10th September 1783
Reference Numbert17830910-5

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600. DAVID HART was indicted for returning from transportation, and being found at large, on the 31st of August last, without any lawful cause .

(N. B. The indictments of these transports being nearly similar to each other, it is supposed unnecessary to insert them verbatim.)

The Record read by Edward Reynolds , Esq; clerk of the sessions and goal delivery, as on the last trial.

JOHN OWEN sworn.

What are you? - A servant to Mr. Akerman.

Did you see this prisoner tried at the Old Bailey? - In April sessions last.

What was he tried for? - For stealing some muslins, and stockings, and different articles.

Was he convicted? - Yes.

What was his sentence? - To be transported to some of his Majesty's colonies in America, for the term of seven years.

Was you in Court? - I was.

What became of him after that? - On the 16th of August, he, with others, were delivered on board the Swift, at Blackwall.

Was you present at the delivery? - I was.

Who did you deliver him to? - To the mate of the ship, who is here.


I am mate of the Swift.

Where was the Swift bound last August? - To America, to Halifax.

With a number of convicts? - Yes.

How many had you on board? - One hundred and forty-three, men and women.

Do you remember taking on board the prisoner, David Hart ? - I remember him perfectly well.

Where did he come on board? - At Blackwall.

Do you recollect the day when he came on board? - The 16th of August, I believe.

When did the ship sail from Blackwall? - The next day down to the Galleons, where we received the remainder on board from the ship Censor, we left the Downs the 28th of August, and the 29th in the morning, the prisoner and the rest of them, who had been confined between decks, made what they called a rush; they came all at once into the cabbin, and secured the captain and myself, and all the ships company, and the fire arms.

Did you see the prisoner amongst them? - I did.

Did you see them come on deck? - No, I was in the cabbin, and in about a minute afterwards they rushed into the cabbin.

Tell us what yourself saw? - I saw them secure the arms, I saw them with the arms in their hands, the prisoner was amongst them, and had either a musket or a blunderbuss in his hand.

How long was this a doing? - It was done in a minute.

How did they get their liberty? - The night before, they had sent a letter to the captain, desiring he would take their irons off, he said, he would not, they said, if he would not they would take them off themselves, he said, he would fire on them, they said, fire and be damned, and they went to work, and every one took their irons off with as much ease as if they had none on.

Did you know on board the ship, that they were taking off their irons? - Yes.

Could not you prevent it? - No.

How many did your crew consist of? - Eighteen; after they had secured us, they bore away, and went a little to the east of Dunganness, between that and Rye, they let go the anchor, and hoisted the boats out, and went on shore, as many as could cleverly get into the boats got on shore, with the arms along with them; that was on the 29th the same day they made the rush, it was six o'clock in the evening that they went on shore.

How many got on shore? - Forty-eight.

What became of the rest? - The rest remained on board with us.

When did you get your liberty? - About twelve o'clock at night, we informed them of the dangerous situation they were in, in case any wind should come, and that they would lose their lives, and then they agreed to let the sailors up, and we bore away, and about half past three as they had been drinking pretty freely, they began to grow drowsy, and went down below, and there was not above half a dozen left on deck, and we searched them and got the possession of the ship, and brought her into Portsmouth.

Did you see the prisoner escape? - I cannot say I saw him get into the boat, but I knew he was gone.

He was not on board the ship after that time? - No, he was not.

Were forty-eight all that the boats would hold? - The boats would have held more I believe, but they would not take any more they were so desperate; there was not one of them that was compelled to go, far from it, for there were several knocked down that wanted to go.

Prisoner. Please to ask him, how long after the captain asked me have a glass of rum, it was, that this affair happened? - He had but just begun serving them a glass of rum; he had served about two or three messes.


I am a butcher at Rowndon, near Tenterden, in Kent; I took the prisoner up, on the 31st of August, at a place called Ashbourn , he was upon the road.

Was he alone? - He had a partner.

Is Ashbourn near the sea coast? - It is about half a dozen miles from it.

How came you to take him up? - I took him up on suspicion, I thought he and his mate were bad, and about half an hour after I had taken them up, we heard they were transports.

What account did he give of himself? - No account.


My Lord, when I was taken with this man, I told them I was willing to go with them any where, that I meant to go to town and surrender, for I was really forced on shore; as for the fire arms, I never laid hold of any; all my fellow convicts will say the same, and while I was in goal and under Mr. Akerman's care, they cannot say I behaved any thing improper: My Lord, after I had done washing myself, I went down, the captain had just given me a glass of rum, and five or six of the convicts came down, who came from the Censor, and they said, is not your name Hart, and I said, yes, they said, they insisted on me to help them to get their liberty, and that if I did not I was a coward, and they gave me this firelock in my hand; I held it in my hand, and they said, they would fire if I did not come; I wanted to go down again, for I wanted to go where I was sent, I did no mischief to any body, and I made my way, I did not mean to make my liberty at any rate at all.

Court to Hindes. Was any body with you, when you apprehended him? - Three more, but they are not here.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM.

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