10th September 1788
Reference Numbert17880910-46
VerdictNot Guilty

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544. BARTON DORRINGTON was indicted for that he, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, on the 16th of May last, upon Eleanor Masters , spinster , in the peace of God and our lord the king, then being, violently and feloniously did make an assault, and her, the said Eleanor, against her will, then and there violently did ravish and carnally know .

(The witnesses called in and sworn, and then ordered out of Court, whilst Mr. Garrow opened the case on the part of the prosecution, as follows:)

Please your lordship; gentlemen of the jury, the charge against the prisoner at the bar, is for having committed a rape on the body of Eleanor Masters ; and when I state that to be the charge against him, I of course entitle myself to your best attention, because it affects his life; on the other hand, the safety and protection of the female part of society, is intimately connected with bringing persons of the description of the prisoner to justice: The prosecutor is a single woman, servant to a gentleman in Fenchurch-street, who is a captain in the merchants service; she was sent on Tuesday the 15th of May towards Bow, that was the day of Bow-fair; when she had got some distance, she was overtaken by the prisoner, who told her he had often observed her, was very much in love with her, and had a very great disposition to make her his wife; she went about her business and returned; when she returned, she found the prisoner had been at her master's house and enquired for her,

and the fact is, that he did come several times afterwards, and still affected to have the same disposition towards her; he told her that he had been a shoemaker, and was now a limner, and in short, that he wished to marry her. Gentleman; after a considerable number of times, he came on the 16th of May, when all the rest of the family were from home; this young woman let him in and asked him up stairs into the kitchen; he went up with her, and after they had been there a very short time, he tied her hands and put a handkerchief into her mouth, and accomplished that which was his evident purpose from the beginning. Gentlemen, I have stated a case, which if proved by evidence, would intitle me to a conviction; but it would ill become me to conceal any fact that belongs to this case; for you and I ought to have no other object in our view than the attainment of public justice; and there are circumstances belonging to this case which it is fit your attention be called to, which ought not to be concealed, and which undoubtedly, under the direction of the humane and able judge, now on the Bench, will have their operation; the young woman left her service, and was gone some days under the custody and protection of the prisoner; it was with difficulty she was found out, but she was found out in a place called Foul-lane in the Borough, and it was with difficulty she was taken from him when she was found, I should also state to you, that this young woman had given him a note, promising to marry him or forfeit 20 l. now if that takes off the probability of his having violated her chastity, and this, though a bad case of seduction, is not a case of a rape, the man will be intitled to an acquittal; but, gentleman, this has not been an uncommon practice of the prisoner, as I shall be able to lay it before you strictly in evidence; for on apprehending him there was found in his pocket-book, which contained some singular curiosities, a list of young women whom he had seduced, and it is material, that the note signed by the young woman, Eleanor Masters, is pinned to several other notes, signed by those unfortunate young women whose names are in the list found in his pocket-book; the notes all of them are in these words, the same as this given by the prosecutrix


"promise to be married to Barton Dorrington

"on his demand, or to pay twenty

"pounds - Eleanor Masters ." God knows it is but too clear that demand was not intended to be made, but if this man has had a system of ravishment he will discover a little too late, for his own security, that the law will not permit the violation of women's persons and afterwards that the violator should escape by any such means, but the note will be laid before you in evidence whatever effect it may have; either it will induce you to believe her story is not true, or if you believe her when she tells you it was extorted from her and not given voluntarily, it agravates his offence; gentlemen, charges of this kind are certainly very easily made; now and then malicious charges are made; on the other hand, all I ask and all that becomes me to ask of you, is, if you are satisfied he has laid with her against her will, then you will discharge your duty to the public in pronouncing him guilty.


Mr. Garrow. What are you? - I am a servant, and was a servant with Mr. Hett, in Fenchurch-street.

When was it this misfortune befel you? - The 16th of May.

How long before that had you been acquainted with the prisoner? - The 15th of May.

When did you first become acquainted with him; under what circumstances? - I was going to Bow; my mistress had left word if any letter came from my master, I was to take it there; and this gentleman, the prisoner, he lighted on me by the way; he overtook me, and he said he had seen me many times before.

What was the first thing he said to you? - It is impossible for me to remember; he said he had seen me many times before, but

never had the opportunity to speak to me; then he went with me where I took the letter to my mistress, and he left me; I staid there till about half after eight; and when I returned home, I perceived by the people at home that he had been there.

What did he talk about? - He talked a great deal to me; he said he was a shoemaker by trade, and now he had got the business of a limner, and he had twenty pounds a year left to him by an uncle, and had a year and a half's money coming.

What was all this to you? - He pretended courtship; he came again the next day.

Did you give him leave to come the next day? - No, I did not know he was to come the next day; the next day he called again.

What time was it? - I cannot justly say.

Was it in the forenoon or afternoon? - It was in the fore-part of the day, but I am not sure whether it was about twelve or one, it was about noon; he came to the door, and said he had something particular to say to me; I went to the door, and asked him up stairs; there was none of our family at home.

Where did you go to? - We went into the kitchen, that is up one pair of stairs; after he had been there some time, he put a handkerchief in my mouth, and tied my hands behind me.

What was he doing before that? - He was talking that he designed to marry me, but I cannot tell every thing; he got me down in the kitchen two or three times before that.

Had you refused, then, to comply with his desires? - Yes, Sir, I had; then he put a handkerchief in my mouth, and tied my hands.

Describe particularly every thing that happened; you must not be ashamed, because nobody will laugh but some fool in the gallery, who will be turned out. (A person having laughed in the gallery, was threatened to be turned out by the court.) What passed after he tied your hands; you must tell, my good girl? - he had to do with me.

Court. That general description will not do, young woman; you must tell us every thing he did.

Mr. Garrow. He put a handkerchief into your mouth? - Yes.

Then he tied your hands? - Yes.

What then? - He had to do with me.

In what manner had he to do with you; you must tell us all what he did; for instance, if after he had tied your hands he had kissed you, you could tell me that? - Yes.

After he had tied your hands, what situation were your cloaths in, or his? - I was standing after he tied my hands, then I was in the chair; at last, he put me in the chair.

In what manner did he take you, when you had the handkerchief in your mouth, and your hands were tied? - He took me, and set me down in the chair; he was before me.

What did he do then? - I cannot speak, no plainer that I know of.

What did he do next? - Why, he laid with me.

In what manner did he lay with you; you must tell us the story, it is necessary for justice.

Court. You must get the better of any reserve, and tell us all that passed.

Mr. Garrow. It is as disagreeable to us; as it is to you; what did he do with you afterwards, when he had got you down in the chair? - He put his hands under my coats, and took up my coats while I was sitting upon the chair.

What did he do next? - Why, he laid with me.

Not while his hands were under your coats? - No.

What did he do next? - He kissed me several times.

Did the handkerchief continue in your mouth then? - Yes, the handkerchief was in my mouth; he kissed the side of my face.

What did he do next; can't you describe what he did? - I ask your pardon, I hope

you will excuse my mentioning such things; but I would sooner not have come here than mention such things; I have spoken it very plainly.

Court. You must relate the manner, in order that the jury may judge whether it was a rape or no. - He laid with me, and I was very ill afterwards.

What did he do after? - I don't know what I can tell you next, any more than he lay with me.

Describe the thing that he did, I know nothing about the matter; what situation were his cloaths in, after he had pulled up your cloaths? - I do not know how his cloaths were; I know how mine were; mine were very dirty; then he put his hands round my waist.

What next; where did he put any thing else? - He put something else between my legs, to be sure.

What did he put between your legs? - Why, what he had got, to be sure.

Do you mean that he put his private parts between your legs? - Yes; one hand was round my waist, and with the other hand he put up my cloaths.

Where did he put his private parts? - To my private parts.

What then? - He had to do with me.

What did he do to you, now, supposing that I knew nothing about the matter? - Sir, I ask your pardon, but I do not know that I can speak any thing plainer than I do.

How long did he continue in that situation? - The value of ten minutes.

Court. Did he enter your body? - Yes.

And continued so ten minutes? - I fancy it was about ten minutes.

Mr. Garrow. Were you sitting full on the chair all this time? - Yes.

After this, what happened next? - He began talking to me, and said, if I would not say any thing about it, he would marry me, he did not go away out of the room, but he quitted me; he said, if I would not mention it to my master or mistress, or any body, he would be married to me, that was the most of his discourse, and then afterwards he went away; I saw nothing more of him till Monday.

When did your mistress come home? - On Monday.

Who came home first of the family? - My mistress.

Was you in the house alone till Monday? - Yes.

When did you first mention this to any body? - I mentioned it to nobody.

When did you first mention it? - On Monday.

To whom? - To my mistress; I saw him again on Monday; he came to a lane just by and sent for me, and I went out.

Did you tell your mistress before you went out, or after? - After.

Did you know it was the prisoner that had sent for you? - Yes.

You went out to him? - Yes; because he threatened me.

Where did he come to when he sent for you? - To a house two or three doors off; he sent somebody, and said there was a person wanted to speak with me; he waited for me in the street; I thought in my own mind it was him; then he promised, if I would not say any thing about it, he would marry me, and nothing should be said about it; and if not, then he would descry me; then I went home to my mistress; he sent for me at ten in the morning, and I continued with him till night; I went to the house where he lived, for the valuation of half an hour.

Mr Silvester, Prisoner's counsel. Did he ravish you again that day? - No.

When did he lay with you next? - On the Tuesday next.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, it is wasting time to go further.


Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

Mr. Garrow to Prisoner. Mr. Dorrington, do not let this escape make you go into any more of these scrapes; this pocketbook

furnishes a proof of the worst kind of conduct that can possibly be.

Court to Prisoner. The seduction of these young women, under pretence of marrying, is not a crime of much less criminality than that which you have been tried for; and you will some time or another get your neck into the halter, if you do not leave off these practices.

Foreman of the Jury. Mr. Recorder, I find that gentleman makes a practice of it.

Court. Oh, he is a very bad man, certainly; but we cannot convict without evidence.

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