Francis David Stirn.
10th September 1760
Reference Numbert17600910-19
SentenceDeath > death and dissection

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261. (M.) Francis David Stirn , gentleman , was indicted for the wilful murder of Richard Mathews , he stood likewise charged on the coroner's inquest for the said murder, August 15 . ++

Before the indictment was read, the prisoner moved by his council, to put off his trial till the next sessions,

which was overruled by the court; and when his trial was call'd on (he being a foreigner) desired the privilege to such to be tried by a jury of half Englishmen and half foreigners, but his counsel gave him to understand, as he know his intention by that was to get his trial put off, thinking the sheriffs had made no provision for such a jury; that there was a proper number of foreigners then ready in court. When he found he could not avail himself by that means, he chose to be tried by an English jury.

Mr. Edward Lowther . I live upon Dowgate-hill.

Q. Did you know Mr. Richard Mathews , deceased?

Lowther. I did.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar?

Lowther. I do.

Counsel. It is proper the court should be informed what past two days before the fact was committed; you will please to give an account of what you know; the murder was committed on the 15th of August, begin on the 13th.

Lowther. On wednesday the 13th of August Mr. Mathews came to me, and told me, Mr. Stirn had behaved so ill, he could no longer keep him in his house; and told me, he hop'd I would be kind enough to do what I could in order to his getting rid of him.

Q. How long had he lived with him?

Lowther. He had lived with him about 2 months; I went with Mr. Mathews to justice Welch; the justice ask'd Mr. Mathews, whether there was any private contract between him and Mr. Stirn; or whether he was a lodger; Mr. Mathews told him he was no lodger, that there was no private contract or agreement, he was only upon sufferance in his house, so long as he thought proper; to which justice Welch told him, he had a right to turn him out, if he pleased, without giving him any timely notice; and desired he would be cautious, as Mr. Crawford had been with him before to tell him there had been some disputes between him and Mr. Stirn; then he desired him to get a couple of friends in his house; and when Mr. Stirn came in, to tell him that was his house, and desired he would walk out; and if he would not, to take him by the arm and desire him to go out. Mr. Mathews said he was a desperate man; that if he offered to do it, he would stick him; upon that, he advised him to take a peace officer with him; upon this Mr. Mathews got a constable and two friends; I happened to be one of them; we sat at Mr. Mathews's I believe two hours, between 10 and 11; Mr. Stirn knocked at the door.

Q. When was this?

Lowther. This was on wednesday August the 13th at night; I opened the door for him; he came in; he saw his goods that were in Mr. Mathews's house were brought out of the room where he lay, and were in the passage; as Mr. Stirn came into the house, he ask'd who was it that has done this, (meaning the carrying his goods into the passage) he seemed to be angry. Mr. Mathews told him he had done it, and he insisted on his leaving his house, and said, you have told me you will not leave my house without you leave it by force, and now I am determined that you shall go. Mr. Stirn told him he was a bad man, and a coward, and he durst not turn him out of his house without having assistance (meaning the company present) Mr. Mathews desired him to take a glass of wine; and said, let us part friendly. Mr. Stirn said, he would not go till he had plaid his last tune; there was a harpsicord in the room, and he went and struck it five or six times; then he said I want but half a guinea, and you may do what you will with my goods (books and things) Mr. Mathews said, if he will tell him what he wanted half a guinea for, if he had not so much in his pocket, he would give him, or lend him, half a guinea. Mr. Strin put his hand in his pocket (what money he had I do not know) he said, no, I have money enough, as much as I want. I have spoke with a man to day that will write my life and your's (that was to Mr. Mathews) Mr. Mathews desired him to take care what he said, for he had already said enough for him to lay him by the heels. Mr. Stirn said, what have I said. Mr. Mathews said, that he said Crawford (meaning Mr. Crawford) might thank his God that he had got rid of him in the manner he had done, but that you would have your revenge on me.

Q. Had he lived with Mr. Crawford before that?

Lowther. He had, - Upon this Mr. Stirn desired Mr. Mathews would give him his hand. Mr. Mathews held out his hand, and Mr. Stirn grasp'd it in both his hands, and said, I have said so, and here is my hand I will have my revenge on you; after a good deal of oppobrious language between them, Mr. Stirn walk'd out of the house along with the constable,

Q. Do you mean in the custody of the constable?

Lowther. No, I do not.

Q. Was the constable present the whole time these words past?

Lowther. He was.

Q. What is his name?

Lowther. His name is Spence.

Counsel. The attorney says he never heard of this fact before, so he is not on the back of the bill.

Q. Is this all that past that evening?

Lowther. This is all, there is nothing that past the next day that I know of my own knowledge.

Counsel. Then come to the 15th.

Lowther. On friday evening the 15th of August, about the hour of 10 in the evening, I happened accidentally to go in at Mr. Pew's, the Pewter Platter, a public house, in Cross street, Hatton garden, there I found Mr. Chapman and Mr. Mathews together; there were more people in the room, but none joining in company but themselves. I sat down, and joined in company with them. In a few minutes Mr. Stirn came into the room, and sat down at the same table. Mr. Chapman the surgeon call'd Mr. Stirn out, or sent for him out, I don't know which, what past between them I cannot say. Mr. Crawford came in, and sat down with us. Mr. Stirn came in again by himself in a few minutes. Mr. Chapman went away. Mr. Stirn walk'd about the room by himself; he apply'd to Mr. Mathews, and said, you have accus'd me with theft and adultery. Mr. Mathews told him, he had not accus'd him of either, nor did he believe he was guilty of either; but if he had not had a greater dependence on his wife's virtue than his honour, he did not know what might be the consequence. Mr. Stirn told Mr. Mathews he was never pox'd in his life; Mr. Mathews said, nor I either; he added, you are a dirty fellow, and you ought to be sent to your own lowsy country, or words to that purpose. Mr. Stirn walk'd about the room a few minutes, and then pull'd a small piece of paper out of his pocket, and held it in his hand, with a seeming desire that Mr. Mathews should take notice of it, and afterwards burnt it in the candle. He walk'd about the room for a few minutes; then Mr. Crawford took notice, that he look'd very fiery; and he desir'd me and Mr. Mathews, that we would for heaven's sake drink his health. I drank his health immediately, and to the best of my remembrance so did Mr. Mathews. Stirn still walk'd about the room for a few minutes, and then came and stood at Mr. Crawford's elbow; then he came and stood by me, for the value of a minute, or a minute and a half; I observ'd him to stretch his hand cross me, with what I then thought a piece of paper.

Q. Where was Mr. Mathews then?

Lowther. He was then sitting next to me at my elbow. I observed, as I said before, a piece of paper, as I thought; instantly upon its passing me, I observ'd a flash, and report of powder. Mr. Mathews gave a kind of a spring, and fell forwards; died, and never spoke or groan'd; instantly, upon his falling. I heard a report of more powder, what I could not conceive at that time. I look'd about me, and saw Mr. Stirn stand in amaze, and immediately drew towards the door, as I apprehended to get away; upon which he was laid hold on by Mr. Warford, and pull'd to the ground. I immediately came up to him; he said, shoot me, shoot me, shoot me, for I shall be hang'd. I told him Mr. Mathews was dead; he said, he was not sorry, but was sorry he had not shot himself.

Q. to prisoner. If you please to ask this witness any questions, or do you chuse to leave it to your counsel?

Prisoner. I leave it to him.

Cross Examination.

Q. from prisoner. Whether Mr. Lowther did not call me a madman?

Lowther. I did, and said Bedlam was the fittest place for him, according to his behaviour; we were to have gone into a private room, and to have no words, and for him to behave in this sort, occasioned me to say so.

Q. Describe the situation all the parties were in at that time.

Lowther. Mr. Chapman, Mr. Mathews and I were together at the table; then Mr. Stirn came in, and Mr. Crawford came in after him. Mr. Chapman call'd Mr. Stirn out, he went away, Mr. Stirn came in again.

Q. Who were in the room at the time the pistol went off?

Lowther. There were left myself, Mr. Mathews, Mr. Crawford, and the prisoner, and several others that did not belong to our company.

Q. What room was you in?

Note, The Remainder of these Proceedings will be published in a few Days.

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter.
10th September 1760
Reference Numbert17600910-19

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THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissioners of the Peace, Oyer, and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON, And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 10th, Thursday the 11th, and Friday the 12th, of SEPTEMBER,

In the Thirty-third Year of His MAJESTY's Reign. NUMBER VII. PART II. for the YEAR 1760. Being the Seventh SESSIONS in the MAYORALITY of The Right Honble Sir Thomas CHITTY , Knt. LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.


Printed, and sold by G. KEARSLY (Successor to the late Mr. Robinson) at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street, 1760.

[Price Four-pence.]


King's Commissions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of LONDON, and at the General Sessions of Gaol Delivery for Newgate, holden for the City of LONDON, and County of MIDDLESEX, at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, &c.

LOWTHER. They call it a parlour, on the left hand going in.

Q. Was it a public drinking-room?

Lowther. It was.

Q. How many people might there be in the room?

Lowther. There were 8 or 10 people in it, that were not at all concerned with us. There is one round table in the room, and we all sat at that table.

Q. How did you sit at that time you heard the report?

Lowther. I sat with my elbow on Mr. Mathews's shoulder, or on his chair. There was none betwixt Mr. Stirn and Mr. Mathews but me. Mr. Crawford sat directly behind Mr. Stirn; at that time the prisoner leaned over me before me.

Q. What did you see when he leaned before you?

Lowther. I apprehended it to be no other than a squib, I did not apprehend it to be a pistol, till after the Mischief was done, after that went off I saw the stash, and immediately heard the report.

John Warford . I was in the room at the Pewter Platter when this accident happened. I came into that room about half an hour after nine in the evening; I had not been there above half an hour before Mr. Mathews came in; there were three young gentleman there of my acquaintance.

Q. What time did Mr. Mathews come in?

Warford. He came in I believe about a quarter before 10, and Mr. Chapman with him; Mr. Mathews told me, they had been at Mr. Foote's; and he related the circumstances of what he had heard, and was extreamly pleased, and said, If you are dull go and hear Mr. Foote. Presently came in Mr. Stirn; Mr. Mathews sat with his back to the door, Mr. Stirn went round him, and sat down about 10 minutes by the fire place; then in came Mr. Crawford; immediately upon that Mr. Stirn got up, and went to Mr. Crawford, and they shook each other by the hand; Mr. Crawford is the gentleman that keeps the acadamy when Mr. Stirn lived; Stirn went then and stood at the back of Mr. Crawford's chair a considerable time; he came round after that, and stood at the back of my chair, I believe about 10 minutes; I thought he was gone out, but when I looked behind me, I was surprized to see him behind my chair; from thence he went to the back of Mr. Mathews, and lean'd on the back of a chair that a young man sat in next to Mr. Mathews, Mr. Cartwright's chair: he address'd himself to Mr. Mathews, and said, Sir, why did not you meet me (they are the words as near as I can remember) Mr. Mathews made answer, I had not an opportunity, I have been with Mr. Chapman - but I am here now (after a pause) upon that Mr. Crawford got up from his chair, and said, for God's sake, Mr. Stirn, I desire you will be quiet, moderate your passion, and said a good deal; he made answer, his honour was ruined, and his reputation; he had been turned out of the house like a villain and a scoundrel, and such like. Mr. Mathews made answer, Mr. Stirn, you had better be quiet, you will only expose yourself. Mr. Stirn made answer, he had been used very ill, he had been used like a scoundrel and a villain. Mr. Mathews said, instead of your being used very ill, you have used me very ill; you ran up and down stairs after my wife, and in the kitchen, and the reason you gave for it was this, that I was jealous of you, and you would give me reason to be jealous. Upon which Mr. Stirn reply'd, no, it was not so;

indeed his wife had taken him by the hand, and had desired him to go down into the kitchen with her. Upon which one of the company said, I suppose not with any bad intention; no said Stirn, it could not be so, there were 2 of the maids in the kitchen, it was only to keep her company while she was ironing Mr. Mathews said to him, you will not say so to my wife's face, or the maid's; he said, yes, he would; and you yourself did call your wife whore. Then I took him up and said, I wonder you should mention such a thing in public company. I think it is very base Mr. Crawford wink'd at me; then I desisted; then Mr. Stirn said, I never had the pox. Mr. Mathews said, you are a scoundrel, and ought to be sent into your lowsey country; I believe Mr. Stirn was in the house 3 quarters of an hour; presently after that I saw the flash, which I afterwards found to be a pistol; I heard the report of a couple of pistols, I cannot preread to say I saw 2 flashes.

Q. What did you observe after this?

Warford. Immediately upon this the company was put into confusion; as to me, I could not believe my senses, till by and by I saw him attempt to run to the door.

Q. Did you observe any body dead in the room before that?

Warford. I saw Mr. Mathews seem as if he was shot, but it was so sudden, I could not pretend to say he was dead or not: I got up in a great passion, and ran after the prisoner towards the door, catch'd him by the collar, and stung him all along upon the ground, and had him on the ground between my legs. He desired I would kill him, I said no, you villain, I will not do you so great a benefit, you will be hanged. He was secured, and taken to Bridewell that night. I had some discourse, with him going there; I asked him how he could be guilty of such a crime to a man that had been his best friend in England. He said, his brother told him 3 years ago, he was afraid he would come to some unhappy end.

Q. What other persons were in the room at the time?

Warford. Mr. Ashurst and Mr. Cartwright were there.

Cross Examination.

Q. Was Mr. Lowther in the room during this conversation?

Warford. He was, the whole time.

Q. How many were there of you round the table?

Warford. There were 10 people round the table besides the deceased; I know the names of all of them except one, who was a stranger to me.

Q. Do you remember you, or any of the company, telling the prisoner he was mad, and ought to be confined in Bedlam?

Warford. I believe it was said so. Mr. Crawford endeavoured to make him quiet, but could not. I think somebody made use of that expres-sion.

Thomas Vane . I went into the room the instant that the report of the pistol was; I saw Mr. Stirn draw his arm back, and I saw something in his hand, I could not discern it to be a pistol.

Q. What did it look like?

Vane. It appear'd to be white; after that I saw him make to the door where I was. After he was down; they cry'd search him, search him; I heard him say, upon his honour he had no more pistols.

Edward Ashurst . I was in the room when this accident happen'd. I went there between 8 and 9 in company with Mr. Cartwright; I had been there about an hour when Mr. Mathews came in; soon after that I observ'd Mr. Stirn sitting in a chair; I did not see him come in; after about 10 minutes he got up, and walk'd back wards and forwards, and afterwards he came and leaned on Mr. Cartwright's chair, that sat next to me, and said, Mr. Mathews you have us'd me as an adulterer and a thief. Mr. Mathews desir'd him not to expose himself in public company, but sit down and be quiet; I did not take particular notice what past after; I heard the report of 2 pistols.

Q. How soon was this after that discourse?

Ashurst. I might be about a quarter of an hour after.

Q. Do you know who those pistols belong'd to?

Ashurst. I do not.

Q. Did you see any thing in the hands of the prisoner?

Ashurst. No, I did not.

Q. Did you see Mr. Mathews drop?

Ashurst. No, I did not, but I saw him afterwards.

Q. What did Mr. Stirn do on that occasion?

Ashurst. I did not see him till about 5 minutes after, the smoke was in my face; I saw Mr. Mathews about a minute after the report make a motion, and brought out some blood. I ask'd Mr. Stirn how he could do such a violent action; he said, he did intend to shoot himself as well as him (meaning Mr. Mathews) as I imagine.

James Cartwright . I was next to the deceased when this happened; I heard the report of two pistols, but was looking another way, so cannot tell who fired the pistols; I heard Mr. Stirn say about 3 minutes afterwards, he wish'd he had shot himself; he did not care that he had shot Mr. Mathews, so that he had but shot himself.

Q. Do you know what became of these pistols?

Cartwright. I had one of them in my hand about 5 minutes afterwards.

Q. from prisoner. Did I say I did not care if Mr. Mathews was dead?

Cartwright. A gentleman pointed at Mr. Mathews and said, you villain, see what you have done; he said, he did not care if Mr. Mathews was dead, but wish'd he had shot himself.

Prisoner. Mr. Warford made use of a different expression; I said, I was only sorry I had not shot myself.

John Pew . I keep the public house where this accident happen'd, the Pewter Plaiter in Cross-street.

Q. Was you in the room at the time of this accident?

Pew. No, I was not; upon hearing the report of the pistols I immediately jump'd into the room, the room was all over smoke: Lord, God! said I, what is the matter? I saw the silver hilt of Mr. Mathews's sword; I immediately took him up in my arms, and put him on a chair, I believe somebody assisted me, I was in a great confusion.

Q. Was Mr. Mathews alive then?

Pew. I do believe he was, his eyes moved, and I felt his pulse; he died soon after; I got somebody to hold him while I went for a surgeon. I went to Mr. Chapman's door, then to Mr. Webb; somebody went to Mr. Warner; Mr. Chapman came in first, he said he is a dead man. Mr. Webb came in, and Mr. Warner was some time before he came in; the mob was so great, he said, what do you send for me for, he is a dead man. We look'd about, and found the pistols under the table. Mr. Warner the surgeon gave me the two pistols, and said, let them be as they are, and carry them along with you to the Old-Bailey.

Q. Did you observe they had been recently discharged, for such a thing is easily discerned?

Pew. We observed one in particular, the fingeing of the paper.

Q. Where is Mr Warner?

Pew. He is not here.

Q. Where were they found?

Pew. Under the table, I saw one of them under the table, but can't tell who took it up.

Q. Where have they been ever since?

Pew. They have been in my custody ever since ( he produc'd 2 new pocket pistols, with printed paper wrapp'd about each of them, and fastened on with black thread near the mussles) justice Herver said, they had never been fir'd before.

Peter Cuttey . I live with Mr. Jones, in Fenchurch street, he is a gun maker.

Q. Look at these 2 pistols. (He takes them in his hand)

Cuttey. These are my master's make.

Q. Do you know who sold them?

Cuttey. Yes, my shop-mate did, I was by at the time the gentleman desired they might be loaded, and I loaded one, and my shop-mate the other.

Q. When was this?

Cuttey. I don't know the time.

Q. Do you remember a remarkable murder committed at the Pewter Platter in Cross street?

Cuttey. Yes.

Q. Where they bought near that time?

Cuttey. They were bought about 3 or 4 days before that.

Q. Who bought them?

Cuttey. A very tall man, Sir.

Q. Was it an Englishman, or not?

Cuttey. It was a sort of a strange countryman, he could not speak good English, he carry'd them away loaded with him.

Q. What did he give for them?

Cuttey. He gave 18 s.

Q. Look at the prisoner.

Cuttey. My eyes are bad, I can't well see him.

Court. Go near him. (the Witness goes near the prisoner)

Cuttey. I can see now clearly that was the gentleman that bought the pistols.

Q. Are you sure of that?

Cuttey. I am.

Q. from prisoner. Whether I did not ask you, if I brought them back again unus'd, you would give me my money back again?

Counsel for prisoner. Have you any view in asking that Question, that the court cannot apprehend.

Prisoner. No, none at all.

Wm Watts . The prisoner was in the custody of a constable before I came.

Q. What are you?

Watts. I am high constable of that division. My servant inform'd me that night between 11

and 12 o'clock, that Mr. Mathews was shot, at the Pewter Platter. I went there, and saw Mr. Mathews lying dead in a corner of the room, there were many people there; I asked if they had secured the person that did it; they said he was in the midst of the people, pointing to Mr. Stirn; I asked him if he was the person that murdered Mr. Mathews; he said yes, Sir, I shot him myself, and no body else; I desired the people to take notice that he confess'd the fact; somebody reply'd, there was no occasion to be so particular, as there were so many people in the room that saw him do it; I asked him what could induce him to commit so horrid a crime; he said, his honour was wounded by Mr. Mathews, which was dearer to him than his life; and that he was only sorry he had not shot himself.

Cross Examination.

Q. Recollect the very words you said to him, when you ask'd him if he was the person that kill'd Mr. Mathews; whether you ask'd him, whether he was the person that did it?

Watts. To the best of my rememberance I mentioned the word kill'd; he said yes, he was the person that shot him, and nobody else.

Q. Were the other witnesses present, who have been examined before?

Watts. I don't know, the room was as full as ever it could hold, and he stood in the middle of them.

Samuel Chapman , I am a surgeon; I had been to the play with Mr. Mathews, I came with him to the Pewter Platter.

Q. Was you there when the accident happened?

Chapman. I was not; I was sent for after Mr. Mathews was killed to come to see him, to see if there was any thing that I could do as a surgeon for him; I found him quite dead.

Q. What was the occasion of his death?

Chapman. It was a wound made by a pistol-ball, as appear'd to me on the left side of the breast-bone.

Q. Did you examine the wound?

Chapman. I did, before the coroner? I traced it about 6 inches into the body.

Q. When was this?

Chapman. That was the next day; but I saw it immediately when I came that night; I had no doubt of it then, but that was the occasion of his death.

Q. Did you extract the ball?

Chapman. No, I did not, I did not attempt that.

Q. Did you feel the ball with your instrument?

Chapman. I did not, but it appeared by the wound to be given by a ball.

Q. How was the deceased for health that day you were at the Pewter Platter together?

Chapman. The deceased was in very good health, and very chearful.

Cross Examination.

Q. How long have you known Mr. Stirn?

Chapman. About a year and half, or thereabouts.

Q. Have you been well acquainted with him?

Chapman. Very intimate, he has been often at my house and drank tea, and we have drank together in the evening.

Q. Did you ever see any signs of insanity by him?

Chapman. Sometimes his behaviour has been very extraordinary, that I could not account for.

Counsel. In what, give an account.

Chapman. He us'd to entertain suspicion against Mr. Crawford, very strange suspicions, that I could not account for; when I have talk'd upon that subject, he talked as I thought very unreasonable; but at other times he talked like a man of sense and education.

Q. Can you mention any particular instance?

Chapman. A little before Christmas last, Mr. Crawford and he had a difference, and upon that occasion they both of them us'd to call upon me, and tell what had past between them; one story Mr. Crawford told me, was so very strange, that at that time I believe I did say (he must be mad) or some such words.

Q. Do you know of the prisoner ever making an attempt upon himself before this?

Chapman. He once said he had a design of shooting himself, and he escaped by a very extraordinary accident; he was loading a pistol for that purpose, and the ball was too big to go down with ease, and in endeavouring to push the ball down, he broke the rammer, and his expression was, he thank'd God, what a precipice he had escap'd.

Q. Did you look upon that as an act of lunacy?

Chapman. I rather looked upon it as an act of despair.

Q. Did he proceed thus for a day or two together, or only momentary?

Chapman. Only momentary before me.

Q. As to your opinion, whether there are not such cases of lunacy, where the lunaftic shall speak

very reasonable and sensible, and shall be depriv'd of his reason some small time by sits?

Chapman. That has not fallen immediately in my way to consider of; I believe that is the case very often with mad people, that they have intervals, and those sometimes of very long duration; and it may happen, that the sits may be very short, I apprehend, and such, that the person may be deprived of reason, I believe, but I have not been conversant with these disorders; I thought Mr. Stirn was in despair, and endeavour'd to remove his despair, as much as I could, but I cannot take upon me to say I actually thought him mad.

Q. Do you think he was curable by medicine of this slighty madness?

Chapman. I can't say.

Q. Do thou think he was mad enough to be put into Bedlam?

Chapman. I believe not; I never heard of any, but as they have been represented by Mr. Crawford; I cannot give it as my absolute opinion that he was a madman.

Q. Upon your own particular knowledge what is your opinion?

Chapman. Upon my own knowledge, I don't think him a mad man.

Q. Do you think he could commit a murder, and not know what he was doing at that time?

Chapman. I think not.

Q. What did you call him out of the room for?

Chapman. I call'd him out to give him some advice.

Q. Did he then appear to be out of his senses?

Chapman. He appear'd to b e strangely agitated, but I can't pretend to say that it was madness.

Prisoner's Defence.

Mr. Chapman was always intimate with me and Mr. Crawford; he has frequently said to Mr. Crawford, that the man was to be pitied; if he was a fool, yet he might be an honest man; those were his speeches to Mr. Crawford, but now he seems to have forgot them. I insist upon it, that I have been distracted with the affront that Mr. Mathews has given me, that for 2 days I did not utter two sentences, and was not in my senses; I was oblig'd to lie all night in the bed in a high-fever, and quite distracted, and was asham'd to look into any body's face; for I thought, if they saw me, they would see it in me.

For the Prisoner.

Archibald Crawford . I have been acquainted with the prisoner since the month of June 1758, a little after he came into England.

Q. Do you know, during that course of time, that you have seen any symptoms of Lunacy by him; and if you have, give your reasons to the Court.

Crawford. Sir. Mr. Stirn. in his cool moments, was a person of so much good sense, and apparently with that good sense so very religious and virtuous, that every one that became acquainted with him were atracted with him, and esteemed him; yet notwithstanding this good sense and excellent appearances, he has fallen out into such extravagancies, that I never could account for upon any other principle, than supporting him insane; for notwithstanding he was dessitate of friends, and in a strange country, dependent wholly upon me and my favour, he has frequently, upon intimation of his honour-being mentioned, started to such a degree of sury, that I have been frequently surprized; when my friends have come to see me; he has ey'd them all with such a countenance, that they have intimated to me he was certainly mad. The minister of the German chapel in the Savoy, he has frequently said to me, this unhappy man is indeed mad, and I would have you get him shaved and bleeded every month, if possible. Mr. Stirn, notwithstanding my kindness, and protestations of kindness to him, us'd to intimate, that I and my wife, and servants, have at different times attempted to take away his life, by mixing poison in his tea, and other liquors; and he has frequently examin'd it. He has sometimes enter'd into a friendly conversation, and express'd the greatest sense and good nature; sometimes he would take my hand in his hand, and with an extasy say, Sir, you are my best friend in the world you have been my great benefactor and friend; he has instantly turn'd and said, I was a great villain, and had some great design upon him. I have gone in the fields with him sometimes, and he has behav'd in this extraordinary manner. I have communicated this to my friends, and to the unhappy victim that is dead, and frequently persuaded him from taking him into his house, telling him, that he was of that extraordinary turn of mind, that would give him such disturbance that would ruin his peace. I always imputed it to a degree of insanity; it was the sense

of my wife, it was the sense of my sister, who us'd to say, for God's sake my dear, endeavour to get rid of Mr. Stirn, he will be that the death of you; and my sister has said, that at the change of the moon, and spring and fall, he was remarkably agitated, and stirred up. I remembered I was in his company one evening, he enter'd upon a subject, upon the properest method to be made use of in instructing of youth. I mentioned moderation and forbearance to children of bad capacities; to which he paid some attention; he started up, looking upon me with great fury; my wife got up, and seem'd terrify'd at him; saying, pray Sir go to bed; I standing up said, pray Sir go to bed; he raised the candlestick, and made several attempts at my head with it, which I defended with my left arm; I then pull'd him down to the ground; he then appeared in a dreadful fury; denouncing great fury; he went to bed, and the next morning he appeared as remarkable humbled, and would frequently say my dear Sir, I am hurried away by a force which I cannot repel, I am made the port of passion, and my distresses are exquisite on the consideration of it; these are the several reasons that I have for his insanity.

Q. Give the court an account of him at the time this affair happened at the Pewter Platter.

Crawford. My opinion that I form'd of him was, that he had some design upon himself, I imagined that he would destroy himself.

Q. Did you hear he had such a design before?

Crawford. I have heard he had, from a relation of Mr. Chapman, and he kept a naked sword in his room, and upon my crossing the passage he has started up, and put himself upon his guard, on an apprehension that I should kill him, or send somebody else to do it, as I was his best friend, and he depended upon me, and all my endeavours were to serve and benefit him; I thought his actions were unreasonable, and I imputed it to a kind of insanity that was not in his power to prevent.

Q. Do you know any thing what past on the 15th of August last in the evening?

Crawford. I believe it is necessary to begin at the 13th of last month. In the afternoon he came to my house, my wife told me he had been there; she said, my dear, I have seen Mr. Stirn, he looks frightfully, take care of him. When he came in he behaved with great coolness and moderation, I ask'd him to sit down; he ask'd me a question, and said, have you been at Mr. Welch's, and said any thing against me; I told him, Sir, upon the affair of the candlestick, I told him something respecting you, that gave great room for suspicion. I went in order to find out some method to get rid of him. My complaint to him was, that he at different times had behav'd in a turbulent manner, that I could not account for, that he entertain'd strange suspicions of me and my family, diametrically opposite to truth.

Mr. Recorder. What did you propose or desire Mr. Welch to do?

Crawford. I desir'd him to grant me a warrant to take him out of my house.

Mr. Recorder. Did you tell Mr. Welch you considered him as a breaker of the peace, or that he might be taken care of as a madman?

Crawford. No, I don't recollect I said any such thing, of his being a madman. I desir'd a warrant of Mr. Welch.

Recorder. Did Mr. Welch grant you a warrant?

Crawford. He did, when I got that I came home, and upon my coming home, I thought I would not serve the warrant, least I should deprive this unhappy youth'd of every way of subsisting; and I went to Mr. Mathews with the warrant in my hand, as Mr. Mathews had frequently entertained him in his house, and prosessed a friendship for him, notwithstanding my frequently desiring him not; I told him the behaviour of Mr. Stirn, telling him I had a warrant in my hand, and desired him as his friend to endeavour to persuade him to go peaceably cut of my house; he said he would not interfere in it at all; after that Mr. Stirn, upon some confession to me of sorrow for what he had done, I proposed he should continue with me in his business; but I would have him by all means quit my house, as my wife had been frequently terrified by him; he quitted my house the 25th or 26th of June last, and went to Mr. Mathews's: when Mr. Stirn came to my house and asked me this question, I said Mr. Welch had mistaken me in my relation; I said I did not intimate to him that he had been guilty of what had been laid to his charge, but Mr. Welch had mistaken me; (but this story has no relation to the matter of fact, so I need not mention it) I speak this least the character of justice Welch should be impeached, whole honour and good nature was very manifest in what he did; Mr. Stirn in my house spoke pretty loud; this was about the 19th; I said, pray do not speak loud, it is not a proper place to speak these matters in (he was speaking of Mr. Mathews) go to a coffee-house,

said I, and I will come to you; he went out to Bartlet's buildings coffee-house; I and he went into a room together, in which room he recapitulated several particulars between him and Mr. Mathews; telling me Mr. Mathews had charged him with a most grievous violent crime.

Mr. Recorder. How can you apply this to evidence of insanity; here he gives you an account of all the disputes between him and Mr. Mathews, and now you would make this man quite a madman.

Crawford. I am under a necessity to speak all these matters, as he recapitulated some things upon my expostulating with him upon the necessity of pacifying Mr. Mathews, whom I had believed to have been jealous of him; upon my saying to him, Sir, whether these stories are well or ill founded, you ought to go to Mr. Mathews, and endeavour to reconcile him to his wife, least the consequence should be eternally unhappy; Mr. Stirn arose up and said, if I speak another word, he would - be would - in a great passion; said he, I shall suspect you and Mr. Mathews, together with Mr. Chapman, have laid a scheme in order to destroy and ruin my character; I called upon him to consider my past conduct to him, by endeavouring to bring about a reconciliation; he went from me in a strange kind of a disposition, as I thought, with suspicions of me; the next evening he came to my house with Mr. Chapman, he seemed to be under great perturbation of mind; we went into the fields to take a walk, he, Mr. Chapman, and I; I was endeavouring to get him to reconcile himself under those difficulties, under those of Mr. Mathews's putting him out of his house; he expressed many suspicions of me; saying, he did not believe I was his friend; on the bowling-green Mr. Taylor, the occulist, whom we met with, said, what was the matter with this man; presently I met Mrs. Taylor, she asked what was the matter; I said, indeed madam, he is certainly out of his senses; this was on the Thursday: on the Friday he came and dined at my house; after dinner he started up, and with a great appearance of wildness stared round him, uttering several invectives against the deceased; saying, he had wounded him in such a manner, he could not live under the crimes he had charged him with.

Mr. Recorder. Did you observe his behaviour on the evening, at the very time of this affair?

Crawford. That afternoon Mr. Stirn overtook me in Hatton Garden; seeing him in a strange disposition, I laid hold of his hand, and said, pray go along with me; he said he was going to see Mr. Chapman; I said he was not at home; I intreat you come along with me, several times pulling him by the hand; he came along with me, he entered into discourse respecting Mr. Mathews, and seemed to entertain those suspicions respecting me, in endeavouring to dishonour and bring him to disgrace; as we were going into the fields, I observed him look in a frightful manner, I said Mr. Stirn you have some bad design.

Mr. Recorder. What time was this?

Crawford. This was on Friday evening between 6 and 7 o'clock; he said, why so, why so; I saw fury and despondency fixed upon his countenance, I said I conceived that design to be upon himself; he started back and said, what makes you think so; then I replied, from his appearance; then he wanted to go away from me: I had an inclination to keep him along with me, in order to dispose him to a peaceable disposition; as I took him by the hand he started back, and looked at me from head to foot; I laid hold of him, and forced him to the White Conduit house, by Islington; when we came there, he said he would turn round; I still followed him, and said, my dear Sir, do not suffer the enemy to get the better of you; you are hurried away by some dreadful enemy, by endeavouring to bring you to destruction; he put his hand to his breast, and said, O Sir, I am abandoned by my God, I am lost in my character, and cannot live; and then burst into a flood of tears; I could not prevail upon him to go with me any farther, and then I parted from him; I went then to Islington, to the Angel, and told a gentleman there, that I had just parted with an unhappy youth, that I feared was in a despairing state; I quitted that company, and in the evening went to find Mr. Stirn, and found him at Owen's coffee-house, on the south side of Holbourn; whether he thought I had discovered any of his intentions or no, I cannot say; he changed in his countenance, and looked extremely passive; he said, now how do I look; I said you look very well; presently after he said he expected Mr. Mathews; I said he will certainly not come where you are; then he said he would go to Mr. Pew's, at the Pewter Platter; I endeavoured to persuade him to go to his lodgings, he paid no regard to that; upon my going to my house, and hearing Mr. Chapman was at Mr. Pew's, I imagined Mr. Mathews, Mr. Lowther,

and the rest were there, in order to accommodate matters; I came in there, Mr. Stirn sat at the upper end of the room, looking desperately fierce; he got up and came to me, on the left hand side of Mr. Chapman, who sat at the left hand of Mr. Lowther, that was also on the left hand of Mr. Mathews; when he came round, I took him by the hand and squeezed it (as much as to say be peaceable) he drew his hand from me, and looked desperately wild; Mr. Chapman beckoned to him to follow him out at the door; Mr. Stirn seemed to pay no regard to him; I leaned over the chair and said, pray go; he went to Mr. Chapman; while he was out at the door I whispered Mr. Mathews, and said, pray Sir, let me speak one word in behalf of the unhappy youth; pray Sir, I intreat you to drink his health; consider his infirmity; Mr. Mathews said he would; but upon Mr. Stirn's coming in, and some words passing, which were very aggravating, and Mr. Mathews repeating some circumstances as his resentment was stirred up; he called him scoundrel, and said he should go home to his lousy country, or countrymen; and the rest of the company cried out, you are mad, you are mad, and ought to be confined in Bedlam; Mr. Stirn stood at my shoulder; there was a vacant chair betwixt me and Mr. Lowther, over which I believe he held his hand; Mr. Mathews expressing himself in these words; Mr. Stirn came, and I made way for him to fit down, thinking he was something easy; he was no sooner come, but I heard the explosion of 2 pistols; one of them finished the life of Mr. Mathews, and the other aimed at himself; after that I was so moved at the scene, that I quitted the room, and came back presently, and asked if Mr. Mathews was dead, and saw him lying over the lap of some gentleman, whom I cannot say.

Mr. Recorder. That is to me a dark expression; when I compare it with part of your evidence, where you propose a reconciliation between Mr. Mathews and a real madman, because you consider this man as a real madman.

Crawford. I never expected it would have been of a lasting duration.

Mr. Recorder. Was this expression he made use of (that his honour was wounded, he was represented as a thief and an adulterer) is that like an expression of a madman?

Crawford. I must confess I have heard and read of people under the infirmity of madness, that are at different times extremely sensible.

Mr. Recorder. Here is a man goes into a room where you are all in company, with a couple of pistols, covered and disguis'd in papers, and then commits this fact, is that a sign of a madman; I want to know upon what principles you form your opinion?

Crawford. To make a reply to you, would be a kind of presumption.

Mr. Recorder. Did not he behave in that regular uniform way in meeting Mr. Mathews, as any other man would have done?

Crawford. Yes, it had all that apprearance, but I must confess madmen may frequently have a design with a great degree of forethought and malice - this was only my opinion.

Mr. Recorder. Did he know where he went, and answer all appointments?

Crawford. Yes.

Mr. Recorder. You did not complain to Mr. Welch that he was a madman?

Crawford. I did say to Mr. Welch he had some unaccountable behaviour.

Counsel for prisoner to Mr. Chapman. You gave an account of the information you had received from Mr. Crawford, that you at that time had formed an opinion that he was at that time had formed an opinion that he was not in his right mind, that he was at times out of his senses.

Chapman. Yes, Sir.

C. for prisoner. Whether the facts that you were acquainted with by Mr. Crawford were the same facts that he has related in court?

Chapman. In general they are, but they are not so circumstantially related.

C. for prisoner. Are you now of the same opinion that you was at the same time that you gave Mr Crawford your opinion, supposing the case in the manner as Mr. Crawford has stated it?

Chapman. I cannot form an opinion of madness from it, there certainly was something more striking in the story he told, than what he has now related.

C. for prisoner. He has given an account that some of these slighty fits most frequently happened at full and change of the moon; is that a symptom that frequently happens to lunatic people.

Chapman. Yes.

Mr. Recorder. Here is an event that has continued from the 13th to the 15th of August, at the t ime the misfortune happened; can you suppose from your acquaintance you had with him, and the observations you made from his behaviour, this could be madness that lasted from that time,

to the time of the death of the deceased; or do you imagine from what you have heard and observed, that this was a continued malice, from the 13th to the evening of the 15th, do you think a madness continued so long as that?

Chapman. I think not.

Counsel for prisoners. Whether in that time there might not have been divers short fits of madness?

Chapman. Yes.

C. for prisoner. Whether he might not repeat those acts of violence or madness, and yet in the intervals between he may be very cool and sober?

Chapman. Yes.

C. for prisoner. Do you know any case of any mad people when they have been in their fits of madness, whether they have not in some particular things appeared to be reasonable?

Chapman. It never once in my life-time fell to me to attend a madman.

C. for prisoner. Do not mad people act sometimes with great tunning to get out of the possession of their keepers?

Chapman. I believe from what I have heard they will.

C. for prisoner to Crawford. Do you now recollect any thing that you have omitted?

Crawford. One of the stories that Mr. Chapman alludes to was this; Mr. Stirn, walking in the fields one evening going along in friendly conversation, he in his, usual way started and star'd at me with a dreadful appearance, and said to me, you have certainly some ill design upon me; I frequently repeated to him, for God's sake hold your tongue; then he would say, I'll I'll I'll - and appear in dreadful agitation; there is another thing observable, and that is this; some people now present have heard Mr. and Mrs. Mathews say, they believed he was a person even out of his senses, and even a madman; Mr. Chapman can answer a question of that sort.

Chapman. I never heard the deceased; but since this unhappy affair I have heard her say, that both she and Mr. Mathews thought he was certainly mad.

Q. from prisoner. Whether Mr. Chapman, from my appearance, did not think I was melancholy mad.

Chapman. I thought you was in a desponding way.

Mr. Recorder to Crawford. What is your business?

Crawford. It is that of a schoolmaster.

Mr. Recorder. How long did the prisoner live with you?

Crawford. He lived with me near two years.

Mr. Recorder. During that time what was his imployment?

Crawford. It was to assist in teaching the classics.

Mr. Recorder. How came you to suffer a man, that you took to be a madman, to continue so long with you in that imploy?

Crawford. I did not look upon him to be a madman, but a periodical madness. I thought him in these fits, only when his honour was affected; I have heard there are many men mad, that at times are every way perfectly sensible.

Counsel for crown. The prosecutors desire to make no observation by way of reply. The jury in one minute found him guilty .

Death .

Then he, Demysey, and Odell, who were before convicted, were set to the bar; this being friday, they receiv'd sentence to be executed on the monday following, Dempsey and Stirn to be dissected and anatomiz'd, and Odell to be hang'd in chains. Stirn took poison, and died that friday night about 11 o'clock. Dempsey and Odell were executed according to their sentence; Odell was hang'd in chains near the place he did the murder; Dempsey dissected and anatomis'd and Stirn dissected, and buried in a cross road, with a stake through him, near Black Mary's Hole.

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter.
10th September 1760
Reference Numbert17600910-19

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THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissioners of the Peace, Oyer, and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON, And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 10th, Thursday the 11th, and Friday the 12th, of SEPTEMBER,

In the Thirty-third Year of His MAJESTY's Reign. NUMBER VII. PART II. for the YEAR 1760. Being the Seventh SESSIONS in the MAYORALITY of The Right Honble Sir Thomas CHITTY , Knt. LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.


Printed, and sold by G. KEARSLY (Successor to the late Mr. Robinson) at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street, 1760.

[Price Four-pence.]


King's Commissions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of LONDON, and at the General Sessions of Gaol Delivery for Newgate, holden for the City of LONDON, and County of MIDDLESEX, at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, &c.

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