10th September 1783
Reference Numbert17830910-20
SentenceDeath; No Punishment > pardon; Transportation

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615. CHARLES KEELING was indicted for returning from transportation, and being found at large on the 1st of September last, without any lawful cause .

(The Record read as before.)

JOHN OWEN sworn.

Look at the prisoner, do you recollect him? - Yes, in April sessions, 1783.

He was then tried under the Record that has just been read? - Yes.


I apprehended the prisoner at Ashbourn, in Kent .

Did he make any resistance, or did he surrender himself quietly? - Very quietly.


I remember the prisoner amongst those that I had to transport.

What was his behaviour? - Very good, I believe he was brother to Robert Keeling .

Did he assist in writing that memorial, and getting the people to subscribe to it? - I believe he did, it was either he or his brother.

Prisoner. I only refer to my good behaviour to him, while he was in possession of the vessel? - Very well, he conducted himself well afterwards.


There is no doubt of my being here at large, when I found my destined place was for Africa, and my sentence was to America, we understood all of us, my Lord, which was the reason of our first opposition, and the cause of our first reluctance that we were to go to Africa.

Court. You could not easily conceive that? - Some of the men informed us that our destination was for Africa; if they could not dispose of us in America, they were to dispose of us in Africa.

Court to Bradbury. Was there any thing of that kind given out? - Not to my knowledge, not a word.

Prisoner. At the time of our going, it was a doubt, whether they would accept of us at America, or not, and if not, we were to be sent on shore at Africa.

Court. You know that the contractors always give a bond to deliver the prisoners, and to receive a certificate that he has delivered them.

Prisoner. They said they were to leave us where they pleased.

GUILTY Death .

These three were tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. DEPUTY RECORDER.

Prisoner. My Lord, there is one David Hart has been accused as a ringleader; I declare, he was not upon deck at the time the vessel was taken, if I was to leave the world to-morrow.

[Pardon on condition of Transportation. See summary.]

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