10th December 1788
Reference Numbert17881210-81

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81. THOMAS CARTER and JOHN AIKEN were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 30th of November , three cloth coats, value 20 s. two cloth great coats, value 20 s. two blankets, value 6 s. one bed quilt, value 2 s. one sheet, value 2 s. a pair of velvet breeches, value 5 s. a

telescope, value 10 l. a quadrant, value 5 s. the property of Florence Mahoney ; a pendant, value 6 d. one ship's ensign, jack, and two pieces of canvas, value 1 s. a looking glass, value 4 s. a copper firepan, value 6 d. a pair of stilliards, value 6 d. the property of James Thompson , in a certain ship, called the Friendship, on the navigable river of Thames .


I lost the sundry articles mentioned in the indictment; these things, that were mine, were in my state room, on board the ship; I saw them about a week before the 30th of November, and on that day they were taken; I had a great many articles out of my vessel, in the boat, at the time; they were the property of James Thompson and me; we were concerned in the vessel together.

(Mentions the things laid to be their joint property.)

I have seen the things again, and know them.


On the first of December, in the morning, about six o'clock, I came home; it was the Monday morning, my servant informed me, that my vessel had been broke open and robbed; I am in the piloting branch, and I had been down to Gravesend; I came on shore close by where the ship lay, which was at Wapping Old-stairs; I did not go on board the ship till, I believe, about nine or ten; when I went on board, I saw the companion broke, the state room was broke open; I saw the captain's chest, that was broke open; the master of the vessel, is Florence Mahoney, we were part owners; the articles that are mentioned in the indictment I saw in their places, as my servant had put them.


I am chief mate of the ship; and I went on shore, on the 30th of November, between one and two in the afternoon.

What day of the week was it? - The Sunday night; I locked up the companion when I went on shore; and found it broke open; I staid on shore four or five hours; I left nobody on board.

What time did you come back? - About seven; I went out between one and two, when I came back, I heard a rattling in the cabbin; I went as far as the companion; and I saw the companion was broke open; directly I went on board the other ship, and I saw two of these lads jump out of the cabbin window.

Was not it dark? - Yes, very dark; indeed.

What distance was you, when you was on board the other ship from the cabin window of your ship? - She was close along side the other ship, I suppose it was about as far as from here to your Lordship, not further, I sung out, yaw haw, who's there? I was on board the next ship, and I sung out, thieves, thieves.

Was there any body on board the next ship? - Yes; and John London run round from the stairs, and catched Thomas Carter , that is one of the prisoners; I saw him catch him; I was near enough to see him.

Had the lads that leaped out of the cabbin window ever been out of your sight before London caught Carter? - No.

Then you are quite sure that one of the persons that jumped out of the cabbin-window was Carter? - I saw two people jump out of the cabbin-window, and there were nobody caught in the mud but the two prisoners; I never lost sight of them before Carter was in custody.

Are you quite sure that he was one that jumped out of the cabbin-window? - No.

What makes your doubt about it, if he was always in your sight? - He was not out of my sight till he was taken; I am sure that Aiken was one of them; I had not lost sight of either of them; I think it is the same; I saw London carry him away to the watch-house; I stood in the boat.

Are you quite sure that the same person that London took up was one of those that

leaped out of the cabbin-window? - I think it must be one, as there was nobody else; I never had my eye off them.

You said, nobody else, and never had your eyes off the person, and saw London take him? - Yes; they leaped right into the mud.

What became of the other? - I do not know what became of Aiken; he jumped right out of the cabbin-window, and held fast by the boat where the property was; and Charles Moss took John Aiken ; I was close by him, and saw him.

Have you any doubt whether Aiken was one of the persons that leaped out of the window? - He had a long coat.

Are you sure that Aiken was one that leaped out of the window? - Yes.

Whose boat was it? - It belonged to the lieutenant of the brigs it did not belong to our ship; the things in the indictment were in the boat; (describes them) and there was the furniture of the ship, and a jack ensign pendant, two pieces of canvas, a looking-glass, and a pair of stilliards, and a fire-pan; and the other boy handed them on board; and then I saw the companion-bow broke open, and the captain's chest broke open.


I am a waterman: on the 30th of November, I was upon the watch at Wapping Old-stairs; I heard an alarm of thieves; I had my boots on, and I run through the mud; it was about seven in the evening; the first person I saw was Carter; he was paddling in the mud with his hands, to get on shore; I was over my boot-tops, and I could not get at him; Mr. Taylor, the blockmaker's servant, brought me a staff, by the assistance of which I caught hold of Carter by the collar, and I dragged him on shore; I just got him to the end of Mr. Hailes's rails, and I saw Aiken jump out of the cabbin-window; after I had got Carter on shore, I was going to carry Carter to the watch-house, and just as I was going, Charles Moss came round with the boat, and he caught the other with his hands; I was in the mud; I saw Moss shewing the boat into the mud, where Carter was paddling in mud, and where Aiken jumped out of the window; I saw him above the boat about the place where they were paddling in the mud.

You saw a person jump out of the cabbin-window, when you had Carter in custody? - Yes; I was much about the distance of you to me; I was close to him, I could not go farther in the mud without being smothered.

It was a dark night? - It was dark, but there was plenty of lanthorns and candles, on the cry of thieves.

Can you undertake to say that Aiken was the other person? - I cannot, I did not think it, but I saw a person jump out of the cabbin-window, and lay hold of the gunnel of the boat.


On the 30th of November, on Sunday evening about seven, I heard the alarm of thieves from Wapping Old-stairs causeway, I saw John London in the mud; I took a boat from the stairs, and rowed round to the stern of the Friendship, and I saw John Aiken hold fast by a boat in the mud; I took him by the collar, and desired him to get into the boat, he immediately got in, and I rowed him on shore to Wapping Old-stairs, and took him to the watch-house, and gave charge of him.


I am the constable; this prisoner was delivered into my custody that night between seven and eight, to the best of my knowledge; I received the property on the first of December; I went on board to fetch part of them; there was a deal left behind, that was taken away; the captain delivered that part of the property to me that I brought away; his servant boy was with him, and another.

(The things produced and deposed to.)

Cole. There are the things that were

delivered to me in the cabin.

Court to Mr. Roberts. You were present when all the things were delivered to Cole, in the cabbin? - Yes.

Were all the things that were delivered to Cole in the cabbin, things that were put out of the boat into the ship? - They had been removed and carried back again.

(Deposed to by Mr. Mahoney and Thompson.)

Prosecutor. These are not a tenth part of the things that they had; there are no particular marks upon them, but I know them; I know the coat by the buttons; there is on the quadrant, John Goater , maker; I have had it these twenty years; the spy glass I am very confident of.


I was on board of a ship called the Joseph, a West India-man, all day; coming on shore between six and seven, both being in liquor, we slipped off the ship, into the mud, both this other lad and me.


I was on board a vessel; as I was coming over the tier, I saw this lad a little in liquor, and in the mud; I was coming to help him, and I fell in myself; this gentleman came and took me; I know nothing of the affair; I am a stranger in the place; I was left on shore sick, in a vessel from Scotland.

Court to London. Did you see the man jump out of the window of the cabbin of the ship? - Yes, I saw John Aiken jump out.

Was that the same man that was taken into custody? - I did not see him take him.

Was that man that was down in the mud, the man that leaped out of the cabbin window of that ship? - The Joseph had been gone away from the tier a fortnight; she was not there at that time.


GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice WILSON.

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