Offence: Killing > murder
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135. William Bird was indicted for that he, on the 16th of July , &c. in and upon one Phillis Wells , did feloniously, wilfully , and of his Malice aforethought, make an Assault , and her the said Phillis , then being in a certain close Room, called the Hole, then being Part of a Building called StWilliam Bird , in the same close Room, which was not of sufficient Largeness to confine twenty Persons therein for the Space of three Hours, without manifest Danger of their Lives; by which said confining and continuing of her the said Phillis, by the said William Bird , in Manner aforesaid, she the said Phillis, on the said 16th of July, within the said close Room, was suffocated, and of the said Suffocation died, and so the said William Bird , on the said Day, in the said Year, Parish, and County , [as had been laid above] the said Phillis Wells did feloniously, &c. kill and murder .
[The Case having been fully opened by the Council, and printed at length in the last Sessions-Paper, we shall now begin with the Evidence.]
Thomas Morris . I was the Person charged by the High-Constable with Phillis Wells , and went along with her to the Watch-House. I told the High-Constable that I knew her to be an honest Girl, and that I would conduct him to the Round-House, but would take no Charge of her. I believe the High-Constable sent one Clark with her. She was left in the Round-House, and I saw her no more, till I saw her dead in the Bone-House. She has a Brother-in-Law whose Name is Frazer; he is a House keeper in my Beat; I went and acquainted him - it was between two and three o'Clock in the Morning. When the High-Constable called out Watch, - she told him she was come from Deptford , and that she had been about her lawful Affairs. - I told Mrs. Bird I knew her.
Bird. I desire he may be asked, what my general Behaviour to the Prisoners is?
Court. Do you hear of any Complaints as to his Behaviour to the Prisoners?
Morris. No; only if they have been rude, he has sent them down into that Place. I do not know of any ill Usage to the Prisoners. - I have heard disorderly People in the Street speak against him. - Some speak good, and some speak had of him.
Coun. What is his general Character? Is he a kind Goaler, or is he otherwise?
Morris. I cannot make any Answer to that: - The Girl was in good Health, only frightened, to be put into such a Place which she never was in before.
Mary Saint . I know Phillis Wells ; I saw her in the Round-House about four o'Clock in the Morning, and spoke to her through the Window; the Place was full, she stood in the Middle, - my Mistress sent me there - Mrs Frazer. She was then in seeming good Health, and spoke freely to me. Said I, Phil, In the Name of God, how came you here? She cried to me, Mary Saint , for God's Sake give me a little Water? I stepped up to Mrs Bird for a little Water, and she said they should have no such Thing.
Council. That is nothing at all, a Man must not be hanged for his Wife.
Saint. I did not speak to William Bird . - Between two and three o'Clock in the Afternoon I found her dead upon the Bench. - She came from Deptford that Morning. - She had a lightish Callimanco Gown on. - I staid at the Window about three Quarters of an Hour, - the Window was open when I was there. I cannot tell what Number of Persons there were in; they cried out they should all be smothered.
Charles Frazer . On the 16th of July, about three o'Clock, the Watchman called me as usual. - I sell Physical Herbs; and the Watchman told me, the High-Constable had taken up my Wife's Sister, and that he had carried her to St Martin's Round-House. - I did not go to the Round-House then, but went about my Business; for I did not think there was any Danger: When I came back, which was about ten o'Clock, my Maid told me she had seen her there about five o'Clock in the Morning. About ten, or a little after, I went, and found her dead in the Hole, - there were two more dead, one lying on the Right-Hand of her, and the other on the Left. - She was lying upon a Bench. - She had a Camblet Gown on, or something like it, of a lightish Brown Colour .
William Frazer . Charles Frazer is my Brother: Between ten and eleven I went to the Round-House, and went down into the Hole. - I saw Phillis Wells there, and she was dead. - I think she had on a whitish brown Gown. - She was a sober modest Woman.
Bird. As he has served Constable, I ask him whether it is customary for the Door of the Hole that lets into the Passage to be left open?
Churchman . It cannot be customary to leave it open, because it is a thing that hardly ever did happen, to have so many Prisoners in it.
Elizabeth Amey (having given much the same Account as on the former Trial). When the Door was opened, about half an Hour after ten in the Morning, some came out stark naked. I came up with a Bed-Gown on, and it was so wet you might have rung the Sweat out of it. - Mrs Bird gave me some stinking Water, - I drank that, and I believe I drank about three Quarts of clean Water. Bird said once to Mary Wood , the Window should be left open, and afterwards he shut it; I believe it was upon Account of a Woman's bringing some spiritual Liquor. - There was Room enough above Stairs, but we could not have it without Money. - Sarah Bland was in Fits, and carried to the Workhouse as dead, and did not come to herself for two Days.
Bird. Did not you say you would be up with me upon some Account or other? Did not you live at the House in Oxendon Street, where the Coachman was murdered? *
Amey. I was then a Waiter at Mr Eastmead's Bagnio; I never lay a Night in that House in my Life.
Sarah Starks . I was carried to the Round-House about half an Hour after Eleven, and put into the Hole by Mr Bird. - I believe there might be six down there then, but it was so dark, I could not well see how many. - I believe there might be twenty-six at last. - The Window was open when I first went down, and I believe might be open for the Space of a Quarter of an Hour, and then it was That ; it was opened again a Quarter before Four, and shut again a Quarter before Five. - We were crying out for Water and Air, and Mr Bird would not let us have it. - Mr Bird came down several Times - And we asked him for Water and Air, and he told us we should neither have Air nor Water. - I am positively sure of it. - I am sure he was the Man that made Answer so several times. There was one Shilling offered for a Pint of Water; we raised among ourselves four Shillings for a Gallon; he said we should not have any; there was one Woman he gave a Blow on her Head. - He struck her because she wanted to get up Stairs to have a drop of Wine or something to comfort her. - He said we should all suffer for her, and might die and be damned. - I cried out Fire and Murder. - Bird shut the Window the last Time. - He said twice that we might die and be damned, and we should stay till let out by the High-Constable; and the last Time he came down he struck a Woman, gave her a Kick, and pushed her away from him. - He did not say, die and be damned, when he shut the Window, it was when he shut the Door.
Bird. Do you think my Intention in shutting the Window was to stifle them, or to keep them sober, in order to go before a Magistrate.
Starks. I believe his Intention was to stifle us all if he could.
Ann Norton . I was taken out of my Bed from my Husband and carried to the Watchhouse, about one o'Clock in the Morning. - I was kept above Stairs, I was not carried into the Hole. - I had a Friend with me, and spent Money there, and paid Six-pence for sitting up Stairs. - That was the Reason I did not go down into the Hole. - I heard them cry out for Air and Water; and they cried out Fire and Murder, and that there was a Woman in Labour. I heard them cry they would give a Shilling for a Quart of Water, and five Shillings for a Gallon: Bird sat writing at the Table then, and said, Damn the Bitches they want Gin. On their crying out they should die, he said, they might die and be damned; this was between six and seven in the Morning. - I heard him sayHenry Norton in the same Room with me, and a young Man whose Name is William, he is a Coach-maker in Long-Acre. - Bird ordered Bushel to go down and put some Prisoners in, and Bushel came up and said he could put no more in; and Bird said, let me go down, I will put them in, and he pushed them down Stairs one over another. - He went down with a Poker to fasten the Door; there was Room for a great many more above Stairs. - Bird went to Bed about eight o'Clock.
Bird. You say you were kept above Stairs, did you pay any thing for it?
Norton. Yes, I did, I paid Six-pence for a Quartern of Usquebaugh, and Six pence to your Wife for sitting up.
Bird. I never heard any thing of that before; have not you expressed yourself much in my Favour, and said, that I endeavoured to get you examined last Sessions for me?
Norton. No, Mr Bird, you are wrong there, when I was asked whether I would be examined of your Side, I said no, I would not wrong my Conscience so much .
Sarah Bland was consistent with her former Evidence, and gave this Account of the Deceased; there was a young Woman, who said her Name was Wells, and that she had been at Kensington, and was going to her Brother with some Coltsfoot when she was taken up: (My Cousin Maurice was then on my Knee.) Says she, I do not know what I have done; if my Brother knew it, he would grow crazy. She was faint, and said, If I could get a Drop of Water I should be better; but no Support came to us after the Door was shut; nobody came near us: She died, I cannot tell whether on the Bench, or on the Ground. She seemed to be very well in Health when she came in, but she took on upon Account of being carried there. - Bird himself brought her down. - We told him we wanted Water; he said, Water, you Bitches , be damned - He did not say die, then.
Mr Bushel the Beadle called.
Bird. My Lord, I submit it to your Lordship, whether he is a proper Witness; because he attended the Constable of the Night along with me?
Court. Yes, he is.
He was then sworn, and gave an Account of being sent down with the three Women, as at the last Sessions.
Q. Would the upper Door of the Stairs have been secure, if the Women had been let out into the Passage?
Bushel. I believe it might: There is a Lock and two Bolts to the Door, but it is not strong at all: They could not have got out of the Round-House. - Three died in the Hole, one got up upon the Stairs, and died there: About ten Minutes after she got out, Bird said to one of the Women that did not die, one Betty Eaton , when she was brought out of the Hole, and sat in a Chair in the Chimney, You Bitch of Hell, no Carrion will kill a Crow. - She made no Reply, for I believe she could not well speak: She was brought up without a Cap, and was almost stifled .
Bird. Pray, upon my being informed, that some of the People were ill, did not I send you for Spirits, and for People to bleed them.
Bushel. You did not send me, you sent Broadbent. You said you would send the Chair from the Workhouse, but you did not return again; but the Chair was brought at last.
Bird. Are you sure of it? Recollect yourself.
Bushel. You did not come back to the Round-House: I know you sent for a Man to bleed them. I do not know any Thing else you did. -
[ John Tilton , who was called at the former Trial on Behalf of the Prisoner, was now examined on the Part of the Crown; and gave the same Evidence as to the Time of his being at the Round-house, and of Bird's putting down some Prisoners into the Hole, after Bushel told him he could put no more in, for there were so many they would be stifled ; and likewise what passed in relation to leaving open the Door of the Hole]
Bird Was there any Order given to leave the Shutter open? Who gave the Order ?
Tilton. There was an Order given that they might have Air: It was open at five o'Clock, when I went away, and I desired it might be kept open.
Bird. Did you hear any Out-cry of Murder?
Tilton. No, I did not hear any Out-cry at all. I was in the Room with Bird and the Constable of the Night.
Bird. Did you hear any Cry of Murder, Mr Bushel?
Bushel. No, I did not.
Elizabeth Desborough . I was confined in St Martin's Round-house July 16. Bushel came down with some Prisoners, I cannot say what Time it was, nor how many he brought down. He went up and left the Door of the Hole open, and desired it might be left open, and the Door on the Top of the Stairs fastened; he spoke this to Bird, but I cannot say what Answer Bird made, but he came down directly, struck Elizabeth Amey , pulled her Cap off her Head, pushed us all together, and said he would make Room; he made use of several Expressions, but I cannot tell what they were.
Q. Did any of you get into the Passage when the Door was open?
Desborough . We did not go out into the Passage, I believe some might stand just on the outside of the Door. - When Bushel left the Door open, he said it was too close with it shut. There was some Refreshment came into us from the Air, when the Door was open.
Mr. Perkins the Surgeon, and Mr Colclough , who were sent for to bleed these People, gave the same Account now, of their Condition, as they did at the former Trial.
Q. Do you think the Place would contain twenty Persons for the Space of three Hours, without manifest Danger of their Lives?
Perkins. I do not think it would, if the Doors and Windows were shut. - I apprehend they were suffocated for want of a due Quantity of Air, for Inspiration and Respiration.
Bird. Were any of the Bodies opened?
Perkins. No, Sir, - they said there was one of the Women with Child, but she was not with Child; she had a Dropsy.
Bird. As to the Cause of the Suffocation, I desire to know if a Person had been opened, whether it could not have been distinguished , whether the Suffocation was occasioned by Liquor, or for want of Air? It was the Opinion of Sir Hans Sloane , in a Case that happened at Hertford some Years ago *, that two Spoonfuls of Liquor will suffocate a Person.
* See the late Edition of State-Trials, Vol. V. pag. 217.
Q. to Colclough. Would that Place contain twenty Persons three Hours, without manifest Danger of their Lives?
Colclough. No, I think not; I think I must have been dead, if I was in such a Heat as that for that Time. - I think it is impossible to live under those Circumstances, in such hot Weather; indeed Winter Time makes a Difference. - Their Death was occasioned, in my Opinion, through the Number of People, which were confined there, and the want of Air and Water.
Q. Was that in your Opinion the Occasion of their Death?
Colclough . I am sure of it.
William Bird . I am the unhappy Person who stands charged with the Crime of Murder; a Crime of the highest Nature; and I hope I shall, with your Lordship's Assistance, in Points of Law, bring myself off this Charge; and I hope what has been clamoured abroad, will not have any Effect upon the Gentlemen here. I shall endeavour to bring Witnesses of sufficient Credit to be believed: This was occasioned by a Search-Warrant , from Justice De Veil, to bring to our House such Persons as were taken up in the Street, &c. The Warrant was to be returned at eight o'Clock in the Morning, and if the proper Officer had came at the Time, this Misfortune would not have happened. I never went to Bed, I only lay down at the Feet of the Bed at seven o'Clock, and indeed I lay till between nine and ten. I never heard any thing of an Outcry of Murder, or any thing else; and as soon as I knew of the Misfortune, I made Application for Assistance to relieve them. As to the Number of People in the Hole, I did not know; and I had no Occasion to try the Number it could hold, till this unhappy Occasion: I had nothing to get, no Liquor to sell, nor any Opportunity of doing any Thing to make a Property of them; and I do declare this unhappy Affair was without my Knowledge or Inclination.
Bird. Will your Lordship please to order him to give you a particular Account of this Affair, and to speak nothing but the Truth?
William Malpas . My Lord, I was taken up the 15th of July at Night, among the unhappy Persons that died. During the whole Night I did not see the Prisoner at the Bar use any Cruelty towards them. - I was there from about a Quarter before Eleven at Night, till about Ten the next Morning. I was above Stairs all the while. - I was not put down into the Hole, because the Prisoner was a particular Acquaintance of my Mother's, and knew all my Friends. I went down to the Hole to carry a Candle, which was knocked out by one of the Persons confined . - The Door was open when I went down; this was about four o'Clock in the Morning; one of the Persons was bustling to
Bird. Pray, Mr Malpas, give an Account to the Court and the Jury, what Part I acted, and who acted that Night.
Malpas. He sat writing most Part of the Night. - In the Morning, Mr Akins, the Constable of the Night, ordered the House to be cleared two or three Times before he went away.
Bird. Did I do this of my own Head, or by the Direction of the Constable?
Malpas. By the Direction of the Constable.
Bird. Did I do any thing without the Constable's Order?
Bird. Did I make any Objection to the Discharge of Persons who were brought in by the Watchman for breaking of Windows, and were discharged by the Constable?
Q. Did you know any one that was called by the Name of Wells?
Malpas. No, I did not.
Bird. Did I put any of them down, or go down, till between four and five, when the Constable went down? I did not go down before that Time.
Malpas. I did not see him go down.
Bird. Who knocked the Candle out of my Hand?
Malpas. One of the Prisoners, her Name was Amey.
Bird. How did she behave before she was put into the Hole?
Malpas. She behaved in a very abrupt Manner, and bred Differences. I believe she was ordered down at first by the Constable of the Night.
Bird. What Time was it in the Morning that I laid down?
Malpas. It was a little after Six.
Bird. What Time did you call me again?
Malpas. About Nine. - He laid down with his Waistcoat on.
Bird. During the Time I sat up, did you hear any Outcry of Murder, or Water, or that the Women were ready to be delivered of Children.
Malpas. There was a great Noise from first to last, before they were put down into the Hole, and after.
Bird. The Place is so accustomed to Noises that one does not know whether there is Danger or no.
Malpas. I did not hear any Cries of Murder while you were up.
Bird. Did I shut the Window to do them an Injury, or what was it for?
Malpas. Bird said to the People who brought Liquor to them, you are not their Friends, how can they defend themselves in the Morning if they are in Liquor? And when they came out, and he found how bad they were, he sent for a Surgeon to bleed them, and took all the Care he could of them.
Malpas. I know her by her being up there; she was sitting in the Room with me; I spoke to her once since, and she said she would do Bird all the Service she could, for he had been very civil to her.
Bird. Now she tells another Tale; it has been said that I was up and down divers Times with Prisoners, to put them into the Hole; it was impossible I could go down with the Prisoners, when there were near forty of them, and a Constable that could neither read nor write. I was obliged to sit with him to take an Account of their Names.
Malpas. Several were put down by Watchmen.
Bird. Pray did I drink with Serjeant Burns the value of two or three Shillings in Liquor?
Malpas. No, I do not think he did.
Bird Where did the Liquor come from.
Malpas. It was sent for out of Doors.
Bird. I am sure I had none to sell: Pray did I take any Money of Mrs Norton to let her stay up?
Malpas. I did not see him take any. - There was no Body forced to have any Thing.
Bird. If I had known any of them had been in Distress, do you think I would not have relieved them?
Malpas, I believe he would; for he said, if I heard any Noise or Outcry upon any Occasion to call him, or if there was any thing wanting.
Bird. Did you hear any Expression 'tis said I made use of, of Die and be damned?
Malpas. I did not hear any such Words.
Bird. If I did, it was an inadvertent Expression of my Tongue, and did not come from my Heart.
Q. Where was Bird when he called for a Candle?
Malpas. He was below, I saw him struggling with Amey; she wanted to get out, and the Door was immediately shut up by Mr Bird.
Bird. I went down to see that all was safe.
Q. How many Prisoners were there in the Hole when you carried the Candle down?
Malpas. I do not know, but it seemed to be full.
Malpas. I do not remember that I did.
Q. Do you remember any thing of Bushel's coming up, and saying, he could not put any more down?
Malpas. I heard something said of that, but I cannot tell who said it.
Q. I ask you upon your Oath whether it was not Bushel?
Malpas. I cannot tell.
Q. Was there no Reason assigned why they could not be put in, that they would be stifled , or something like that?
Malpas. I cannot make any Answer to that.
Q. When the Door was desired to be left open, did not you hear whether it was for fear the Prisoners should be stifled ?
Malpas. I did hear it mentioned, but who spoke it I cannot tell.
Q. Did not the Constable, when he went away, desire the Shutter of the Hole to be lest open?
Malpas. I do not know, it was open when he went; it was shut again between Five and Six by Bird's Son, because they should not have Gin brought them. - I did not see Mr Bird shut it. - The Room above extends over the two Holes and the Passage, and over that Room Mr Bird and his Family lie.
Elizabeth Beaumont . I was taken out of my own House, and brought into the Round-house, about half an Hour after eleven at Night, and staid in the Drinking-Room till five in the Morning, and was in another Room above Stairs till nine. I saw no Misbehaviour in Bird, and did not hear any of the Prisoners give him an ill Word; he staid most Part of the Night by the Constable writing. - I do not know that he went down all Night. At five o'Clock in the Morning, the Constable of the Night and the Beadle insisted on the Room being cleared before they went. - I did not hear any Body cry out as if they were in Distress.
Q. Did you hear any singing?
Beaumont . Yes, I heard them singing very much. - I heard them singing in the Room where the Women were.
Court. Sure you are mistaken!
Beaumont. Indeed I am not.
Court. - This Singing you speak of, are you sure it was in the Room where the Women were ?
Beaumont. It was Women's Voices.
Court. Are you sure of it?
Beaumont. There were Men down, as well as Women; it might be the Women, or it might be the Men.
Q. What was the Reason of your being above Stairs? Did you pay any thing for it?
Beaumont. I had no Money to pay: I went down, and he said, Damn you, come up, I have more already than I know what to do with: There were five or six more came up with me.
Coun. You say you saw nothing amiss in his Behaviour, you mean to yourself, for he was very civil to you; how came you to be used so civilly?
Beaumont. There were several Gentlemen, who were Officers of the Parish; they saw me take on very much, and saw my Condition, that I was with Child, and they desired I might not be put into the Hole; he behaved very well to all for what I know, - if there had been any Complaints, I must have heard them.
Q. You said there were five or six went up with you: What became of them afterwards ?
Beaumont. The Constable of the Night and the Beadle went down again with them, and I went up to sit on the Bed-side. - I am a single Woman. - I was not in the same Room with Mr Bird; the Rooms are parted off. - When the Constable of the Night had put them in, he made a Speech, and said, I have put them in, and you could not.
Court. What Speech did he make?
Beaumont. The Constable of the Night said, that he had put them in, when Bird could not. - That tall Man (Bushel) was there all the Night, but he was very drunk.
Court to Bushel. Who was there?
Bushel. There was the Constable of the Night, Tilton, and I, and another Beadle who came out of Curiosity .
Akins, the Constable, was called for by the Court.
Q. Was that Man [pointing to Akins] Constable of the Night?
Q. Was that the Man that said, I have put them in, and you could not?
Beaumont. Yes, that is the Man. - I did not say it was Mr Bushel that made that Speech.
Court to Akins. Did you go down with any Woman into the Hole?
Court. Did you declare, that what Bird could not do , you did?
Akins . No, my Lord; Bird knows I did not.
Court . You hear what that Woman says, did you say so, or did you not?
Akins . No, I did not.
Q. Do you know who said it?
Akins . I heard no such Expression: I carried none down all the Year.
Bushel. Upon my Oath Bird said, I have put them in in a Minute that you could not.
Bird. This was not from Good will.
Tilton. Bird said, that Akins never did stir down.
Bird. Mr. Akins, you swore you were down four or five Steps: I shall catch you by and by. - What Time did you go away?
Akins. I went away at half an Hour after Four. - I never heard any Cries before I went away. - Yes, I did hear Singing - I cannot tell whether it was from the Mens Hole, or the Womens Hole. - It was between two and three o'Clock. - I gave no Orders whether the Window should be shut or open.
Mr. Hooper. I am a Surgeon and Apothecary; being informed of what had happened at the Round-House, I went there between eleven and twelve, and saw Mr Colclough bleeding the Women. I thought it best, for Expedition, to cut them down the temporal Artery. I endeavoured to bleed one, but to no Purpose; there was another that expired about an Hour afterwards; I thought it a Duty incumbent on me, to desire Mr Colclough to bleed some of the others, and they did well. Bird and his Wife were both there, he behaved with a great deal of Humanity. There were Drops and Water ready, and we had what we wanted, as often as we called.
Bird. Did you ever hear in the Neighbourhood of any Complaints of my using People ill?
Hooper. I never heard any Thing one Way or other. - It is my Opinion, that the Occasion of their Death was from the want of Air, and the Liquor that they had. - Want of Air only might occasion it: This want of Air was the more prejudicial to them, as they had had too much Liquor before. They would have breathed freer without it.
William Anderson , one of the Beadles. I came to the Round-House about seven o'Clock in the Morning: I asked Mr Bird how many Prisoners he had, he said, he believed he had about thirty; I staid about five or six Minutes, and went away, and came again about ten o'Clock. One told me there was a particular Acquaintance of his taken up and put in the Hole. I went about ten o'Clock and asked for Bird, they said he was in Bed, and went up and called him, and he came down; I opened the Door, in order to let her out; as soon as the Door was open, the People bounced out directly upon us; the Place was very nauseous, and the smell so strong, that I thought it would have struck me down; they called out for Water, for they were quite stifled : I fetched some Water from the Pump, they drank that up, and I got them some more. - At seven o'Clock there were no Outcries, but at ten there was a great Outcry.
Bird. If your Lordship will please to observe this was in the Time I went to lay down in my Wastcoat : If they had come at the Return of the Warrant, this Accident might not have happened.
William Cluer I never knew but what Mr Bird behaved very well, ever since I have known him, which is since the first of March last. I live next Door to the Watch-house, but was out of my House that Night.
Bird. It is customary to put People out of the common Room when the Watch breaks up.
Harris. I used always to put them down into the Hole when the Watch broke up. - If they behaved any ways disorderly we put them into the Hole, before the Watch goes off; if they behave civilly we let them stay above. - I never put any down into the Hole while I was Constable, if they behaved well before I went away.
Mark Coney . I served the Office of a Constable last Year, and I cannot say he committed any Crime, misbehaved, or used People ill in my Time: When we go off in a Morning we put the Prisoners into the Hole for Security, against the next Day. - I always used to put them in, I do not know whether I was right or wrong. - If they behaved civilly I did not put them in before I went away: - I never had above seven or eight Prisoners at a Time; for we had no Search-Warrants in my Year. - He always behaved well, except he was in Liquor, and then I used to bid him go to Bed, and he would go.
Bird. Have not you known me according to my Circumstances to give them Rolls or Half-pence.
Duggin. Yes, to the best of my Remembrance he has, and spoke to me that they might be civilly used.
William Baily . I have known him sixteen Years, and have been with him when he has bestowed Charity to People in Straits: I do not think him to be that tyrannical Person which he is represented to be.
Bird. I will not take up any more of your Lordship's Time, I hope I have established my Character, and I leave my Case to your Lordship and the Jury.
King's Council. As you have led us into it, we shall call some Persons to your Character; so if you would call any more do it now.
James Calf . I have known him four or five Years, and believe him to be a very honest Man; I know several good-natured Acts which he has done for People; as to his Usage of his Prisoners, I know nothing of that, I believe him to be a Man of Humanity, and rather than do any thing of this Kind, he would relieve distressed Persons, if it was in his Power; how this happened I know not.
Joseph Rawson . I have known him these thirty Years, and his Father and Mother before him. I have trusted him with a great many Pounds, and with the keeping of my Books: And as I stand before this Tribunal, and must stand before a greater, I do not think he would be guilty of any ill Thing.
Bird. My Lord, I rest it here.
K. Coun. We should not have troubled your Lordship any further, if this last Part of the Defence, as to Character, had not been made; but as he has led us into it, I think it proper to call 2 or 3 Witnesses.
Q. What is the general Character of the Prisoner?
Colclough. When he is sober, he is very civil to the Prisoners; but when he is in Liquor, he will swear, and curse, and rattle; when he is out of Liquor, he is very easy. - He is reckoned unkind with respect to beating them, damning them, and the like.
[Bushel called again.]
Q. What is the Prisoner's general Character, with Regard to Kindness or Cruelty?
Bushel. His Character is, that he is cruel to his Prisoners. - I speak as to his general Character.
Bird. He says my Character is cruel; I wish he would give the Court one Instance of it.
Coun. I am not at Liberty to ask that Question; but I will not oppose it.
Bushel. I have seen you push People headlong down Stairs; poor People in Liquor.
Q. Is that his general Character when he is sober?
Bushel. When he is sober he is hasty, passionate and hot, but he is civil to them upon all Accounts; but when he is in Liquor, he is barbarous: I would not have spoke it if he had not obliged me to do it. - I b elieve he is oftener drunk than sober.
Tilton (being asked his Character). When sober he is courteous, in Liquor barbarous .
Q. What is his general Character when he is sober?
Morris. Some People say he is good-natured, and some say he is ill-natured. - I know nothing of his general Character, nor of any of his cruel Acts.
The Jury withdrew for some Time, and being return'd, the Foreman gave in their Verdict thus. According to the Law delivered to us we find him Guilty , Death . And afterwards said, The Case is unprecedented to any of us: If there be any room to recommend the Prisoner we desire it.
N. B. There were eighteen Witnesses examin'd last Sessions, on the Indictments against the Prisoner, for the Murder of Mary Maurice , which did not appear upon this Trial: And there are seventeen Witnesses on this Trial, who gave no Evidence at the former.