Gerrard Bunn.
17th April 1751
Reference Numbert17510417-24

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286. (M.) Gerrard Bunn , was indicted, for that he in his own dwelling house did make an assault on Frederick Benson , one rugg coat, value 14 s. one rugg waistcoat, value 5 s. one knife, one linen handkerchief, against the will of the said Frederick, from his person did steal , March 18 . *

Frederick Benson was a Hamburger and understood English very well, but talked it not very intelligible, so Christopher Gates a Hanoverian was sworn to interpret sentence by sentence to the court, which was as follows,

Frederick Benson. On Monday morning at half an hour past three, the 18th of March, the prisoner came and attacked me in the street by the Tower .

Q. Who attacked you?

Benson. He took me by the coat and arm, and said I shall go along with him, and shall have a good fire and a good lodging; he took me thus into his own house near there: when I was in the house he asked me whether I had any money; I said I had got no money, for what must I have money I asked him? he answered, you thief I lent you ten shillings in the street; then he searched my pocket, and took out a linen handkerchief, snuff box and knife, then he said you thief pull off your cloaths, and took a pistol and held it to my breast. I was so frighten'd, that I could not pull off my cloaths, so he pull'd them off, the same coat and waistcoat I have now on; then he took out one of my buckles from my shoe, and look'd by the light to see if it was silver, he saw it was not, then he gave it me again; then he took a stick and beat me out of the house, and said you thief come no more in my house: so when I was in the street, I went backwards and forwards till five o'clock to watch his door. I met Luke Smith a watchman, and told him the story as well as I could; he went with me to the constable, the constable said he must have an order from a justice; then we went to a justice, the watchman knows his name: then we went to the prisoner's house, I asked the prisoner if he knew what he did to me last night? he said yes: I desired him to give me my cloaths, he said I must pay him 10 s. I said for what, at last the prisoner said I should give him a dram to drink together to make it up; then he ordered his wife to bring me my cloaths, which she did and I put them on.

On his cross examination he said he never saw the prisoner before he stopp'd him in the street that night, that he did not stay in the house above five minutes, that he had no beer in the house, that he did not see any women there, but heard the voice of a woman talking up stairs; that he never proposed to sell a handkerchief there; that he did meet a watchman before he met with Luke Smith , but that he could not make him understand him; that he was then as sober as he is now, and that he went and got a warrant the same day in the afternoon.

Mary Hall. I went into an alehouse called the Bremen-arms by the Tower-ditch side, about 9 o'clock on the 18th of March, the prisoner came in, he lives near; said he, was not I used ill here last night? the maid of the house said you used a man ill, you clapp'd a pistol to his breast, and said you'd shoot him if he would not give you his money.

Q. Was this in the prisoner's house?

M. Hall. We had heard it talked of that morning, but not that he did it in the Bremen-arms ; I live at another alehouse hard by the black boy and trumpet, and I happened to be there at this time to see if they had any of our pots.

Q. What answer did the prisoner make?

M. Hall. He said he had authority to do what he did, and he'd do it again, but it was not said at whose house he did this thing.

Luke Smith . I am a watchman in St. Catharine's-court :

I met the prosecutor about five o'clock in the morning, the 18th of March, with neither coat nor waistcoat on; he told me he had been robb'd, and that he knew the man that robb'd him, and where he lived; I went with him to the prisoner's house, he was not up; then we went to the Bremen-arms, where he had left his money over-night, which was three half crowns, one shilling and six-pence, and five-pence halfpenny in halfpence, which he received, we had there a pot of beer; then we went to see if the prisoner was up, and we found him up. Said the prisoner to the prosecutor, if you are an honest man you owe me ten shillings. The prosecutor said, he ow'd him not a farthing; saying, he had not been in the house five minutes. Then said the prisoner to a woman, go fetch the man's cloaths. She did, the prosecutor put them on his back. Then said the prisoner, must not I have satisfaction for the money you have had of me? said the prosecutor, I owe you nothing; said the prisoner, I will make it up very easy, you shall give me a quartern of brandy; we had a quartern of brandy, the prisoner and I drank it, the prosecutor drank none; he gave the prisoner a shilling to change, the prisoner kept it all and gave him no change.

Q. Did he tell him then of having held a pistol to his breast, &c.?

Smith. No, he did not then.

Q. Did he tell you, when he met you without his coat and waistcoat, in the street?

Smith. Yes, he did, my Lord.

On his cross examination he said, he could not say he heard the prisoner say, he had lent him ten shillings; that he could understand the prosecutor in some words, but not all he said.

Prisoner's Defence.

This foreigner came into my house at past one o'clock in the morning, he sat down, I was smoaking a pipe; he ask'd me if I had got any beer; I told him I had none in my house, but I would go and fetch a pot. Said he, then go and fetch two, and by the time we have drank them it will be light enough for me to go about my business. We sat about two hours, he told me, he had two pieces of India handkerchiefs, which he had left in a house at Wapping, and if I would lend him a trifle of money, he would be up in the morning and redeem his coat and waistcoat, which he would leave with me for it. He laying the case so plausible to me I gave him the money, he put it into his pocket. Then he said, could I sit down a little longer; said I, the woman is sitting up with the child, and I must go and take my rest; so he went out, and I did not see him till about nine o'clock, when he came with the watchman; then he said, where are my cloaths, they were brought down and he put them on. I ask'd him for the money before he put them on, he told me he had three half guineas just at hand, where he had left them, and that he would come and pay me; we drank a dram together.

Q. to Smith. Did you hear him talk of three half guineas?

Smith. I heard no such talk.

Q. Did he talk of three half crowns he had left any where else?

Smith. No, he did not in my hearing, nor of his coming to pay the prisoner.

For the Prisoner.

Eleanor Bunn . I live at the Windmill in Rosemary-lane, near Tower-hill: On Sunday night, the 17th of March the day kept as a patron to our country, I and some others were at the prisoner's house and had a dish of fish; I sat up with a child that was ill to put it to sleep, and the prisoner was up too; between twelve and one o'clock in the morning a man knock'd at the door, I thinking it was my husband, the prisoner got up to let him in; it was the prosecutor, I had the child in a blanket in my lap. He said, shipmate, let me have a pot of beer. Friend, said Mr. Bunn, I don't sell beer, but if you will have a pot, I'll send for a pot for you; he sat down. The prisoner was going for a pot, he said, you may as well bring two pots, so Mr. Bunn brought two pots in; we drank about for the space of an hour; said he, I am come from India, and have some handkerchiefs to dispose of, and if you will help me to customers, I'll make you a present. Mr. Bunn said, I want nothing of you. Said the prosecutor, if you will lend me six shillings I'll leave my coat and waistcoat, so he tied his coat up in a handkerchief, and pull'd his waistcoat off and flung it down upon the coat; as it lay on the dresser the prosecutor took a knife out of his pocket, and began to piddle with it on the bar. The prisoner said, give me that, I don't think you take it out with a good design; so he took it out of his hand and shut it up, and put it into his waistcoat pocket that lay on the bundle; saying, friend, when you have the other things you shall have the knife. Mr. Bunn said, friend, I'll freely give you the half gallon of beer, or you may call and pay me when you will. The gentleman went out between one and two o'clock, saying, I'll go for the handkerchiefs, Mr. Bunn

would have had me go and lay down on the bed and not go home, but I went home.

Q. to the prosecutor. Did you see this woman in the house when you was there?

Prosecutor. I never saw this woman in all my days before now.

To his Character.

Thomas Gilsoyn . I have known the prisoner two years and upwards, I have been acquainted with him in a good many shapes backwards and forwards.

Q. What is his general character?

Gilsoyn. I have nothing to say to any man's character.

Q. Did you ever hear any ill of him?

Gilsoyn. There may be such a thing spoken, but. I know nothing abou t it.

Elizabeth More . I have known him upwards of two years, I know nothing of him but what is very honest.

Mary Lovet . I have known him about two years and a half: I keep a chandler's shop, he deals with me and has always paid me very honestly.

Q. Is he a housekeeper?

M. Lovet. I believe he is.

William Cromartie . I have known him about three years, he is a very honest, sober, and civil man.

John Carwell . I have known him a twelve-month, I never heard any harm of him; he has dealt with me and always paid me.

Ralph Mitchel . I have known the prisoner about three or four years, and instead of being a thief, he has served his king and country along with me, in helping to take thieves.

Guilty .


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