30th May 1781
Reference Numbert17810530-38
VerdictNot Guilty

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334, 335. JOHN BEVAN and ROBERT CLOD were indicted for stealing seventeen hempen sacks, value 30 s. and sixty-eight bushels of malt, value 10 l. the property of Samuel Thornton , the said goods being in a certain barge, on the navigable river of Thames , April the 22d .


On Sunday morning, the 22d of April, going down to the water-side, at two o'clock, I missed the malt mentioned in the indictment, out of the barge. I took a boat, and went down the river. In coming by Wapping, at Union-stairs , in a place called the Mud-hole, where ships lay on shore to be sold, I saw a little punt belonging to Bevan. Her stern and her head were very lofty; that led me to think something was in her. I examined the punt, and found 17 sacks I had lost; my name was on 10 of them.

What wharf is your barge moored at? - Wright's wharf, in the parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate. There were 157 quarters of corn on board, in 314 sacks.

When you came down on the Sunday morning, what did you miss? - I saw a great hole on one side. I examined it. There were 17 sacks missing, containing four bushels each.

Cross Examination.

Who did that punt belong to? - The prisoner's father. The prisoner worked in it. He built a fine place in it for the reception of himself and a boy in the night.

He was not on board when you found the sacks? - No; she was made fast to a Dutchman, and nobody on board.


I loaded the barge myself, and took in 157 quarters of malt; and my master and I left her safe at night. The same sacks were found on board this punt.

(The sacks were produced in court, and deposed to by the prosecutor.)

Cross Examination.

Craft are often taken from one place to another by people that do not belong to them? - I cannot answer for that: our craft is often turned adrift.

And it is a common thing for the first person that knows the craft to fasten it for you? - Sometimes they do.

Court. Is it a common thing to take corn out of one barge into another? - No.


I am an apprentice to Joseph Miller , my father, who is a waterman. I was in the skiff with Bevan when he took the corn out of the prosecutor's barge, and put it into the punt. He took first five quarters in the skiff, and carried it to his punt, and put it in his punt; then he went and took three quarters more, and Clod took the punt to Union-stairs: then we came along-side the punt, and put the three quarters in, and laid there till morning; then we went on shore.

Cross Examination.

You was taken before the justice, and committed? - Yes.

Who took you before the justice? - My father.

You was left in the care of the punt? - Yes.

You lived in this punt? - I lay there sometimes.

You was going to be tried for this? - Yes.

You said you could prove your master was concerned in it, and then they admitted you an evidence; and the justice said you must swear against your master, or you would not be safe yourself? - Yes.

Thornton. The boy came voluntarily to me, and was not committed: I was directed to get him committed, for fear he should get out of the way.

( Bevan called a great number of witnesses, who gave him a good character.)

(There being no evidence to affect Clod, he was not put on his defence.)


Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron PERRYN .

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