10th September 1788
Reference Numbert17880910-56
VerdictGuilty; Not Guilty

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554. JOSEPH SHORT and HERBERT BURLTON were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 30th day of June last, a gold enamelled gold watch, value 15 l. a gold seal, value 10 s. a gold watch key, value 2 s. a gold enamelled slider, value 5 s. and two enamelled drops, value 5 s. the property of the right honourable Charles, Lord Southampton .

The Right Honourable CHARLES, LORD SOUTHAMPTON sworn.

On the 1st of June, I was coming from the Lyceum in the Strand; waiting for the carriage, the prisoner Short walked up to me; upon my desiring him to stand out of the way, he immediately stopped, and I felt his hand at that moment at my watch; I directly seized him by the collar, calling out, that this man had got my watch, and gave him to my servant; my watch was gone.

Was there any body else near enough to your lordship to have taken the watch from you? - I saw nobody near at that time, but the moment of my collaring him, there was a crowd came round; I know nothing of the other prisoner.

Mr. Garrow, Prisoner's Counsel. I believe he was immediately carried into the Lyceum? - Immediately.

Was he searched in your lordship's presence? - Yes.

There was no watch found upon him? - None.

The performance was at an end? - Yes.

A great number of persons near the door? - Not at that time.

You had a child in your hand? - I had.

And you found it difficult to get to your carriage? - No; I should not have found it difficult at all; the only obstruction I met with was the prisoner walking up to me.

Your watch has been since found? - Yes, it is in court.


I am a pawnbroker in Long-acre; I produce a watch-case which I received of the prisoner Burlton; a customer of mine lost a plain gold watch-case, and begged the favour of advertising, it with three guineas reward, and the prisoner Burlton brought it to my house in consequence of the advertisement, the 3d of July.

Have you the advertisement here? - No.

In what manner was the watch described to have been lost, that you advertised; - It was described to have been lost in Oxford road; that a gentleman was riding on, and pulling out his watch, dropped the case; I did not see the advertisement; the prisoner Burlton brought this advertisement in his hand to me, and said three guineas; he gave me a direction, and where he said he lived, he did live; he said he found the case between ten and eleven o'clock, at the Lyceum in the Strand; he did not say what day; he very readily left the watch-case; he went further, and called again in twenty minutes afterwards; in the meantime I sent down to Bow-street, and the clerk had forgot it; so then I drew up this advertisement to advertise it.

Was the prisoner found by means of the direction he gave you? - He was immediately; he gave me a very true direction; he was taken into custody immediately; I told him at first that he had made a mistake, and brought the wrong case, he came back again nevertheless.

Lord Southampton. This is the case of my watch.

Court to Lord Southampton. Does your Lordship recollect seeing the prisoner Burlton, or any body like him, during the time of of the robbery? - No, I do not.

Has the watch itself been found? - The watch is here.


On the 30th of June I was doing duty at the Lyceum, and I went out of doors from the hall, cautioning the gentlemen and ladies to take care of their pockets; I saw my lord and his servant have hold of the prisoner Short; I went up to my lord's assistance, and he saw I was an officer, and he told me to take charge of the prisoner; I took him immediately into the hall, and searched him, and found nothing upon him; I took him before Sir Sampson Wright that night, and from there to Covent-garden watch-house. - On the 7th of July this letter came to me, brought by a boy.

Is the boy here? - No.

Do you know any thing of the handwriting of the letter? - No.

Did you find the watch? - I found it; here it is; I found it at Old Slaughter's Coffee-house, directed and sealed up in this paper; I did not know what it was, till I took it to Sir Sampson's.

The watch produced by Umpage, and the seal, which were Lord Southampton's.

Lord Southampton. When he shewed it to Sir Sampson it was not then broke.

Mr. Garrow. I take it for granted this outside case had a chrystal? - Yes.

It had none when brought to Mr. Heather? - No.

Court. How came this broke since you shewed it to Sir Sampson? - I was opening it myself, and it came in two in my hand.

Court. Is there any body here from Slaughter's Coffee-house? - No.

Mr. Garrow Did you search Short thoroughly? - I did.

You have been used to that business? - Yes.

Could he have had the watch when you searched him? - No, I am sure he could not; I am sure he had not the watch.


I know no more than Mr. Heather's coming down to the office, and I went to Mr. Tregent the watch-maker, to see if it was the case, and I went to search the boy's lodgings; nothing was found there.


I am servant to Lord Southampton.

Did you observe this man before my lord seized him and delivered him to you? - I stood by my lord's left hand, and he rushed by me; I saw him stoop down and put his hand to my lord, and my lord immediately said his watch was gone, I seized him, and he rushed between me and the street.

Was there at that particular moment, any body else between you and his lordship? - Not a soul; I touched my lord with my right hand almost.

Did you see the other prisoner there all? - Not to the best of my recollection; I never saw him before I saw him at Bow-street.

Prisoner Short. I wish to ask Mr. Umpage the constable one question. - Was not there a large concourse of people round the Lyceum door? - I saw five or six pickpockets standing there, and I cautioned the people to take care of their pockets; the place was much thronged; it always is.


The Lyceum is situated in as populous a place as any in London, he seized me directly, and I was searched and nothing found about me, and I was immediately taken up to Bow-street; and about the 5th or 6th day the watch was brought to Slaughter's Coffee-house; whether or no it is possible for his lordship to swear with propriety that I am the identical person that took his property, I leave it to the superior wisdom of the court and of the jury.


I am brother to the prisoner; I am a grocer and tea-dealer; I did live in Oxford-street.

Are you a housekeeper? - I was then, at No. 252, Oxford-street, I had a house and shop there.

Was your name on the shop? - Yes, and profession too; I rented a house of 50 l. a year rent and taxes; my brother resided with me there ever since he was liberated from his former confinement, and he behaved very well there; I believe he got his pardon last August, and he resided with me ever since till the present time that I left the house.


My master sent me to Mr. Smith's in King-street, Covent-garden; Mr. Norman, he is at the door, he is a carpenter and joiner, No. 2, Denham-court, Little Drury-lane; I was carrying two back-boards to Mr. Madden at the Seven Dials with a little frame, and when I had done there I returned back to Swan-yard; it wanted about five minutes to ten; I sat on the post the corner of Swan-yard till it struck ten; up came a young lad I knew, and asked me to take a walk, so I said, I must get up early to-morrow morning or else I shall get no money to spend on Sunday; I saw a mob, and heard something jingle; I looked down and took this thing up, and I returned home to my master, and the next morning I shewed it to the two apprentices that laid in bed, and to every body round the neighbourhood; when I came up, there was a mob at the Lyceum door; I did not hear that any body had been robbed; I heard something jingle among the people's feet, and thought it was a buckle.


I am a publican in Little Drury-lane, I keep the Old George; I know Burlton came to me in the morning, and said he had found a watch-case, he wanted to look over my newspapers; he said I have found a gold case; I said, I dare say it is cold enough; I think it was the 2d or 3d of July, I believe it was the 2d, he came the next morning to look again at the papers.


I am a picture-frame-maker; I know Burlton exceedingly well; he has worked with me better than half a year, he behaved exceedingly well, very honest and just; on the evening of the 30th of June he went from my house to take some things between eight and nine; I cannot tell what time he came home, he does not lodge with me.

Shall you be willing to take him again if he is acquitted? - Oh, by all means.


In the morning after the prisoner Burlton found the watch-case, as he told me, but I do not recollect what morning he was taken up, the second morning after he brought me the watch-case; it was an enamelled case like this, it had no glass in it.


I have known Burlton about four years, a very good character; I saw the lad the next day after he said he had found the case, and he told me of it, he met me in the court where he lived.


I think it was the 2d of July, as near as I can recollect, that he shewed it to me.

Court. It seems pretty clearly established that this young man, without any reserve, shewed the watch-case to several people till the time he was taken into custody.

(There were many more witnesses to the character of Burlton which the Court did not examine.)


Transported for seven years .


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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