29th June 1785
Reference Numbert17850629-103

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704. WILLIAM GOSLING was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 13th day of May last, one silver watch, value 40 s. a steel chain, value 12 d. a base metal key, value 1 d. a hook, value 1 d. a trinket, value 1 d. the property of Benjamin Amblert .


On the 13th of May between one and two in the afternoon, I lost my watch in Chiswell-street , I was going home, I had been to see the balloon go off; there was a great croud, and I stopped myself for the croud to go by in a vacant place, and in an instant I felt something draw me round, I turned and caught the prisoner, and I looked to see if my watch was gone, it was, and I saw him throw the watch into the kennel ; I held him with one hand, and with the other picked up the watch, but the case flew further off, and before I could get at that it was picked up, I never loosed him till I took him to the Compter, he denied it, and another witness assisted me and put the watch in his pocket, the outer case was lost.

Mr. Garrow, Prisoner's Council. This was the day the balloon ascended from the Artillery Ground? - Yes.

There was a very considerable croud we all know? - There was a great many on the path way, I was coming home like a great many thousands.

The first thing you did after you found something was gone, was to seize the first arm you could catch? - Yes.

Recollect a little, consider the consequence to the prisoner, can you undertake to swear to him? - I can.

How was he dressed? - He was dressed in a brown waistcoat, and a coarse apron.

Have you always told this story? - Yes.

Do you know Mr. Hart, the constable? - No.

Do you know Mr. Rowley? - No.

Had you any conversation with Rowley at the time you went to Guildhall about this young man? - No, not to any soul that I know of.


I was close behind the man when the prisoner took his watch, I am sure the prisoner had the watch, I saw the prosecutor lay hold of the prisoner at the bar, I saw the prisoner throw the watch from him.

Mr. Garrow. Are you sure you was in Chiswell-street with him? - Yes.

Was the prisoner behind Mr. Amblert? - Yes, There might be ten or a dozen.

Can you venture to swear it was this young man that took it? - Yes, I was behind , I saw him distinctly, I am sure of it.


I am the officer that took the prisoner into custody, the watch was delivered to me before the sitting Magistrate by Mr. Amblert.

Prosecutor. That is the watch I picked up out of the kennel.

Is it your watch? - It is my own watch, I know it by the maker's name in the inside, Carter, and there is a trinket on it with two hearts, and a little stone.

What sort of a chain had your watch? - A steel chain and a bit of gilded thing in the middle, and two old keys, and one brass key, there is no seal at all only them two little hearts.


I was coming up Old street road, and I met one Mr. Gill, a gentleman of my father's acquaintance, and up Bunhill row, I came into Chiswell-street, there was a crying out about losing a watch, and I went to

see what was the matter, and the gentleman said it was me, and laid hold of me.


I live at No. 7, in Monkwell-street; I I am a dealer in tobacco, I have known the prisoner near three years, he lives with his father, it happened on the day the the balloon went off, I met him in Bunhill-row and a young woman was with him, and he asked me to go down with him into Chiswel-street to see the balloon go off, I said, I am going that way; when we came to Bunhill coming into Chiswell-street, there was a bit of noise about having lost a watch, and the prisoner went into the croud to see what was the matter , and he was taken into custody .

Court. What sort of a dealer in tobacco are you? - I buy it, and pay ready money for it, and make it up for public houses; I am a house keeper, I have lived there . about two months: I heard the disturbance about the robbery before this man went into the croud, and he was seized immediately .

Mr. Garrow. What robbery was it that there was this hue and cry about? - I take it to be this, but I cannot say it was this.

I meant to ask you about the character of this young man? - The prisoner bore a very good character.


I live in the highway, Wapping, I am a gardner, I have know him a twelvemonth, he has always been with his father ever since I knew him, and bore a very good character.

Court. What is the prisoner? - He worked along with his father.

Mr. Garrow to Rowley. What business did you say you was? - A green grocer and chandler twenty years.

Did anything remarkable happen to you in the month of June or July, in the year 1780? - Yes.

I believe you was here in that month? - I was, no disgrace to me for that.

You had the misfortune to be, I believe, as many other persons were, wrongfully accused of the riots? - I was tried and accquitted with much applause.

Have you had any complaint since? - Very lame, forced to go upon crutches.

Has that been the only complaint to which you have been subject? - Yes.

The prisoner called five more witnesses to his character.

The prisoner then wished to call the following witness, whom Mr. Garrow his Counsel declined to examine, and advised the prisoner not to call.


I live facing the Sun tavern fields, Shadwell, in Mr. Bishop's house; on the Wednesday in the Whitsun week, his mother and me were together, and the two gentlemen were together , the prosecutor and Mr. Rowley, it was in Guildhall yard, they were discoursing together about the young man, and Mr. Rowley said, he would make forty pounds on him; and his mother said, she hoped he would not make five farthings on him; when they came into the hall there was a man named Hart, who told these two gentleman to swear plump against him, or else he would not be fully committed, and there was another gentlewoman named Mary Newmark , and Hart said, if ever a one of us offered to speak in his behalf, he would perjure us all three, and they would not suffer ever a one of us to speak a word; then Hart told Rowley and the prosecutor to swear plump against him, or else he would not be fully committed ; all this I heard myself, for I was in the hall till the young man came out.

Who else was present? - The gentlewoman that was with his mother, her name was Mary Newmark , and by the fright, and she being with child, she now lays ill, and her life is not expected.

Who was this Mr. Hart? - I do not know what he is, I believe he is a constable or something of that kind, he wore brown clothes; the prisoner's mother said,

gentlemen , do not swear my child's life away wrongfully, and Mr. Rowley said, I will make forty pounds of him, I only want the reward; the gentleman took the watch out of his pocket and shewed it to the Alderman, and Mr. Rowley said, he saw a strange man take the case out of the kennel, and go away with it.

Court to the Officer. Take care this woman does not go out of Court till the Jury have found their verdict.

Lord Mayor. Who did you mention this to first? - His mother and I discoursed about it, I did not tell anybody about it, the Magistrates would not let him speak nor any body else; they told him not to talk till he came here.

Who was the Magistrate ? - Mr. Plomer, I believe.

Then you did not mention it to any person? - No, Sir, I have no acquaintance only his own friends.

Which was the first friend you mentioned it to? - His mother.

Why, she heard it? - I did not mention it to anybody else.

Court to Rowley . You have heard what this woman says, is it true? - No, upon my oath.

Court to Prosecutor. Is there any truth in any part of this? - Not a word.

Court. See for Hart.

(He was sent for but not found.)

Court to Prisoner. Do you know this woman, Mary Graham ? - Yes.

Did you know she was coming as an evidence? - No, I did not, I knew she was with my mother when she went up to Guildhall.


Court to Rowley and Amblert. You have heard the gross imputation that has been thrown on both your characters in this prosecution, by that witness Graham: as I am determined that she shall have a trial by a Jury of her country for perjury, I will order her to be committed for that purpose: let Mary Graham be committed to Newgate.

Court to Prisoner. You have been convicted of a crime of very considerable enormity, but the attempt you have made to cover that crime which the jury have conceived by their verdict to be perjury, and in which I am far from disagreeing with them, is a great aggravation of your offence, and though the Court would have sentenced you generally to be transported for seven years, yet now in consequence of such aggravation, your sentence is to be transported for seven years to Africa .

Mary Graham . What I have said is every word true.

Court to Prisoner. You are very much indebted to the direction of your counsel, in declining to examine that witness, his good sense felt what would be the consequence of her examination.

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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