Offence: Theft > theft from a specified place
Verdict: Guilty; Not Guilty; Guilty > with recommendation
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280, 281, 282, 283, 284. Thomas Kingsmill , alias Staymaker , William Fairall , alias Shepherd , Richard Perin , alias Pain, alias Carpenter , Thomas Lillewhite , and Richard Glover , were indicted for being concerned, with others, to the number of 30 persons, in breaking the King's Custom-house , at Poole , and stealing out thence thirty hundred weight of tea, value 500 l. and upwards .
Oct. 7. 1747 .
Captain William Johnson . I have a deputation from the Customs to seize prohibited goods. On the 22d of September 1747 I was stationed out of Statnham Bay , just by Pool: I was under the North shore, I examined a Cutter I suspected to be a Smuggler; after quitting her, I had fight of the Three-Brothers; I discovered her to the Eastward , after discovering her she put before the wind at N.N.W. I gave chase with all the sail I could make. I chased her from before five in the afternoon till about eleven at night. After firing several shot at her, I brought her to, and took charge of her. I went myself on board, and found she was loaded with tea, brandy, and rum. The tea was in canvas and oil-skin, over that the usual package for tea intended to be run; there was a delivery of it, forty-one hundred three quarters gross weight, in eighty-two parcels; there were thirty-nine casks of rum and brandy, eight and four gallons casks, slung with ropes, in order to load upon horses, as smuggled brandy commonly is; there were seven persons in the Cutter, I cannot say any of the prisoners at the bar were there. I carried these goods to the Custom-house at Pool , and delivered them into the charge of the Collector of the Customs there, William Milner , Esq; The tea was deposited in the upper part of the Warehouse, the brandy and rum were lodged in another part beneath.
William Milner , Esq; I am Collector of the Customs at Pool. On the 22d, or 23d of September Captain Johnson brought a vessel, whose name was given to me to be the Three-Brothers. She had burden two ton of tea, thirty-nine casks of brandy and rum, and a small bag of coffee. The tea was put in the upper part over the Custom-house all together, except one small bag, which was damaged, which we put by the chimney. We made it secure; but it was took away.
Q. Give us an account how?
Milner. On the 7th of October, between two and three in the morning, I had advice brought me, by one of the Officers, that the Custom-house was broke open; the staples were forced out of the posts, about five or six foot farther there was another door broken; at the door of my office the upper pannel was broke in pieces, as if done with a hatchet; by which means they could more easily come at the lock, which was broke, and another door, leading up into the ware-house, was also broke in pieces. So that there was a free passage made up to the tea ware-house, and the tea all carried off, except what was scattered over the floor. Most of the bags having been opened about an inch or two, to see what a condition it was in, and one bag of about five or six pounds, and the bag of coffee. They never attempted the brandy and rum.
Q. Did any body ever come to claim the brandy and rum?
Milner. No, it was condemned in the Exchequer.
Q. Was the tea in such sort of package as the East-India Company have?
Milner. No, Sir, it was pack'd as is usual for run tea, and the brandy was in small casks all slung.
Q. Do you know any thing of its being broke open?
Raise. It was broke open soon after Michaelmas . I do not know the day of the month. It was a year ago last October. There was tea taken out of it.
Court. Look at the prisoners. Do you know either of them?
Raise. I know them all.
Q. Give us an account of what you know about it.
Raise. I was not at their first meeting. The first time I was with them about it was in Chaulton Forest , belonging to the Duke of Richmond: There was only Richard Perin of the prisoners there then. We set our hands to a piece of paper to go and break
Q. Were all the prisoners arm'd?
Raise. To the best of my knowledge all the prisoners were armed; we sent two men to see if all things were clear for us to go to work, in breaking the Ware-house, &c. The men were Thomas Willis and Thomas Stringer ; Thomas Willis came to us, and said, there was a large Sloop lay up against the Key; she'll plant her guns to the Custom-house door, and tear us to pieces, so it cannot be done. We were turning our horses to go back. Kingsmill, and Fairall, and the rest of their countrymen, said, if you will not do it, we will go and do it ourselves. This was the Hawkhurst gang; John and Richard Mills were with them: We call them the East-country people; they were fetched to help break the Custom-house, &c. Thomas Stringer came to us, and said, the tide was low, and that vessel could not bring her guns to bear to fire upon us . Then we all went forward to Pool: We rid down a little back lane on the left side the Town, and came to the sea-side. There we quitted our horses, Richard Perrin and Thomas Lillewhite staid there to look after them. We went forward, and, going along, we met a lad, a fisherman going to fish, we kept him a prisoner: When we came to the Custom-house, we broke open the door; there were two men who lay in the under part of it, we took them prisoners too; then we broke open the door of the inside; and , when we found where the tea was, we took it away: There was about thirty seven hundred , three quarters. We brought it to the horses, and slung it with the slings, and loaded our horses with it; the horses were, as near as I can guess , two or three hundred yards off the Custom-house. We sackt it in what we call horse-sacks to load; the five prisoners at the bar were there. Then we went to a place called Fording-bridge , there we breakfasted, and fed our horses. There were thirty one horses, and thirty men of us; the odd horse was for the East-country men to carry their arms .
Q. Did you see either of the prisoners assist in breaking the Custom-house?
Raise. I saw Fairall and Kingsmill carry tea from the Custom-house to the horses. When we came to a place called Brook , there we got two pair of steelyards, and weighed the tea, and equally divided to each man his share ; it made five bags a man, about twenty-seven pound in a bag ; the two men, that held the horses , had the same quantity.
Q. Were you all arm'd, are you sure?
Q. Had Lilleywhite arms?
Raise. Lilleywhite lay at my house on Sunday night, and another man with him, their horses were in my stable.
Q. Was Glover ever reputed a smuggler before, or did he ever act as such?
Raise. No, not as I know of, neither before or since. Richard Perrin was the merchant that went over to Guernsey to buy this cargo of brandy, rum, and tea. I paid him part of the money as my share to go. He told me, after the goods were taken , and put on board another vessel, that he had lost the tea by the Swift Privateer, Captain Johnson.
William Steel . When I came home, I was told the goods were lost, taken by Captain Johnson. The first time we met, I cannot say any of the prisoners were there, when we met in Charlton Forest at the Center-tree, I believe Richard Perrin was there; there were a great many of us there; this was some time in October; we met to conclude about getting this tea out of Pool Custom-houses . We came to some conclusion there; from thence we came to Rowland's Castle on Sunday in the afternoon; there were about twenty of us. I think Thomas Lilleywhite was there.
Q. Were there any of your company armed?
Steel. I cannot say there were any arms there on the Sunday . On the Monday in the afternoon, some time before sun-set, when we set out, every man was armed .
Q. How came they by their arms?
Steel. They had them from their own houses , as far as I know . I do not remember one man without; some had pistols, some blunderbusses ; all
Q. Did you carry the tea to your horses, or did you bring the horses to the tea?
Steel. We carried the tea to a plain place convenient for loading. Then we brought the horses forward to be loaded.
Q. to Raise. Did you carry the tea to the horses?
Raise. I had been employed at the house to tie up the tea; and, when I came, the horses were with the tea.
Q. Did you ever know Lilleywhite before ?
Steel. I have known him, and been acquainted with him, four or five years; he joined us at Rowland's Castle .
Q. Who came there first he or you?
Steel. He was there first.
Q. What arms was upon that little horse ?
Steel. I think there were seven long muskets on him.
Q. Were they arms for you?
Steel. We had arms before that; they were brought for their own use.
Q. Had Lilleywhite any arms when holding the horses?
Steel. I cannot say that he had.
Q. Did you all put down your names on a piece of paper to go upon this affair?
Q. Was Lilleywhite's name put down?
Steel. I cannot say it was.
Q. Was Glover ever concerned in smuggling before this?
Steel. No, I believe he never was before or since.
Q. Did you ever hear he went with reluctancy much against his will?
Steel. As to that, I never heard he did; but I believe Richards forced him to it; this I know, Glover lived in his house, and I believe Richards was the occasion of his going with us.
Q. Who was your commander?
Steel. There was no-body took the lead one more than the other.
Robert Fogden . I remember the time this tea was seized upon. I was at the consultation in Charlton Forest ; there we concluded to go after the tea; this was at a noted tree that stood in the forest, called the Centre-tree. I do not know whether either of the prisoners were there. I was not at Rowland's Castle, I was, with others of the company, on a Common just below.
Q. Were any of the prisoners at the house you was at?
Fogden. No, not one. At the forest of Bare there were, I believe, all the five prisoners . We met together at a lone place there; we staid there till these Hawkhurst men came to us; then there were thirty of us in number.
Q. Were you all armed?
Fogden. To the best of my knowledge they were all armed.
Q. For what purpose did you meet there?
Fogden. We were going to fetch away the tea that had been taken from us, and lodged in the Custom-house.
Q. Where did you get them?
Fogden . I cannot tell.
Q. Where did you find the tea lodged?
Fogden. It was in the top of the ware-house.
Q. Did you carry it away?
Fogden. Yes, we did.
Q. Were any of the prisoners at the bar concerned in it?
Fogden. They were there, and did assist as the rest, except the two that held the horses. We brought the horses to a place near, and then carried the tea to them. It was a very narrow lane where we stopped first, and we brought the horses up to a more open place for loading.
Q. Did the prisoners at the bar help you load?
Fogden. Yes, all of them.
Q. Did you put an equal quantity on each horse?
Fogden. We distributed it as near as we could. There was one little horse, that carried the arms, had not so much as the other horses had on them. Every horse there was loaded with tea; from thence we went to a little town called Fording-bridge ; at the next place we stopp'd, we weigh'd the tea with two pair of steelyards ; for we thought it was not equal, some was shattered out of some of the bags. Then we divided it as equal as we could; they were quartern bags, each prisoner had five bags.
Q. When did you see Lilleywhite first?
Fogden. In the Forest, I never saw him before .
Q. Was he there before or after you?
Fogden. I cannot tell.
Q. Did you hear any threats, if any should discover this affair, what should be done to them?
Fogden. No, Sir.
Q. Had Lilleywhite arms when left with the horses ?
Fogden. I believe he had not.
Q. Did you never hear he was a smuggler?
Guy. I can't say but I have heard him so call'd.
Q. Did you never hear he was a smuggler ?
Guy. No, never but by hear-say, as folks talk.
William Tapling . I have known Richard Glover twenty years. I never heard, before this unhappy affair , that he was a smuggler. I believe he never was before. I know his brother-in-law Richards; and that Glover was about two months with him. Richards is a notorious wicked, swearing man, and reputed a great smuggler; and I can't help thinking he was the occasion of Glover's acting in this.
Q. Did you never hear he was a smuggler?
Housal . Never before this. He lived with his father till the year 1744. His father dying, he followed his business till Aug. 1747. He went in the beginning of June to that wicked brother's house, and was there about two months. He went after that to live servant with the Rev. Mr. Blackden; after that he got into Deptford-yard , and there he continued ever since, till taken up, apprentice to a shipwright. This affair was in the very time he was at his brother-in-law's house.
John Grasswell . I have known Glover these twelve years and upwards. I believe he never was guilty of smugling before this, his character is exceeding good. I never knew him frequent bad company, or guilty of drinking or swearing an oath.
Woodruff Drinkwater. I have known Glover ever since he was born; I never heard he was reputed a smuggler either before or since, exclusive of this time, his temper is not formed for it at all, far from it; after his father died he was left joint executor with his mother , (left in narrow circumstances) he often came to me on any little occasion for five or ten guineas; he always kept his word; after his mother married again, there was some difference in his family, he went into the country, and I was very sorry for him at his going to Richard's house, and I cannot think he was voluntary in this rash action.
Mr. Edmonds. I have known Glover ever since the 9th of April last he came to me, and was entered
Mr. Dearing. I live in the parish where this young man was born, I go there for the summer season ; I have known him about eighteen years; I being informed of this bad thing, made me come to London on purpose to say what I knew of him: we in the country had great reason to believe that bad man Richards had corrupted him , he was a well behaved lad before this happened: his uncle came to me, and the young man came and begg'd of his uncle that he would see out for some business for him in some way or other, adding he could not bear to live with Richards; I had just hir'd a servant or I had took him: just after this bad affair happen'd, and he was unfortunately drawn into it.
The Revd. Mr. Blackden. I live at Slendon in Sussex , the prisoner Glover was my servant, I knew him and his family before; he behaved exceeding well with me as any could, and if he was discharg'd from this I would readily take him again; he attended in religious service publick and private constant; I never heard an ill word or oath from his mouth, or any thing vulgar.
His defence. I was down in that country, and a person desir'd me to take a ride with him, I agreed upon it, not knowing where they were going; I had no fire-arms, nor was any way concerned.
Fra. Wheeler. I have known Lilleywhite about six years, he always bore a very good character; a worthy young fellow, he was brought up in the farming under his father, who is a man in very good circumstances, he minded his father's business very diligently: I have known him refuse going out upon parties of pleasure, because he has had business of his father's to do; he married since this affair happened to a woman of fortune; I never heard him charg'd with any such crime as this before.
Sir Cecil Bishop . The prisoner married my housekeeper's daughter; had not he been a man of good character, I should not have been consenting to the match, which I was; she brought him a fortune, and he is a deserving young man.