William Ballard.
18th February 1752
Reference Numbert17520218-4
VerdictNot Guilty

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4. William Ballard , was indicted for the murder of Jones Dawling , on the high seas, about 15 leagues, from the town of Kelsey in the county of York , within the Jurisdiction of the Admiralty of England , May 10, 1751 .

Hugh Heyney . The prisoner was master of a fishing vessel that belonged to one Mr. Bloys, Jones Dawling was an apprentice on board the vessel ; the prisoner ordered him to prepare breakfast for the ship's company, he went about it and did it, according to his orders: either in not stirring fast enough, or what I don't know, the prisoner took up a quarter of a firkin, about three quarters of a pound weight, and flung it at the deceased, not with great violence: it hit him on the fore part of the head, near the temple, the minute he received it, he clapp'd his hands to the side of his head, and said, O you have killed me, you have killed me! he lived about 12 hours afterwards.

Q. Do you believe he died of that wound?

Heyney. No, I believe he did not; he did his duty six hours after that, and eat afterwards: he received the blow about eight o'clock in the morning, and about 10 minutes after 8 at night he died.

Q. Did there appear any bruise on his head?

Heyney. No, there did not; he seemed very drowsey and ill, and stirred very slow, before he received the blow,

Q. Was the half firkin full or empty ?

Heyney. It was empty, it was used to put bait in.

Cross examined.

Q. How long have you been acquainted with the prisoner at the bar?

Heyney. About 4 years, he is a very sober man.

Q. How had he used to behave to you?

Heyney. He never used me ill, he always made me know my distance, as other masters do servants.

Q. Did you ever see him strike the boy before?

Heyney. No, I never did in my life.

Benjamin Baster . I am a foremast hand on board the vessel the prisoner was in; I remember in the month of April, between the hours of 7 and 8 in the morning, the prisoner ordered the deceased to put the fish into the kettle; he bid him stir, he did not stir fast enough to his mind; the prisoner threw a piece of a tub at him straight forward; he was about 14 feet from the deceased, it struck him near the fore part of his head, as he stood sideways to the prisoner.

Q. Did he throw it in a passion?

Baster. He did, the poor lad said O Lord! I am dead! he went on with his work, and died about ten minutes after eight at night.

Q. When was he buried?

Baster. He was buried about ten the next day, upon a place called Spoon-Point, that is the first land we were at we sowed him up in 2 Bakers sacks and dug a hole in the ground by the prisoners order.

Q. Did you see any wound on the deceased's head?

Baster. I looked on his head and there was no wound at all; I don't think the blow hurt him so as to be the occasion of his death.

Q. Recollect what evidence you gave at Harwich ?

Baster. It was to the same purport I do now.

Q. What do you think he died of?

Baster. I can't tell, God almighty called him away.

James Dean . I am an apprentice to Mr. Bloys of Harwich, the master of this vessel: I was in April last under the command of the prisoner; the deceased got up in the morning, and the prisoner ordered him to put some fish in the kettle, he did not stir brisk enough, he called to him 2 or 3 times, he did not seem to stir, after he had stood at the kettle a good while, he takes up a quarter firkin and heav'd it at him not very hard, he was about 14 or 15 feet distance from him, it hit him on the temple, he said, O Lord, my head aches : then the prisoner being in a passion took a piece of rope about the bigness of my finger, and licked him about the back and loyns for about a minute, the boy liv'd 12 hours after this, I saw him after he was dead, and felt, and looked all about his head, and could see no wound.

Q. What do you think was the occasion of his death ?

Dean. I can't think he died of that blow, I hope to go under the prisoners command again if he is acquitted.

Q. Were was this?

Dean. It was upon deck.

Q. How long after he flung this firkin at him was it that he struck him with the rope.

Dean. Immediately after he beat him for crying: I thought it something extraordinary that he should die so suddenly: I was with the deceased the evening before he died, he went down to his cabbin about 3 in the afternoon: he went forward in the vessel, and laid his hand on his head, and said, I shall die, for master Ballard has killed me.

Q. Who heard this?

Dean. Only one man and me.

Q. Was you examined before?

Dean. I was at Harwich.

Q. Did not you there swear that you thought it was the cause of his death?

Dean. We thought the firkin had done him some damage, because he complained of his head, but I did not hear that was the cause of his death.

Q. What did you think when he died?

Dean. I don't know; I looked over his forhead and aback, and could not see a wound or any part discolour'd, he had laid in his cabbin about 3 hours, then he was sent for to come out by the prisoner, and was speechless.

Cross examined.

Q. How did the prisoner behave to him ?

Dean. Always very kind, only when he did not do as he would have him, he was sometimes in a passion; this was done in a passion, and it did not knock the boy down when it hit him.

Arthur Everit . I did not see the thing flung, I saw Dawing about 4 hours before he died, the first complaint was, that his head ach'd: about an hour after that he said he should die, his master Ballard had killed him: I could not perceive whether he was sensible or not, these were the last words I heard him speak: I looked upon him after he was dead and saw no bruises.

John Moore . I have known the prisoner about 8 or 9 years, I have been in company with him since April last, I had some conference about the death of this lad 3 months ago: and hearing he had killed this boy, went to Mr. Bloys's, to whom I turned the deceased over, and told Mr. Bloys I heard Ballard had killed the boy; the prisoner came to me, and begg'd of me not to take him up, saying, if I did, he must be hanged, and own'd he knocked him down with a bait tub; then he lay sulky on the deck after that; then he went and licked him with a ratling. 4 times double, the bigness of my finger: after that he sent for Mr. Bloys to come to me; Mr. Bloys had got the gout : Mr. Bloys said the prisoner was a very usefull man, and gets me a great deal of money, and if I took him up he must be hang'd; he said he knew the prisoner had kill'd the boy, I insisted upon Mr. Bloys's taking the deceased up again, or I would : I went directly to the Mayor, and got a Warrant, and took the prisoner up: he own'd before the Mayor he did kill the boy, but did not do it wilfully; this was on a Saturday, and on the Monday the Mayor called a court at the Town-hall, when those lads, the other witnesses, came there, and made affidavit, that the prisoner did kill the boy.

Cross examined.

Q. Have you ever said, you'd have the prisoner's blood?

Moore. No, I never did: I said, blood required blood.

Q. When did you make an information of this affair?

Moore. As soon as ever I knew it: Lieutenant Farr was the first that informed me of it.

Q. Did you see any wound on the head, or body, when the body was taken up?

Moore. I can't say there was any mark on either.

Prisoner's defence.

I said to all these witnesses on board, look on him, and see if there is any wound upon him, speak the truth when you go home, and if you think I wrong'd this lad, don't let a drop of blood lie upon me; they all said, master, it could be no such thing, it could not happen from that ; I never saw the Deceased's countenance change till about three or four in the afternoon.

For the prisoner.

Thomas Basket . I am Mr. Corbell's head brewer at Harwich : I know Mr. Moore, he keeps a publick house at Harwich : I had some discourse with him concerning the prisoner last Michaelmas Day at night. I went to see the prisoner, and we sent for some beer to the White Horse at Harwich. When I went home, my master sent me to Mr. Alcock's, at the Spread Eigle ; there was Mr. Moore drinking a pint of Bumbo; three of us spent sixpence, as we were walking about the prisoner there, Moore said, you sent for beer from the White Horse for him, but d - n my soul I'll have Ballard's life for it, I have been acquainted with Mr. Moore ever since I have been at Harwich, that is about 6 years; he never had a good character in his life.

Ann Bloys . The prisoner was master of my husband's vessel, I remember the time the prisoner returned from fishing, I asked him how the boy came by his death, and how he was taken; they told me he was taken suddenly in the morning, and died at night; the prisoner is a very honest sober man, I don't think he would designedly do any body harm; I know this Moore to be a very worthless fellow, and one that bears a very bad character.

Acquitted .

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