3d .

Mr. Kirby. The Morning after our House was broke, which was Sunday Morning between eight and nine, a Servant came to my Chamber, and told me my Cellar Door was broke open, and the Cellar had been robb'd. I went down, and found the Plank of the Cellar Window had been forced open, under my dwelling House. I went down to see what I had lost; and I miss'd about a hundred and twenty Pounds of cut Tobacco; and there was a Train of Tobacco from the Place whence it was taken to the uppermost Stair. I was inform'd that some Tobacco of the same Cut had been spill'd in Old-bedlam: I follow'd the Train, and found it was Tobacco of the same Cut, with that I had lost. I did not care to make an Alarm; but in the dusk of the Evening I went to the Beadle, and asked how many Turnings or Passages there were out of Old Bedlam? He told me there were but Four. I desired him to get me four Watchmen; and these four Watchmen I planted, one at every Passage: And in about half an Hour after they were set, the Prisoner was taken with a Bag of Tobacco on his Back. I live in Bishop's Gate-street , and a Watchman stands within three Doors of this Cellar.

Edward Bagshaw , Beadle. On Sunday after Church was done, Mr. Kirby sent for me, and desired me to get him four or five Watchmen; I told him I could not tell whether I could or not. But about six he came to me and I got him four Watchmen, and supplanted them in Old Bedlam; one at every Turning; none could pass but they must see them. This was half an Hour after eight, and in half an Hour, or three quarters after they were set, this Fellow came by with a Bag upon his Back; one of the Watchmen let him pass, 'till he came pretty near to another, then they took him, and sent for me; I brought the Constable with me, and the Prisoner is the same Man, that was then taken with the Goods upon him.

James Thompson . I am a Watchman: I seiz'd him with the Bag of Tobacco upon his Back. I asked him where he was going with it? He said at first to Billings-gate, then to Petticoat-Lane. He told us he was hired to carry it. He had three quarters of a Hundred all but two Pounds upon his Back, when I laid hold of him, it was in a Canvas Bag; I did not know whose it was, but I found it upon him: He was coming out of Moorfields, through Old Bedlam Gate, and I made him pitch it upon a Bulk in Old Bedlam There were two Men with him, and one of them carried the Prisoner's Hat, but when we seiz'd him they ran away, and he call'd out, Will, Will, after one of them.

Prisoner. Ask him if he has seen me in his Watch sculking about at any time?

Thompson. No, I can't say I have.

Israel Irish . I was planted by Mr. Kirkby's Order in Old Bedlam, and between eight and nine on Sunday Night we took that Man at the Bar with the Tobacco on his Back: we asked him where he was going with it, and at first he said he was going to the Water-Side, and afterwards he told us he was to carry it to Petticoat Lane. When Mr. Kirkby had opened the Bag, he asked him, if he could take upon him to swear the Tobacco was his.

Prisoner. Ask that Watchman if he ever saw me in his Beat?

Irish. I cannot say I ever saw him until I took him with the Goods upon his Back.

William Wild . On Sunday the third of October I was sent for to Mr. Kirly's House about this Tobacco, after the Prisoner was taken. We asked him how he came by it; he gave us but a very slender Account of the Matter; he had very little to say; all we could get from him, was, that two Men met him, and gave him a Shilling to carry it for them to St. Catherine's; but he said afterwards he was to carry it to Petticoat Lane; he was in two or three Stories about it. When he was taken, there were two Men with him, and he called out to one of them - Will, Will, take care of my Hat. We judged the Tobacco had been stole, so we secured him in the Compter that Night, and next Morning had him before the Lord Mayor. We had a Warrant after this to search the House of Philip Lacy , a Thief, who keeps a Brandy Shop the lower End of Petticoat Lane, by White Chappel; we searched the House, and found Philip Lacy, but no Tobacco.

Robert Blood . Saturday will be a Fortnight, I made the Cellar fast; I locked it, and it was secure about six o'Clock in the Evening, when it began to be duskish. Between seven and eight the next Morning I got up, and found the Cellar Window broke open; it was Sabbath Day Morning, and had been light some time. I acquainted my Master that the Cellar was broke open; we went down, and found we had lost Tobacco out of a Hogshead, and that it had been spilled in the Cellar, and all up the Stairs.

Q. Was the Tobacco you saw on the Prisoner, your Master's?

Blood. It was exactly the same Cut, and very much like his Tobacco. I did not see it until I came before the Lord Mayor; and I do not remember that the Prisoner owned then, that the Tobacco that was produced against him was the same that was taken upon him.

Thompson again. I took the Tobacco from the Prisoner; I seized it on his Shoulder, and the Constable shewed it to this last Witness. It was the same Tobacco we found upon him, and the same that was shewed upon Mr. Kirby's Compter.

Q. (To Blood.) Do you believe that Tobacco to be your Master's?

Blood. To the best of my Thoughts, it is. It is the same Cut, and is very much like it; nothing can be more like it - nothing in the World. We have not brought the Parcel we took on the Prisoner, but we have brought Samples of both, and any body that has any Judgment in the Goods, on comparing them together, will think as I do. I was but the Day before cutting and sifting this very Tobacco, and I do look upon it to be my Master's.

Prisoner's Defence.

On Sunday I went over to Old Street, (I live in White Chappel,) about setting up a Pair of Grates, and the People I went to asked me to stay and dine with them; I staid there until seven or eight of the Clock at Night; and as I was going over Moor-fields towards where I live, I over took two Men, and they said they would give me a Shilling to carry their Bag to the Water-side, in order to their putting it on board a Ship. They appeared like Sailors, and I, thinking no harm, took it, and one of them carried my Hat; so going through Bedlam, I was stopped by these Men.

Q. Have you any Witnesses?

Prisoner. No; None at all now. Acquitted .

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