18th May 1774
Reference Numbert17740518-8

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366, 367. (2d M.) JOHN MECUM and HENRY NEWLAND were indicted for stealing a brown cloth coat, value 5 s. a brown cloth waistcoat, value 2 s. a pair of white cloth breeches, value 1 s. a pair of thread stockings, value 6 d. a pair of men's shoes, value 1 s. and a silk handkerchief, value 4 d. the property of Colin Bruce , April 7th . +

(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoners.)

Colin Bruce . I met the prisoners on Tower-hill last Saturday was week.

Q. Which did you meet?

Bruce. Newland; he asked how do you do, ship-mate? I said thank you; he said he was a mate of a ship, and if I would go to a public house and have a pot of beer, he would talk to me about it; I said with all my heart; we went to the Queen's Head in King-street, Tower-hill ; there was Mecum and another; they began tossing up, and talked of wagering twenty

guineas against my clothes, but I would not have any thing to do with it; then Mecum took up my clothes and went away with them; I got up to go after him; Newland would not let me; he said he was only at the door, and would be back again; but he went quite off with the clothes.

Q. Did you ever find your clothes again?

Bruce. No.

Q. Are you sure you did not toss up at all?

Bruce. Yes; I told them I would have nothing to do with them. My bundle contained the things mentioned in the indictment (repeating them); I told the landlord they had robbed me; he threatned if I made a disturbance to send for a constable and send me to gaol. I got hold of a piece of the money they called guineas; it is a counterfeit.

Robert Andrews . I live in King-street, Tower-hill, the Queen's Head; I remember the two prisoners and the prosecutor being at my house on the 7th of May; the prosecutor had a handkerchief when he came in; they were in the kitchen; there was nobody there but the prisoners, the prosecutor, and another; after the men were gone, the prosecutor said, landlord, the man has gone away with my clothes; I asked what man; he said the man that was gone away; he had been gone some time.

Q. Which of the men was it that was gone out?

Andrews. Mecum. The prisoners had been in the house that day before; there was a man standing by him; I asked him if he was concerned in taking the clothes.

Q. Did you threaten the prosecutor that if be made any disturbance you would send him to gaol?

Andrews. He said he had lost the clothes at gaming; he said they laid twenty pounds against his clothes, that they named a halfpenny three times out of four; I said if I had known as how they had been gaming, I would have sent for an officer, and sent them to the Compter.

Q. to Bruce. Do you hear what this man says, is it true?

Bruce. Not at all.

Q. Did you understand he had been gaming with them, or they gaming among themselves?

Andrews. He said he lost his clothes by gaming and they ran away with them afterwards.

James Bruce . I am brother to the prosecutor: I live with Sir Thomas Sewell ; my brother complained to me he had lost his clothes; I went with him to the landlord to talk about it; I met with the two prisoners and we secured them.

Mecum's Defence.

I went with this man to Tower-hill; we went into a public house, and there we met with Bruce; Bruce and I tossed up for a pint of beer; then Bruce said he would not toss up for any more beer, he would bet his clothes against some money; I betted twenty guineas against his clothes, and won them; when I had won them I asked him if I should have them, and he gave them to me, and said they were mine, I had won them; the bundle was not opened; he said they were worth twenty guineas.

Newland's Defence.

I met the prisoner on Tower-hill; I thought he was an old ship-mate of mine; when I found my mistake I asked him to have part of a pint of beer; we went into the Queen's Head; there was Mecum and another in the box tossing up for a pint of beer; Bruce was drawn in to toss for another pint; after this they ageed to toss for the clothes against a sum of money; I have forgot the sum. He owned before two proper witnesses of the Surry militia that he had won the clothes. I know nothing of the gaming, or gambling, or correspondence one way or other: I am a baker, and am in the Surry militia.

Newland called two witnesses to his character

Both Guilty . T .

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