19th July 1786
Reference Numbert17860719-43
VerdictNot Guilty; Guilty > lesser offence

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604. ALEXANDER BELL and JOHN STRONG were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Harrison , about the hour of two in the night, on the 15th of July , and burglariously stealing therein two silver tankards, value 10 l. a silver pint mug, value 3 l. two silver salt-cellars, value 1 l. 1 s. two silver table spoons, value 20 s. a milk pot, value 10 s. four silver tea spoons, value 4 s. a silver watch, value 30 s. a foreign piece of coin, called a six dollar, value 4 s. 6 d. one crown piece, value 5 s. two half crown pieces, value 5 s. one piece of foreign silver coin, called a half dollar, value 2 s. 3 d. a linen napkin, value 1 s. a cotton work bag, value 2 d. two cotton handkerchiefs, value 5 s. the property of the said John Harrison .

(The case opened by Mr. Garrow.)

(The witnesses examined apart at the desire of the prisoners.


I keep the Kings and Keys , in Fleet-street ; I know the prisoners, they came to my house about four o'clock in the afternoon of last Saturday, and had six or seven pints of ale; my dog was taken very ill between eleven and twelve in the evening of that day; I cut off part of his tail,

he was a black and white spaniel, he had been in the house above seven years, he was very well when these two men came in, the prisoners were there at that time, they had continued there from four o'clock, I took the dog to a back parlour, and the company and Strong followed me, says Strong it is of no use to cut his ears off, which some of the company advised me to do, for he was dying; I went to bed about one in the morning, and left the prisoners there when I went to bed.

Prisoner Bell. Do not you recollect sitting in the bar, and my wishing you a very good night when I went out? - I believe he was not gone, to the best of my knowledge, I was sober.

Prisoner Strong. Do not you remember my wishing you a good night at one, while you was lolling your head on the bar? - No; I have often seen the prisoners both in the week before the robbery, and several times before for two or three months.

Mrs. HARRISON sworn.

I am wife of Mr. Harrison, I saw the two prisoners in the evening of last Saturday, they came to our house about six in the evening, to the best of my remembrance, I cannot be quite sure, I went to bed between twelve and one.

Did they continue there till Mr. Harrison went to bed? - I do not rightly remember whether they did or not, I remember letting Bell out before Mr. Harrison went to bed; I do not recollect either letting Strong out or seeing him go out; I saw Strong last in the house, between ten and eleven, that was about the time that the dog was dying, I did not much mind about the dog, I am quite sure to the fastening the bar.

Is that petitioned off from the tap room? - As it opens into the tap room, there is open work, that goes down of a night; I locked the door of the bar, and all the doors in it, my brother was the last up.

Was there any thing not in the bar when you went to bed, that was there in the morning? - In the morning I found in the bar a red garter that had not been there the night before; I missed two quart silver tankards, and one silver pint, two silver salts, two silver table spoons, four silver tea spoons, one silver watch; it was in the drawer locked up, where the salts and table spoons were, there was some silver coin of King William and Queen Mary; I do not know what it was; there was a guinea of King William and Queen Mary.

What time did you go into the taproom in the morning? - I got up about about half after seven; I lost a work-bag, containing a new shirt, almost finished, and two pocket handkerchiefs that have since been found, there were several pieces of cotton; I have the garter, and have had it ever since; I have seen the prisoners several times at my house, nobody has any access to the bar except people belonging to the house; they were all in the bar, I saw them. I observed this man at my house that night; I have seen the prisoners several times at my house before, but never saw them in the bar.


I am the prosecutor's servant, I came home about half after nine o'clock; I saw the prisoners between nine and ten, just after I came home, I remember the dog being ill, I saw the prisoners at that time about; the dog was very well when I went out in the morning, and I wished the prosecutor to try a remedy for the dog, the prisoner laughed and said there was no occasion to take it, for the dog was dying; I took care to fasten the street door with a bar that goes across, it was perfectly safe to my knowledge, I went to bed about half after twelve; I do not know when they went away, I was not the last up; when I got up I found the parlour door open, the boy called me immediately, and I found the bar door open; there were no marks upon it, all the small drawers which are in the bar were open.

Do you know any thing more of your own knowledge? - No.

Mr. Mac Nally . Are there not several

families in the house that have access to the bar? - I did not see any body when I was there.

You cannot say that that garter was not dropped by any body else? - No.

Mr. Garrow. Why he does not examine the women's garters.

Mr. Mac Nally . Had you any suspicion of the prisoners when they laughed? - No.

Did no other person in the room laugh at that time? - Not that I observed; in the morning I observed a small piece of a thick candle, which I take upon me to say, my brother never burned such in that house; it was found under the bench, where the prisoners sat.

Mr. Garrow. Now whether this is Molly's garter or no, Mrs. Harrison has told you it was not in the bar when she went to bed.


I am a pot boy, I remember the Saturday night that the dog was killed, I remember seeing the prisoners there, I saw them there at six o'clock, the latest I saw them was at half after eleven, I did not see them them go, I got up first in the morning, about half past seven, I went to bed after my mistress, and before Mr. Samuel. I found the bar down when I went to open it; it was taken off from the place where it should be, I went to the door, and there I saw a bottle, and a glass stand in the passage, just by the door, I went to take that up, and I saw the bar door open, and the drawers open; I went and told my master, I never touched a thing, I called to my master's brother, Samuel Harrison ; the street door was upon the single lock, the bar that fastens it was down, so that any body could go out; I saw the garter found.

Is this one of your garters? - No, Sir.


On Sunday morning Mr. Harrison called upon me, and told me his house was broke open; he said he had a card in his pocket, that Strong lived at No. 5, Grub-street, we went there, but he had moved his lodging, we went back, and went into Old-street; I went into a house in Old-street, and I found Strong in the back room where East was, and another person close by the bed side; I believe it was between nine and ten on the Sunday morning, the morning of the robbery; I says to him your name is Strong, he said no it is not, I repeated it is Strong; East says to me you are all right, it is all safe; this was by way of hint; I knew what he meant by that immediately, I immediately sent for some of our people, as soon as they came I found East up stairs, East gave me this money out of his pocket, in the house where Strong was.

Court. That is no evidence against Strong.

Jealous. I told East I should send him to New Prison; Bell was not there, Macmanus found him; East immediately said when he was taken up to Bow-street, if he could be admitted an evidence, he would take care the plate should be all forth coming; I then took Strong up to Covent-Garden watch-house; I had heard from the prosecutor there was a garter left in the house, I desired Strong to unbutton his breeches, which he did, and I immediately took this garter from one leg and this string from the other; I made enquiry where Strong might be supposed to live, I was told at Blue Court, Saffron-Hill, No. 10; I went there and found these things, and two picklock keys, street door keys, and a common file, he had this apron before him at the time he was taken on the Sunday morning; I know nothing else that is material.

Who were with you? - Macmanus, Townsend, Shallard, and Carpmeal.

(He produces the plate.)

Mr. Mac Nally . You have known East a long time? - No, I have not.

Did you ever know that he went by the name of Berkley? - I do not.

Mr. Garrow. I object to that, he is asking this witness something respecting somebody else, who is not now a witness, and who for any thing else never may.

Mr. Mac Nally . The witness states that when he came into the house he found Strong and East.

Jealous. I look upon it that the man never was tried in this Court, it is an unfortunate brother that was tried.

Prisoner Strong. Was not that brother in the room? - No; Bob Pearson was in the room.


I assisted in the apprehension of both these prisoners; it was last Sunday morning; I took Strong at a house in Old-street road, I was with Jealo us; we had been Grub-street, and had information that he lived about Saffron-hill quaater, but we thought to call at this house in our road, and Jealous got out of the coach, and left us three in, presently a boy came and beckoned us, and there we found the prisoner Strong, East was there, and some other persons, some boys that I did not take much notice of, that I suppose are always there, and there were some things found by some of the other people, not by me, and we sent East to New-Prison, and Strong was carried to Covent-Garden round-house, I did not see the garter found; I was told that I should see East at the Adam and Eve in the afternoon, there I found Bell, and took him into custody, and he was very troublesome, he said he would be d - nd if he would be tied or taken, or any thing of the sort; I told him it was for breaking into a house in Fleet-street that you are wanted for.

What did he say to that? - He did not like it, he said something of living in Fleet-street, or working there; I found a little small gimblet about him, nothing like a housebreaker's tool; Shallard and Townsend were with us.


I assisted in apprehending these people; on Sunday morning last, I in company with Mr. Jealous, and several others of the officers of Bow-street; we suspected Strong, and went out to look after him, and we very luckily met with him at East's house, in Old-street; I went in and saw Jealous there, and Shallard was searching him; I went up to him, and put my hand in his left hand coat pocket, and I pulled out this piece of handkerchiefs; when I was taking them out, says I, where did you get them, oh, says he, you need not mind these, these are good for nothing; I shewed them to the prosecutor, and he said these are them, they are not made yet; they have never been out of this pocket since; I know nothing of apprehending Bell.


Here is the plate I had from East last Monday about two o'clock; they have been in my possession ever since; I know nothing of the apprehension of these men.

(The plate deposed to by Mrs. Harrison)

This work bag, I am positive, is mine; I have a piece of a gown out of which I made the work bag; this great silver tankard has John Harrison on it, Three Kings and Key, Fleet-street; this only has I. M. H. I am sure this is my property that was lost; also this pint mug is mine, it is marked; these silver salts are mine; they have no marks upon them; here are four silver tea spoons, there are two of them that I can positively swear to, one is marked S. H. and the other is marked M. H. the other two I do not know so well; now this silver milkpot I am sure is my property, I never could make out the mark, and I cannot tell it now; these two table spoons I believe to be ours, one is marked I. H. D. and the other is marked L. we lost two such; here is a napkin, we lost two such as that, there is a mark upon it, L. T. No. 3. we lost such a one.

Look at these handkerchiefs? - These were in the work bag, they are not cut from each other, here is one which I have brought, I have hemmed and cut it from these two; the shirt is not found.

Look at these coins, and tell me whether you lost coins of that sort? - This one I believe to be our property, we lost one of this sort out of our bar, I have seen the other before in our bar, but I cannot so positively swear to them.

Harrison. The things are all mine; I lost such coins as these, and there was a King William and Queen Mary's guinea which the pawnbroker has.

Samuel Harrison . These are my handkerchiefs, I saw them in the work bag at ten o'clock on Saturday night; I believe the plate to be my brother's.

Carpmeal. Here is a watch.

Harrison. I believe it to be mine; there is a cypher of two Ws upon it; I bought it second hand; it was in the drawer in the bar.


I live in Old-street; I know both the prisoners at the bar by sight; I remember the day that Jealous and the other officer came to my house, it was last Sunday; Strong was there, he came to know whether every thing was safe that I had of him; I had two tankards, a pair of salts, one milk pot, some silver coin, a watch, and a napkin, marked L. T; I had them of him between seven and eight in the morning; I went and fetched them from Bell's room.

Where was that room? - In Aldersgate-street; they fetched me at half past six to go to Bell's; I asked them what they wanted, and they both told me they had some plate; they both spoke; I went soon afterwards to the house of Bell, in Aldersgate-street, facing Westmorland-buildings; nothing passed in the room till the plate was weighed; Bell took the plate out of a small hand basket, and weighed it; I carried the scales with me, it weighed seventy-five ounces; he took them out by pieces; Strong was present; when I had weighed it, I tied it up in the napkin, and I put it on the bed while I paid them the money; I put the money on the table; they did not share it while I staid; I was to have the plate, and watch, and five pieces of silver coin, and a guinea with a King William and Queen Mary's head on it; I had it from Strong first, and I returned it to Strong and he gave it to Bell, in the room that Bell calls his room; I had never been at that room before; I was to give them twenty pounds for the whole; I gave them nineteen guineas and a shilling, that makes twenty pounds; I carried the plate away with me; nobody went with me; I went to my own house; I saw Strong, he came about half past nine to know whether every thing was safe.

What to know whether it was all put into the crucible? - I suppose so; while he was talking about that, in came Mr. Jealous and asked Alexander where it come from, and he said, from Fleet-street; in the room where I weighed it, I asked him does it come far or near, and he said, it does not come far, it comes from Fleet-street.

It then became necessary to put it in the melting pot sooner? - Yes, a great deal the sooner.

You was taken into custody? - Yes, and sent to New-prison.

How long was it before any body came to you? - Bell came to me in the afternoon of the Sunday; he came to see me, and told me, if I held my tongue nothing could hurt; Bell was taken that night; that work bag was wrapped in the basket, to keep the plate from gingling; it was put in by Bell and Strong; I delivered it to Mr. Carpmeal, they were the same I bought of the prisoner; I gave twenty pounds for it.

Prisoner Bell. I leave it to my counsel.

Prisoner Strong. I leave it to my counsel.

The prisoners called no witnesses.

Court. The testimony of the accomplice is unconfirmed in respect to Bell.


JOHN STRONG , GUILTY, Of stealing, in the dwelling house, but not of the burglary , Death .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Justice HEATH.

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