Charles Fitzgerald.
30th May 1750
Reference Numbert17500530-4
VerdictNot Guilty

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372. Charles Fitzgerald , otherwise Gibson, otherwise Mecarty, otherwise Desmond, otherwise Earl of Desmond , was indicted, for that on the 15th of February , in the parish of St. George the martyr, Middlesex , he being a subject of the crown of Great Britain, feloniously did hire one George Pearce , he being a subject of this realm, with the intent that he should serve the French King as a soldier, without leave or licence from

his Majesty then and there obtained, in contempt of outsaid Lord the King, and his laws .

George Pearce . I am a plumber , I live in St. Martin's-lane, a little below the church; I was sitting at home the 28th of January last, there came a servant with a letter to me, I read it, at the bottom was signed Desmond; I ask'd him who this Desmond was, he said, the Earl of Desmond ; I said, give my service to his lordship, I'll wait on him.

Q. Were is this letter?

Pearce. I lost it, but the purport of it was, that there was a certain lady of quality that had some business to do to some houses in Wild-street, and a friend of mine had recommended me to the prisoner, and he would recommend me to the lady to do this business. I went to the prisoner's house in Queen's-square Bloomsbury, I was ordered up stairs, there was the Prisoner sitting with a book in his hand, he desir'd me to walk in and sit down, and brought a chair to me himself, he desir'd me to drink a dram; I never saw or heard of him before in my life; he told me the lady would not be there 'till three o'clock, and ask'd me to dine with him; I said, I expected some company to dine with me at home, so I would go home and return again by four o'clock, I did not stay with him above half an hour the first time. When I went again at the time appointed, I saw a person whom he called my Lady Gunston, he recommended me to do the plumber's work to some houses of hers in Wild-street; she immediately reply'd, she had some work to do but did not think to do it then, but as soon as it was to do I should do it. As I was going away he desired I would come again the next day and dine with him, which accordingly I did; after dinner he began to complain of the hardship he had received from the present government, and especially of one Mr. Carrington, a messenger, he gave him as many ill names as possible; then he ask'd me if I should like to go to France, saying, he was going, having an order from the King of France to come over, and that he had been with the French ambassador, who told him he would not give him above 150 l. for his passage to France, adding, he would not go without money enough to pay his debts; I told him, I believed I should go to France or Ireland this summer; he told me if I would go with him to France, he would get me a captain's commission in a regiment in France, and at the least it should not cost me above 100 l. which I could very well afford; then we began to drink healths, he drank Prince Charles, the French King his master, all which healths I drank. Late at night he drank damnation to the Protestant succession, which I refus'd to drink, and wanted to leave him; he told me he had 900 l. lay in Sir Daniel Lambert 's hands, and insisted on my going there with him; we took a hackney coach and two servants in livery with us, their livery were green, with scarlet waistcoats trimm'd with silver. We went towards dusk, when there I waited in the coach some considerable time, the prisoner came out, having had some discourse with Sir Daniel, and desired me to walk in, I did, Sir Daniel was sitting at the corner of the compting-house, the prisoner said he wanted to talk with Sir Daniel, and beg'd I would go out, accordingly I did, and walk'd about on the pavement; then he came out and said Sir Daniel expected the money very soon for him, then we drove away. Coming to the black horse in the Strand, he said he was very dry, we stop'd there, the servants had a pot of porter, and we another in the coach: then we drove to the corner of the lane, put his servants in a house there and went to my house, my wife had never seen his lordship before; we went down to Mr. Drummonds, were he said he believed he had some money; he ran up stairs, I waited in the hall; then we went from thence to his own house that night, there I parted with him, but I was a little in liquor, I think he sent a servant home with me but I am not certain; the next day my wife and I went to his house and din'd with him, in the afternoon he took me into the closet, and the same discourse went on between us, that is, insisting on my going to France, and to be a captain in a regiment, telling me my cloaths should not cost me anything, he should have money enough to pay for them himself. We staid there pretty late, he and one Mrs. Pearce, whom he kept company with, came to our house, he lay with me, and she with my wife; she went for his housekeeper, she is a bricklayer's wife; all the time during this we had continual discourse in the same way. In the afternoon, that is, on the 31st of January, one Isaac Osbridge came to take measure of me. He said his order was to make them in the fashion that would suit the French Court, I knew nothing of his coming before he came.

Q. Did you give any directions concerning the fashion?

Pearce. No, none at all. I did not know what was the fashion.

Q. Are these cloaths paid for?

Pearce. No, they are not yet, one of the suits I wore for upwards of a month.

Q. How many suits were ordered?

Pearce. There were three suits order'd and made, and I had them all in my custody. After that we were continually together every day, still holding on the same discourse.

Q. Where are the cloaths?

Pearce. They are now in Court.

Q. Did you lay down the business of a plumber?

Pearce. No, I did not; I had a fore-man who did that for me. I was at the Prisoner's house three or four nights without the knowledge of my wife, and design'd she should not know any thing of my agreeing to go abroad, thinking at the same time there was enough at home to supply her with what she might want. 'Twas on the day the last earthquake happen'd, (at the time of the shock we were at breakfast at the Prisoner's house) that we agreed to go to Windsor together, in order to be conceal'd for his taking me abroad. On Sunday the 11th of February I went to Windsor; and the Wednesday following the Prisoner was sent for to London ; and I went to Reading, and from thence to Ockingham, returning the same evening, as did the Prisoner at the bar from London. Then we both went to Reading; and whilst we were there, a messenger was sent for him, so he was oblig'd to go to Windsor, upon what business I know not. On the Friday following I went to Henley fair, and the Prisoner came to London, and return'd on Sunday night to me at Reading; and Mr. Holmes, a plumber there, and an old acquaintance, came to us on Monday morning, and brought some money, of which I was a little short, to bring me away. The Prisoner too brought me some money, which, he said, was from Mr. Nevel, a silversmith. We had the same discourse before Mr. Holmes, and he told him that I had engag'd myself to go along with him, and that I was to be a captain in the French King's service.

Q. Did you design to go to France with him?

Pearce. Yes, I did. We fix'd upon several days to set out, but could not raise money.

Q. What became of the cloaths after you had wore them?

Pearce. I gave the Prisoner my key; and as we wanted a little money, the Prisoner, with my consent, sent them by his servant to pawn for ten guineas to one Singleton by Red-lion-square; of which sum I had three or four guineas, the rest the Prisoner kept. I was in Windfor at the same time, and, to tell the truth, did not design to carry on the business of a plumber any longer.

[One of the coats was blue trimm'd with gold, with two rows of lace round the collar ; the others were lac'd with silver.]

Isaac Osbridge . I am a taylor. I took measure of Mr. Pearce, by and for whom I had orders to make the cloaths, at the recommendation of the Prisoner, who, when I took measure, directed me in regard to their being made; and this I made, (holding the coat in his hand ) the other two are made in a richer manner than this.

Q. Who did you expect was to pay you?

Osbridge. I imagin'd Mr. Pearce was to pay me, but I am not paid yet, neither have I demanded the money, tho' he has ask'd me for my bill.

Q. Was you acquainted with Mr. Pearce before?

Osbridge. No; I was not: but with the Prisoner I have been acquainted these five or six months, to whom I one day went, who inform'd me of his having got me a very good customer, and a man of fortune too, in which quality I then look'd upon the Prisoner, and express'd my obligation to him for his kindness: He then wrote a letter to Mr. Pearce who happen'd not to be at home that day. I believe I call'd the next day, but did not see either of them till one day the Prisoner chanc'd to be at Mr. Pearce's house, when I was sent for.

Q. Did not you arrest the Prisoner at the bar for the money for those cloaths?

Osbridge. No; I never did.

Q. Are you used to make such cloaths as those for plumbers?

Osbridge. No, Sir.

Q. Did you know he was a plumber then?

Osbridge. Yes, I did; and I heard he was a man of fortune.

Q. Do you know they are regimentals of any country?

Osbridge. Really I do not know.

Q. Who ordered them to be made in that form?

Osbridge. The Prisoner at the bar. They were both together, and told me to make them as rich as I could.

Q. Is it the fashion of England to make them so?

Osbridge. It is, Sir.

Q. Was you directed to put the lace on in any particular form?

Osbridge. I had no particular order; my order was to make them as rich as I could, and to put the lace on according to my own mind.

Q. Who do you look upon to be debtor for them?

Osbridge. I enter'd in my book Mr. Pearce debtor.

Q. to Mr. Pearce. Who had the money the cloaths were pawned for?

Pearce. I had some ; the reason was, none of my friends would let me have any money down.

Q. Have not you a fortune lately left you?

Pearce. I do not know what is coming to me as yet, it is in the executor's hands.

Q. Did you receive any more money than what you speak of?

Pearce. I receiv'd about eight guineas at Windsor, which were given to the Prisoner by Mr. Nevil, a silver-smith, and which were to keep me there.

Q. to Osbridge. Where was Mr. Pearce determined to go when these cloaths were ordered to be made?

Osbridge. Upon my word, I judg'd it might be to the jubilee, but cannot be positive. I heard him say they were not fit for England, and that he should go abroad with them.

Q. How came you to name the jubilee?

Osbridge. I have heard it nam'd among the servants in the Prisoner's house, and heard the Prisoner say THEY were to go, but I did not hear it from Mr. Pearce; nor do I know whom the Prisoner meant by that expression.

Q. Did you never hear Pearce was to go to France?

Osbridge. No.

John Holmes . I live at Windsor, and was in company with Mr. Pearce and the Prisoner at Mr. White's, at the Mermaid, about the latter end of February, where they had been drinking, and were fuddled. Mr. Pearce, who sent for me, and I were school-fellows, and our fathers were partners together. Their discourse was upon military affairs, of which I told them I knew something, and drew out on a bit of paper a machine, that I had invented some time ago, for putting the infantry and cavalry in disorder. The Prisoner d - d the D - and the Protestant Succession ; and upon my asking him the reason why he did so, he said, that he was one of those unhappy gentlemen taken in a ship coming over to assist P - C - in recovering his right; and that he was delivered over to Mr. Carrington, in whose hands he had been almost three years, and whom he would shoot through the head the first time he saw him: he further told me that he had inlisted Mr. Pearce in the foreign service as a captain, and wanted me to go in that station, telling as an encouragement for me his having enlisted Mr. Pearce. Mr. Pearce had one of those suits of cloaths on, and said he had some more, and that he was to be a captain in the Prisoner's company: he added, upon his honour, that I should be joint-engineer along with him (meaning the prisoner) under the King of France; that he would give forty thousand pounds for my machine; that they were going every minute, and that the cloaths he had on were to be his riding-suit.

Q. Did the Prisoner say he had enlisted Mr. Pearce ?

Holmes. He told me twenty times so, and that he had the cloaths made for him. He said likewise that he could make the Dauphin of France drunk, and carry him to a bawdy-house when he pleased; and that he had a house at Orleans in France.

Q. Did Mr. Pearce contradict his being inlisted ?

Holmes. No, he did not, but actually said he was a captain, and wanted me to go along with him. We had this discourse between us at Mr. White's, up one pair of stairs, I believe on the left hand side. I went about seven in the evening, stay'd till about eleven or twelve o'clock at night, and smoak'd a pipe with them. During this talk there were none but us three in the room.

Q. Was Mr. White there?

Holmes. He was there at the beginning of the night, and, for aught I know, he might be there when I was gone, but not when this talk was.

Q. from the Prisoner. Was no body else there but us three?

Holmes. Your doxy and Mr. Pearce's doxy were there, but not with us when we had this discourse.

William White . I keep the Mermaid at Windsor. The Prisoner and Mr. Pearce came to my house on Sunday night about the beginning of February, and two ladies with them. They staid there almost a week, then went away, and afterwards came again, and staid near ten days. I remember Mr. Holmes was several times with them in that time, and they were frequently in company together in the dining-room. The Prisoner had on, I believe, a scarlet coat, trimmed with gold. One evening we went a fishing; but I heard nothing of the discourse. Indeed, I heard Mr. Pearce and the Prisoner talk of going to France, and that they were to set out such and such a time, but that they were to go to Oxford first.

Prisoner's Defence.

When Mr. Pearce first came to my house, he came upon a letter I wrote him on the influence of Lady Gunston, wife to Sir John, who was chairman at Westminster for a considerable time. She told me she had a house to repair in Wild-street. When Mr. Pearce came, he asked me my business with him. I told him I expected the Lady in a few minutes; but he said he must go home to dine with company, and that he would be with me

again about three o'clock. He accordingly came, as did at the same time Lady Gunston, and they came to an agreement. I then ask'd him if he would drink a glass of punch. Some time after the Duke of Hamilton's health was toasted; upon which some of the company asked me where he was; to whom I made answer that he was in Rome, he having left London in order to go to the jubilee, and I added that I would go to him there. Pearce said he would be at an equal expence in order to go too : and, upon my telling him tradesmen could not dispense with so large a sum, he inform'd me that his father had left him 20,000 l. and that he could spare 500 l. as well as any tradesman in England. He then look'd upon a scarlet coat, which he said was well made, and ask'd me who work'd for me. I told him Mr. Osbridge, whom he desired me to send for, which I did, and Mr. Osbridge came, took his measure, made the cloaths according to his desire, and brought them home. Early on Sunday morning, he, and one miss Williams, whom he keeps company with, came to my house, and insisted on my going to Windsor, telling me he had a four-wheele chaise with two horses, and two saddle horses. I said I was very ill, and could not go; but he would take no denial, but oblig'd me to go with him. I ask'd him how much money he had about him, he said about a guinea. I told him I had not much, and therefore did not care to go without more. He then mentioned his being acquainted with one Mr. Holmes, who would supply him, as he should return in two or three days. We got there very late on Sunday night, and on Monday morning Mr. Holmes prepar'd a fishing-boat, in order to take the diversion of fishing. Afterwards I told Mr. Pearce it was inconsistent with our interest to stay here; but, said he, to tell you the naked truth, I am so much in debt that I am afraid of being arrested. An express was now sent for me; I was arrested, and the gentleman, who gave bail for me, is now in court. I was to have been in town in a limited time, to have satisfied him for it; however, I left Windsor. Pearce insisted on my returning again, to do which I was very unwilling; but he insisted upon it, and accordingly sent his chaise and two horses for me. Upon their arrival I was sitting at Mr. Johnson's door, and was told he wanted me upon earnest business. I went, and when I came there, he told me he had not money enough to defray the expences; he spoke to one of my servants, and desired him to pawn the cloaths. The man did, and brought him the money. Afterwards Mr. Pearce went to Reading, and said positively, he would not return home. He wrote to his wife, and call'd her a d - d bitch of a whore, and that he would never cohabit with her more, and that he loved this woman's little finger he had with him, better than he did her whole body, and that he would settle something agreeable upon her, as soon as his fortune came to his hands. By his intreaties he prevailed on me to go to Reading with him. After we had been there two days, some men came there, Mr. Holmes was one; he came just as we were going to dinner: I asked him if he would not dine with us; he told me he had just dined, but he would drink with us. While we were at dinner, he entertained us with a machine, saying, he could make it with iron graffles, so that a thousand men should beat twenty thousand, and cut them to pieces, sword in hand. I told him it was impracticable ; he told me he had shewed it to the D - of C - ; I asked him how he paid him? he d - d him, and said, his h - was too thick to conceive the meaning of it. I returned after dinner, and came to town, in order to settle my affairs, and can make it appear I never inlisted a man in my life; it is below me. Mr. Attorney-General mov'd against me last Sessions; and Mr. Carrington took the most disorderly steps that man could, in order to take away my life. Mr. Pearce was so punctual to the time of our return, that I said I should return in six months; and he agreed to my time, for in that time, said he, I shall inherit my father's fortune, and improve the liberal education he gave me, hoping I shall turn out an honour to my country.

John Cennet . I was in company with Mr. Pearce three or four times at the prisoner's house, and never heard a word of inlisting. I have heard him and the Prisoner talk of going to the jubilee at Rome, and was with them when the taylor was at the Prisoner's house, and understood those cloaths were to be made fitting for Mr. Pearce to go to the jubilee; which was mentioned to the taylor in my hearing.

Q. Who was to pay the taylor for those cloaths?

Cennet. I do not know that; but I suppose each was to pay for his own cloaths.

Q. Did you not hear of their going to France?

Cennet. They talk'd of going through France to Rome.

Q. Did you hear the Prisoner had inlisted the Prosecutor?

Cennet. No; nor had I any reason to think so.

Q. What countryman is the Prisoner?

Cennet. He is an Irishman.

Q. How long have you been acquainted with him?

Cennet. I never saw him till the last races in Tothill-fields; and coming by Bridewell, somebody said the Earl of Desmond was Prisoner there, which induc'd me to go in, and I never saw him afterwards till I saw him in Queen-square. I get notes discounted; and he sent to me a note of Mr. Pearce's, of 54 l. 18 s. which I carried to a distiller in the Hay-market, and told him the Prisoner would take 10 or 20 gallons of rum, and allow the discount besides. I left the note, and the distiller went to Mr. Pearce's, and made some enquiry; but then he said he was told by some other person that it was a sham note. I went to Queen-square, where I found Mr. Pearce, and we went to the distiller, whom he said he would pay; but the distiller not thinking proper to discount it, I return'd it to the Prisoner at the bar.

Cross examined.

Q. Where do you live?

Cennet. In Round-court in the Strand.

Q. Who paid you for your trouble in going with this note?

Cennet. The Prisoner did.

Q. What do you deal in?

Cennet. I deal sometimes in liquor, sometimes in Irish linens, sometimes in Irish stuffs, and in getting notes discounted.

Q. Are you a house-keeper?

Cennet. No, I am not, Sir; I am a lodger, and have a second floor.

Q. Have not you and the Prisoner been very private together since this?

Cennet. I was never half an hour together with him in my life.

Q. Did you ever hear the Prisoner say he had inlisted Mr. Pearce to serve the French King?

Cennet. I believe he did own to me he had prevail'd with Mr. Pearce to go abroad to Rome, and that they were to go together.

Q. Did you hear Pearce say he was to go into any foreign service?

Cennet. I cannot recollect I ever did. If you please you may ask Mr. Pearce if I was not the first person that wrote to him to put him on his guard.

Q. Guard! for what?

Cennet. That the Prisoner should not take him in for a good deal of money.

Pearce to the question. I receiv'd a letter to take care of a sham Lord, or else I should suffer by him.

Q. to Cennet. Did you know who was to pay the taylor for those cloaths?

Cennet. I heard the taylor say he had got a draught on Mr. Pearce for 100 l.

Q. to Osbridge. Had you a note of Mr. Pearce for the payment of these cloaths ?

Osbridge. I never had a note for these cloaths.

John Novel . I am a goldsmith. About the beginning of February there was wrote down in my book that I was to wait on the Earl of Desmond. Accordingly on the Monday following I went to his Lordship's house, who gave me an account of some plate, which I did not like, and therefore departed. He sent for me again, and said he would give me a draught upon as good a man as any in England, meaning Mr. Pearce. Upon enquiry I found the draught was good, and I have it here. I therefore went a second time to my Lord's house, and Mr. Pearce was there, whom I ask'd if he did accept the draught; and he said he did. I then deliver'd a hundred pound's worth of plate at his Lordship's house. This is all I know of between them. Mr. Pearce has been out of the way ever since.

Q. to Osbridge. Did Pearce ever employ you to make his servant a suit of livery ?

Osbridge. Yes, he did.

Q. Did you make them?

Osbridge. No, this affair has stop'd it, they are not finished.

Q. What were they to be?

Osbridge. They were to have been a brown coat, with a silver shoulder-knot, scarlet waistcoat and breeches.

Q. Supposing Mr. Pearce should not be bound in point of law to pay you for these cloaths you have made, what will you do?

Osbridge. Then I must lose it.

Q. Would you not demand it of the Prisoner?

Osbridge. No, Sir, I should not.

Frances Pearce . Mr. Pearce came to our house in Queen's-square, I was house keeper to the Prisoner.

Q. Was it a house or a lodging?

F. Pearce. It was not a lodging, it was a whole house, the Prisoner took it by the month, he had a cook there, and other servants.

Prisoner. This witness was always in my company when gentlemen were with me. I was under great obligations to her, she supplied me with money to see counsel last November.

Q. to F. Pearce. Did you ever hear the Prisoner talk of inlisting Mr. Pearce into the French King's service ?

F. Pearce. No, I never did.

Q. How came Pearce and the Prisoner first acquainted ?

F. Pearce. My lady Gunston wanted a plumber, and as they were drinking, they talk'd over the election affairs, and duke Hamilton's name came

up. The Prisoner said, he should see him soon. Mr. Pearce said, he should be glad to go along with him, for he could afford to spend seven or eight hundred pounds, as well as any tradesman in London

Q. Where was he to go?

F. Pearce. To the jubilee. Mr. Pearce came the next day to dinner, the Prisoner bid him consider upon it, saying, it was a great expence to go; he said he did not care for that, and insisted on going along with the Prisoner. He ask'd the Prisoner who made his cloaths ; the Prisoner told him, Mr. Osbridge. Mr. Pearce desired he would send for him, which he did; he had three suits of cloaths made in order to go there. On the fifth of March he hired a black to go with him; he agreed to give him ten pounds a year.

Q. Did not you hear mention made of going to France?

F. Pearce. I never heard a word of France mentioned. When the taylor brought home the cloaths, he said they came to a hundred and fifty pounds.

Q. Where were they brought to?

F. Pearce. They were brought to the Prisoner's, and fitted on Mr. Pearce there.

Q. What became of the cloaths after this?

F. Pearce. He sent them to a young lady's house which he kept company with, who was to go along with him.

Q. Who was to pay for the cloaths?

F. Pearce. I do not know. The Prisoner said, he should return in about six months. Pearce said that would just suit him, his fortune would come due at that time, which he said was twenty or thirty thousand pounds.

Cross examined.

Q. Are you a married woman?

F. Pearce. Yes, I am, Sir.

Q. Is your husband living?

F. Pearce. He is, Sir.

Q. Was you at Windsor with Mr. Pearce and the Prisoner?

F. Pearce. Yes, I was. I was three times with them.

Q. What was the other lady's name?

F. Pearce. Her name is Molly Williams .

Q. Is she married?

F. Pearce. She is not.

Q. What trade is your husband ?

F. Pearce. My husband is a bricklayer.

Q. Do you not live with your husband?

F. Pearce. My husband went and lived with me and the Prisoner there.

Q. What time was Mr. Pearce's cloaths tried on?

F. Pearce. On a Saturday night. He came in a hackney coach, and the your glady ; she said she was not willing to go to Windsor with two men, without my company with her, so I went along with her. Mr. Pearce had a four wheel chaise, and I rode a single horse, so did my lord, and a footman.

Q. Did your husband go down with you?

F. Pearce. No, he did not.

Q. What time was Mr. Pearce sent for to come to lady Gunston ?

F. Pearce. About four o'clock in the afternoon.

Q. Do you remember their dining there the next day?

F. Pearce. Yes, I do very well, Sir.

Q. Do you remember their going out in a coach together ?

F. Pearce. I do not, Sir.

Q. Do you know Mr. Cennet ?

F. Pearce. Yes, he came frequently to my master's house.

Q. How long have you known him?

F. Pearce. About six months.

Q. Do you know how long the Prisoner was acquainted with him?

F. Pearce. I do not.

Q. Was you in company with them at Windsor, when Mr. Holmes was there?

F. Pearce. I was, and I hear d him say, he drew a draught of his machine, and explain'd it to the D - of C - ; and he said, d - n the D - of C - , his h - was too thick to take it in.

Holmes. The Prisoner told me this Cennet was his attorney Acquitted .

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