Henry Cooley.
24th February 1748
Reference Numbert17480224-32
VerdictNot Guilty

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154. + Henry Cooley , of St. Giles's in the Fields , was indicted for the murder of James Poole , by giving him, with both his hands, several mortal bruises on the head, breast, stomach and sides , Jan. 22 .

Somerfield Wright. The deceased came the twenty-second day of January to drink a parting pot with me and the Prisoner, for he was going the next morning to his ship, and we had three quarts of beer between five of us; the Prisoner and the deceased fell into a discourse about the fighting men that fought at Broughton's Booth , and the deceased said he believed he could fight ever a one of them for a guinea; and moreover, he said he would fight the Prisoner at the bar for a guinea; the Prisoner at the bar said done, and pulled off his clothes; the deceased rose up, and took out two half crowns , and put them into my hand; the Prisoner had no money, but he pulled a ring off his finger, to bind the wager of a guinea, and they were to fight the next morning; then I stopped between them, and said let us have no more of it; then I went to give the deceased his two half crowns again, but before I could do it, he gave the Prisoner a little sort of a push; with

that the Prisoner gave him a slap on the face, and they went to fighting directly.

Q. Were there many blows exchanged?

Wright. There were not many blows exchanged, for they did not fight above two minutes; there might be about a dozen blows exchanged between them: The deceased had two falls, and after the second fall the deceased gave out, and said he would fight no more; with that the Prisoner insisted upon his ring again; I told him I had none of it: I looked about the house for the ring, and while I was looking for it the deceased went out of the room; presently a woman came into the room and brought word, that the deceased lay dead in the entry.

Q. Did the deceased make any complaint before he went out of the room, of any blow that affected him?

Wright. No.

Q. Had he any marks of violence upon him?

Wright. None at all.

Q. How long had he been out of the room before the woman came?

Wright. About six or seven minutes . I went out to see for him, and the deceased lay upon his back in the entry at full length; then we brought him into the room and laid him upon the bed, and I went for a surgeon to bleed him.

Q. Did he bleed him?

Wright. Yes, the surgeon pricked him in both arms, but he would not bleed at all.

Q. When you first saw him upon the floor, did you think him to be actually dead?

Wright. I cannot say he was actually dead when we brought him into the room, because there was some movement in him.

Q. Did you take off his clothes, to see whether there were any marks of violence, or any wounds on his body?

Wright . I did not take his clothes off at all, for his coat and waistcoat were off before, and I did not take off his shirt.

Q. Did you examine his face and head, to see if there were any marks of violence?

Wright. Not that night; the next day I saw he had a blow under his left ear, and there was a little bruise.

Q. Is it your opinion, that the deceased came by his death by that blow?

Wright. No, I cannot think that at all; I cannot think that was the occasion of his death in any shape. I did not see any other blow.

Q. Do you think he had been out any where, between the time of his going out of the room and your seeing him in the passage ?

Wright. No, unless he went into the yard; for the knees of his breeches were dirty, and one side of his face was dirty.

Q. Do you imagine he had any fall any where?

Wright. He must have had a fall by the dirt.

Q. Was it possible, that the bruise which you saw under his left ear might proceed from the fall?

Wright. Upon my word I cannot say.

Q. Did it look like street dirt?

Wright. Yes.

Prisoner. Did not I help to lift the deceased in upon the bed?

Wright. Yes, you did, and I went for a doctor to bleed him, and he bled as free as could be, about a spoonful out of each arm.

Q. You said just now, he would not bleed at all.

Wright. He bled a little drop.

Pris. Coun . Were they not old ship-mates?

Wright. They were old acquaintance.

Susanna Wright . Henry Cooley came to take his leave of the deceased, James Poole , who was my husband's cousin, for the Prisoner was to go the next day on board a ship, and he said we will have a pot of beer together; we had three pots in all: The deceased said to the Prisoner, he had lost a pot of beer about two Men's fighting, and the deceased said afterwards, I think I can fight as well as ever I could, and the Prisoner was for going; the deceased said to the Prisoner, do not go yet, Harry, you may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, it is but a flogging bout, but the Prisoner said he would go: Said Jemmy Poole, I wish you and I had a touch at fighting before you go; then said Henry Cooley , Jemmy, what makes you give me a challenge to fight? but since you have given the first challenge, if you have a mind to fight, I will fight you; with that the deceased took two half crowns out of his pocket , to lay the wager of a guinea to fight the next day, as they thought (but they fought directly;) says Henry Colley , I have no money, but I will give you my ring to bind the bargain, it is worth a guinea, and he took it off his finger and put it upon the two half crowns into my husband's hand; said my husband, I would not have you fight , take your ring again; with that James Poole came up to Henry Cooley , and Cooley pulled off his clothes; then the deceased said to the Prisoner, foolish boy, put on your clothes, and I will fight you to morrow . I am able to whip your a - e at any time, for I have licked you many a time when you was a boy, and gave the Prisoner

a little push; with that the Prisoner being aggravated, he hit the deceased a slap o n the face, and they fell to fighting directly; they had very few blows between them , for the man that is dead had been a sick man a good while, and was in the Hospital, for he had a ball in his thigh, and was discharged from his ship .

Q. How many blows passed between them?

Wright . I cannot tell, there might be a dozen between them, and there were two falls , the deceased was thrown , and I believe the last fall hurt him; then they left off fighting, and Henry Cooley said, will you fight any more? and the deceased said, no; then said the Prisoner I have done, and the deceased got up and went out of the room, whether he went into the yard or into the street I cannot say; then Polly Fowler came into the room and said, Jemmy Poole is dead in the entry: this was about five or six minutes after he went out of the room; then the Prisoner went out of the room, and said, oh Lord God! is he dead that I loved so dearly, and clapped his two hands together, and cried like a child whipped with a rod: then we got him into the room, and laid him upon the bed; and I went for a surgeon, but could not get any; so I got a barber, and he bled him, and he bled about a spoonful; I think I can swear to that, and not hurt myself.

Q. Did you examine the body at that time?

Wright. No, not till the next day, and then I perceived a little bruise under his ear, one side of his face was all muddy , and his back was dirty and the knees of his breeches; there was no dirt upon him when he went out of the room, and I cannot tell how he came by the dirt; he must either have got it in the street or in the yard, and I suppose by a fall.

Q. Do you know what he went out for?

Wright . His shirt hung out of his breeches, whether he went out to make water , I cannot tell, for it is impossible for me to know that.

Q. Were there any marks of violence or bruises upon him?

Wright . Yes, there was a bruise under his left ear, a very little one, but not likely at all to be his death's wound.

Q. Did you see any wound or bruise about him that might be the occasion of his death?

Wright . No, but he was an aiding man a long time, and the falls might hurt him.

Q. Could he have got that bruise by a fall, you suppose he got the dirt by a fall ?

Wright . I do not know whether he could or not; there was a surgeon came, and he bid us take a looking-glass and put to his mouth, but there was no breath in him.

Q. Was there a good harmony between the deceased and the Prisoner ?

Wright. Yes, there always was, they were as loving as two brothers, they went to school together .

Q. Was there any quarrel between them before this you are speaking of?

Wright. No, I believe there was no thoughts of malice between them.

Edward Holder [a young lad about fourteen.] I was there that evening with the Prisoner and the deceased, and James Poole said I believe I can fight as well as ever, and I believe I can fight any man upon the stage; and he said to the Prisoner at the bar I think I can fight you, so they disputed, and the young man that is dead put a crown into Mr. Wright's hand, and the Prisoner pulled a ring off his finger to answer it; one said he would fight the other, and then the deceased gave the Prisoner a shove, and they pulled off their clothes and fell to fighting; the Prisoner gave the other a fall, and he that died sat down upon his a - e, and the Prisoner asked him whether he would fight any more, and he said he would not; a lit tle after that Polly Fowler came in with a pot of beer, and said, Lord, Mrs. Wright, Jemmy Poole is dead; and the Prisoner said, is he indeed? and the Prisoner said, what a misfortunate young man I was to come here; and then the Prisoner and Mr. Wright helped to lift him into the room, and I did as much as I could, and we laid him upon the bed; then a surgeon was sent for, and he bled him in both arms.

Q. Did you perceive any bruises?

Holder. Yes, I perceived a bruise under his left ear , and when we brought him in he had dirt upon his back, dirt upon both his knees, and dirt upon his left cheek.

Q. Where do you think he could get this dirt?

Holder . He must get the dirt either in the yard or in the street.

Q. Do you think he could get all this dirt without falling?

Holder . No, he must have a fall to be sure.

Q. And you saw no wound or bruise but under his left ear?

Holder . No.

Q. Did he complain of any particular hurt after he had done fighting?

Holder . No.

Joseph James (a surgeon called by the Prisoner.) I examined the body when the Coroner's Inquest sat upon it; when they viewed the body they perceived

a bruise under the left ear, which they thought was the occasion of his death.

Q. Did you take that bruise under his ear to be the occasion of his death?

James. I take that under his ear to be a settling of extravasated blood, as there was in his back and sides, but I do not take that to be a bruise, neither could it be the occasion of his death.

Q. Did you scalp him?

James. Yes.

Q. And was there any dangerous wound on his skull ?

James. There was no hurt done to the skull that could occasion his death.

Q. Did you find any wounds on any part of his body ?

James. There was a mark on his breast, but that was an old wound.

Q. So you did not find any wound or bruise that could occasion his death?

James. No, not in the least.

Q. How do you think he came by his death?

James. He was out of the room five or six minutes, and it is possible that a person being drunk, or through passion, or in a fit, may drop down dead, for I am sure that his death was not from any blow; I have known persons to have fallen down stairs, and have died in a fit .

Q. What do you take it to be?

James . I take it to be a fit of the apoplexy .

Q. Do you take those places where there was extravasated blood to be a sign of an apoplexy?

James . Yes, Sir, I believe it was from a stoppage in the small vessels, and that was the occasion of his death.

Acquitted .

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