8th December 1790
Reference Numbert17901208-28

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

28. JAMES TEMPLEMAN and GEORGE PLATT were indicted for feloniously assaulting Henry Sharp , on the king's highway, on the 17th of August last, and putting him in fear, and feloniously taking from his person and against his will one half guinea, value 10 s. 6 d. and seven shillings in monies numbered, his monies .

The case opened by Mr. Garrow.

May it please your lordship. Gentlemen of the jury. Gentlemen, I am counsel in this case against the two prisoners: the indictment imputes to them the offence of a highway robbery; and as the circumstances by which this offence is to be brought home to them, are attended with some peculiarity, it will be my duty to state to you some of the leading features of the case, and the law as I apprehend it. Gentlemen, in order to constitute the offence of highway robbery, it is unquestionably necessary that an attack should have been made on the persons of those that come to complain, and that their property should have been taken from them against their will, with some degree of force: on this occasion the terror which has been applied to the prosecutor, and which has induced him to part with his money, is not that which has been applied by any weapon threatening him with personal danger, but it is that which, under the authority of all the judges in England, constitutes as effectual a terror in a highway robbery, as if the most tremendous instrument by which personal mischief can be committed, was produced, and threatened to be applied. Gentlemen, the prisoners, as you may collect from their appearance, are soldiers in the guards; the prosecutor of the present indictment is, and for more than twenty years last has been, a porter to a very considerable manufactory in Covent Garden: some time before the 22d of July he was passing through St. James's Park, on his master's business, where he saw the prisoner Templeman then on duty, and discoursing with his fellow soldiers; he was describing something about a person's being drummed out of the regiment; he listened; Templeman asked him to give him something to drink; the man said, there was no publick-house near, or he had no objection; they parted for that time: soon after this, on the 17th of

August, the time which constitutes the present, among many other complaints; as the prosecutor was passing through Great Queen-street he saw the two prisoners, one of them Templeman, the man he had seen before, crossed the street to him, and said to him, how do you do? the prosecutor said, he was very well; Templeman said, will not you give us something to drink? the prosecutor said, for what reason? to which Templeman made this reply, you know soldiers pay is very small, they cannot live by it, and we must have money some how; the prosecutor said, that was no business of his, they were not to live by him; upon which he swore he would be d - nd if he had not something; the two prisoners joined company, and they both pursued him for a considerable time, threatening him with vengeance, and that they would charge him with an unnatural practice, having behaved indecently to them, and other crimes of the same nature and tendency. Gentlemen, in the publick streets of this great town it is not very much to be wondered at, that the prosecutor should submit to these men; he did so, and gave them half-a-guinea; they pursued him; they insisted he should make it up two guineas, that he should go into a publick-house, and sign a note for the two guineas, and after a great length of pursuit the man parted with seven shillings more of his property, under a promise to meet them at a particular house that was mentioned; at that time he got rid of them. Gentlemen, I know it has been asked by former juries, how it happens that a man submits to part with his money on such an imputation as this; but I am afraid no man is quite equal to the task of deciding how even a wise man, and a man of firmness would act, till brought to the trial; one thing I am quite sure of, that the moment a man has been foolish enough, and indiscreet enough to part with the smallest portion of his money on such a charge, there is no end to the pillage that shall be committed: so it happened on the present occasion, this man having parted with his money, submitted himself to the attack of all the bad men in the regiment, and it forms an important confirmation of the testimony of the prosecutor, so as to involve the prisoners in the guilt. Gentlemen, from time to time the prisoners, sometimes together, sometimes one of them alone, sometimes one of them with other accomplices, continued to harrass this unfortunate man, and extort from the produce of his very hard labour, to the amount of several pounds, in the course of a very few months: I state it to you, that at last worn down by those repeated solicitations, he was driven to apply to a friend, and what passed between one of the prisoners at the bar (for the other was not present at that time) will be extremely material and important for you to take into your consideration. Gentlemen, the prosecutor, Sharpe, after having been repeatedly applied to, and as repeatedly pillaged of his property, applied to a person of the name of Simms, who keeps a greengrocer's shop, for his advice and assistance, and at one of the meetings Simms was present, and he seems to have acted with as much propriety as one would expect; he applies to Templeman, who was with another man, not included in this indictment; coming into the room in which they were together, he says to Sharpe, are these the men that have extorted money from you? this was in the hearing of the prisoner Templeman; the prosecutor said, yes; upon which Simms proceeded to state to them, that he wondered at their conduct, as they were subject to a capital charge, and that he should think they might be in liquor; the reply made by Templeman is of extreme importance; he said, he was not in liquor, he knew very well what he was about, and admitted he was one of those who had already extorted money from the prosecutor: gentlemen, Mr. Simms still proceeded, he said, for God's sake has there ever been any thing indecent passed between you and any of these men? to which the prosecutor protested his innocence, as he will do to night on his oath; and both the persons thenpresent admitted there had been no charge whatever against this man, that they might as well have made the charge against a person a thousand miles off; that they admitted in the most ample, full, and unequivocal manner: upon this they proceeded to write what they called a discharge, Templeman having previously written the letter, which I will read to you;

"Sir, I should be much obliged to you if

"you will please to step out to me, I have

"got something very particular to say to

"you; I did not like to have talk in your

"shop, as I thought you would not like

"it; I expect you to attend me immediately." Gentlemen, in consequence of this the prosecutor went out of the shop, and adjourned to the place, where Simms met them, and the result of the meeting there, when Simms was present was, that the prisoner Templeman wrote this, which he called his discharge, and which was signed by him and another person; -


"do hereby promise that I, Thomas Vick , (which never was Templeman's name)

"and Thomas Brown , will not molest or

"disturb Mr. Sharpe on any pretence

"whatever." - Gentlemen, the question for you materially will be this, is the story in the main, which the prosecutor, shall tell you, true? is it true that he was attacked by two persons, at the time he will describe to you, on the king's highway, and that in consequence of the conversations I have stated, or indeed alluded to, he parted with his money? if so, the next question is, who were the persons who so procured the money from him? were they the prisoners? about that you will have this evidence; first the positive testimony of the prosecutor, who saw them on several occasions, and who had great reason to observe them; the testimony of Simms, an indifferent witness; and the declaration of these two men themselves, after they were taken into custody. Gentlemen, in justice to them, if it could be of consequence to them, I ought to state the whole of those declarations; they did not deny the circumstance of their having obtained money from the prosecutor; but they seemed to have thought, that if there was any foundation for the charge that they had extorted it, they extorted it with impunity, for they stated before the magistrate, that this man had been guilty of those indecencies, and that in consequence of those indecencies, they obtained the money from him. Gentleman, if a man is of unnatural practices and tendencies, in the name of God let those who know it, and can prove it, thrust him to the bar of criminal jurisdiction; let such a man meet with the punishment due to his merits; but God forbid that should be made a pretence upon which bad and guilty men should extort from the king's subjects the money from their pockets; even if that afforded a defence, if it should throw a shade on the testimony of the prosecutor, such a case does not exist in truth; the man will himself deny it; the man himself will solemnly tell you, that he never saw these men but under the guilty circumstances I have stated, and he will confirm this by the testimony of Simms; and I have material witnesses to shew you that the character of the prosecutor excludes all suspicions of such a kind. Gentlemen, I already hinted to you, that there is a degree of doubt excited in the mind of many a man, when he hears of money being parted from; I have already told you that some of the best men that ever ornamented society, have been weak enough not to be able to bear up under the terrors of accusations against their characters, so alarming and so terrifick as the present; that they have submitted with the most perfect consciousness of innocence, to part with a little trifle of money, to prevent being called into a court of justice. Gentlemen, I shall lay before you the evidence. On the one hand, the growing experience of the times shews us that these accusations, which are very easily made, which are extremely difficult to be refused, which may be made by the worst of men against the best members of society, have grown to an amazing height, and it is a duty you owe to the publick to make the prisoners the sacrifices of their own delinquency, if you believe them guilty; but

on the other hand, however much you may abhor and detest the crime imputed to the prisoners, in your abhorrence of the crime you ought not to involve innocent persons in the consequences of guilt. Gentlemen, I have no doubt but you will attend to the evidence with that care and impartiality which ought always, and which, thank God, always does, characterize an English jury. I shall call the witnesses with no anxiety about the result of the case, having no doubt but publick justice will be satisfied.


I am foreman of the carpet-warehouse under the Piazza, Covent-garden, and have lived there 24 years; I saw the prisoner Templeman first about a year ago, and coming down the steps into the Park from Dartmouth-street; it was of a Sunday; he was telling some persons something about a soldier being drummed out of the regiment; he said it was very cold; he asked me for something to drink; I said, there was no publick-house near, or I should have no objection; he said, he should soon be off guard; I said, I should not be there. On the 17th of August, about eleven in the forenoon, I was going to Queen's-square, Bloomsbury, to lay down a carpet; I saw the two prisoners near the pump in that street; Templeman left Platt, and crossed to me, and said, How do you do? I says, very well; he says, Will not you give me something to drink? I says, no, for what? He said, every one knows soldiers pay is very small, such as they cannot live by, and we will have money somehow; I said, What is that to me? you are not to live by me; he replied, he would be d - ned but he would have some money; I made answer, in the same language, I would be d - ned if he should from me; he said, if I did not, he would charge me with indecent behaviour; I asked him what he meant by that; he said, that the Duke of York gave such encouragement to soldiers, that he would give them five guineas for charging any man with indecency: Platt, during this conversation, walked slowly on behind him; he took no part in it; then Templeman turned round, and waved his hand for Platt to come to him; accordingly Platt came up, and Templeman says to Platt, he will not give us any thing; they both said they would be d - ned but I should; for I had behaved very indecently to them at a publick-house, one Johnson's, down at Westminster; they both repeated, over and over, that the Duke of York had given a man five guineas lately for charging another.

Did they explain what indecency you had been guilty of? - Yes; they said I wanted to search his privates; them were the words.

Who used that expression? - Templeman.

In the hearing of the other? - Both close together: I said, I was very much surprised that they could behave in such a manner, they knew nothing of me; they said, damn their bloods, they did not care, they had so much encouragement, that they would do it, and if I did not give them money, they would have me pilloried, as a man was in Bond-street, or Hay-hill, or somewhere that way: I being very much alarmed indeed with such threats, I could not tell what to do; I was afraid of my life from the people; I told them, if they behaved themselves like men, there was a shilling for them, and I gave Templeman a shilling.

What induced you to give that shilling? - Fear, Sir.

Fear of what? - Fear of being exposed to the people, and my character; I in short was in such terror, that I did not know which way I turned: they said, that would not do; Platt said, what was a shilling between both; they went on abusing me through Gate-street, Little Turnstile, into Holborn, and up Dean-street, still repeating their request, that they would swear indecency against me, and have me punished, if I did not give them more money.

What were the expressions they made use of? - Damning their eyes but they would swear an unnatural crime against me.

Repeat the very words. - Them are the very words; d - n your eyes, if you do not give us more money, we will charge

you with an unnatural crime; in this way they kept following me for some considerable time, till we came to the top of Red-lion square; then Templeman says to a lad that was there, d - n him, where is a constable, we will charge a constable with him; the lad made no answer; upon which the prisoner Platt said, what should we do that for, he will give us more money. We passed the corner of Red-lion square, they still repeating their demands; there I was so much alarmed; and in Lamb's-conduit passage Templeman swore it would not do, he would have two guineas, and gave me the shilling back; I told them I had not two guineas to give them; they were both close together, both joined in the conversation, all the way; they kept repeating their demands, d - n their eyes if they would not charge me with an unnatural crime: when we came into Lamb's-conduit-street, Templeman said, d - n his eyes, a magistrate lived there, and they would take me before him, if I did not give them the two guineas; I told them, if I had done any thing wrong, to do it; I bethought myself where I was, and I turned back up East-street into Devonshire-street, and to Queen-square; and in Little Ormond-street, by the church of St. George the Martyr, we stopped; there they still demanded two guineas, or else they would follow me the whole day, go where I would; I told them I had not the two guineas; Templeman desired I would go into a publick-house, and give them my note of hand; I told them I would not, let the consequence be what it would; Platt asked me if I had not property enough about me, where was my watch; I told them I had none, but I would give them what I had more about me, which was 7 s. more and upwards; Templeman said that would not do, he would have two guineas, and would follow me the whole day: while we were in this conversation, a well-dressed gentlewoman passed; it took, I believe, her attention; to wave, I suppose, the conversation, Platt said, if your brother's note is not paid tomorrow, we will arrest you: then they said, if I had no more money about me, I should meet them at night, and make it up two guineas: Templeman said they would not let me go; Platt said, let him go, his name is Mr. Reynolds, he lives at No. 5, James-street, Covent-garden, he is a carpenter and undertaker: Templeman said it must be that evening, at 8 o'clock; no other time would do: I said, I did not know I could raise two guineas that evening: Platt mentioned the King's-head, James-street; I appointed the Fountain, Round-court; we did not meet; and we parted: on the Friday following I saw Platt alone; I saw the two prisoners together, the 20th of September, on a Monday, I think, about two in the afternoon, at my master's shop; Templeman opened the door and came in, Platt and another was without the door waiting; I followed Templeman out; in consequence of what passed that day, I went to Mr. Arthur Simms on the Tuesday; I was so exceedingly uneasy, I could have wished myself out of the world a thousand times: on Wednesday, between 9 and 10, I went with Simms to find the prisoners; they were not on the Parade; they belong to the 2d regiment: on that Wednesday, about one in the afternoon, the prisoner Templeman and another man came into the shop again, and gave me this letter into my hand; he said it was an order from the Duke of York to attend his Royal Highness at the orderly room: Platt was not there at that time: this is the very paper: (Read.)

"September the 2d, 1790.


"I shall be much obliged to you if you will please to step out to me, as I have got something very particular to say to you; I did not like for to have talked to you in your shop, as I thought you would not like it; I expect you to attend me immediately.

"Yours, &c.

"T. B."

Upon this letter, I followed him out of the door, and looked at it; I asked him to step along with me, I did not say where, but I went to Mr. Simms's stall, as Simms and me had agreed before; he went with me;

Simms was not at home; I sent for him; Mrs. Simms went for him: Templeman said I must go directly, for the Duke was waiting in the orderly room, and he would be gone; I said I would not go without a friend, though I had no objection to go; I desired him to stop till my friend came; he said, d - n your friend, what have we to do with him; if you will not go with us, we will fetch them that will make you: Templeman and the other were very abusive; I really was afraid of a mob: I desired them to go to a publick-house and call for a pot of beer, and I would pay for it, but I would not go till somebody came to go with me: they were very clamorous about my going, and we went to the Northumberland-arms, Great Russel-street; Templeman asked me for some writing-paper, and pen and ink, to give me a discharge, never to trouble me on any pretence whatever; Simms was not yet come; I sent a girl for a sheet of paper, and we went into a back room; I left them, o fetch some money; they came down then to a guinea; I came back with Simms, and we both went into the back room; there were Templeman and Smith; Simms asked me whether them were the men that had extorted the money; that was in their hearing; I told him they were two of them: Mr. Simms got up, and came close to them, and said, Good God, you must be in liquor, you cannot be in your senses; they said they were as sober as he; then he told them they could be but little acquainted with the laws of their country, for, had I acted any thing that was improper, they should have taken me to a justice, for by extorting one shilling in the manner they did, it would most likely affect their lives. Simms asked me, Sharpe, have you, or have you not, at any time, behaved indecent to those men? I declared, as I do now, as God shall never receive me, if I ever knew whether they were men or women, or ever took any liberties with them: Templeman said I was innocent of the charge they had laid to me; they both said, he is an innocent man, but we want money, and will have it somehow: I begged from that time forward that they never would think of such a way of life; I said how unwilling I was to take away the life of fellow-creatures; and they said they were very thankful to me, and would never trouble me again: Templeman wrote this paper, and signed one as his own name, that is, Thomas Vick , and wrote Thomas Brown his mark, to which Smith made a mark.

(The paper read.)

"I do hereby promise, that I Thomas Vick , and Thomas Brown , will not molest or disturb Mr. Sharp on any pretence whatever.


" Thomas Vick ,

" Thomas Brown , his X mark."

Sept. 22d, 1790.

At that time what money did you give them? - Ten and sixpence. The prisoners were taken into custody the 4th of November. Templeman came to my master's shop between seven and eight in the evening; I went to know what he wanted with me; I said, what are your demands with me? he said, money: I desired him to step with me; he said he knew where I was going; he cared neither for me nor my friend: I sent for Mr. Simms; he was making his demand for money; in about two minutes Simms came; he said, Sharp, what would you have done with this man now? I said, take him to Bow-street: he went pretty peaceable till we came near to the end of Bow-street; then he swore he would be d - ned if he went; Simms collared him; he was very resolute; but we took him to Bow-street: Templeman was secured; the other man, Platt, was taken that evening, in consequence of some information Templeman gave: on the examination before the magistrate I was present, and Platt declared he never saw me before, over and over again: they were examined separate: Templeman said he had something to say that he could not say at the public office; Mr. Bond said that was the time; he said, he was on sentry, in the time of duty; that I came up to him and asked him to drink; he said, he could not till he was off duty; that I said I would go to a publick-house

and call for some beer, and he came, and I sat with a pint of beer before me, and I asked him to drink; when that was out, I called for another, and another, and then I asked him where he should be posted the next sentry; he told me it was very uncertain, but he was stationed somewhere at a box facing the recruit-house; it was between eight and nine, or near nine; that I said, halloo, is it you? I said, yes, it is, I know by your voice.

The result was, that Templeman had said some indecencies passed between him and you in the Park? - Yes.

Look at the prisoners; are you quite certain to them; are they the two men who on the 17th of August got the ten and sixpence and the seven shillings from you? - Very certain; I saw Templeman four times before he was apprehended, and Platt seven times; I have not the least doubt in the world but they are the two men; they were following me near half an hour.


In consequence of a representation made by Sharp, I went to the Northumberland-arms, on Wednesday, I am not cert in to the day of the month; I went with the last witness; there I found Templeman and Smith; I went in just before Sharp, and asked them if they did not want the porter at the carpet-warehouse, naming him; they said, yes; Sharp instantly came in, and I arose from my chair, and I said, Mr. Sharp, are them the two men that extorted the money from you? he then said yes; and I asked the two men what they could think of themselves, to threaten a man with such a crime as they had done; I then asked Mr. Sharp whether he was guilty of it or not; he then said, no, he was not; they both of them then declared that he was not guilty; I told them then that it was a very odd sort of life that they had taken, and as they were both young men I would wish them to apply their minds another way; I asked them if they knew the meaning of extorting money, for I thought one shilling extorted would take their lives, or something to that purpose; Templeman then said my talking to them had taken that effect on him that he would not go that way any more: then they got more money: I saw Templeman write the paper, and sign his name, as he pretended, and give it to the other, who made his mark: this is the paper that Templeman wrote.

Prisoner Platt. Do not you know the sign of the Horse and Groom, in Eagle-street, some years back, a house of a very infamous character? - Yes, I do.

Whether it was not a house that was used by a person of the same description as Mr. Sharp, who is now confined in New Prison, who knows the connection of Mr. Simms for eight or ten years back, who is of the same description as my prosecutor? he is in New Prison, and we cannot get him out.

Mr. Garrow. Have you ever been married? - I have had three wives.

Have you had children by them all? - Not by the present, but by the other two I have had a great many, two at a time sometimes.


The first time I saw the prosecutor was when I was standing at the Cockpit steps; it was within a quarter of three; he asked me the hour; I told him; he asked me if I chose any thing to drink; I told him no, there were so many officers passing, I was likely to come into trouble; he asked me what house I used; I told him we generally used Johnson's, the corner of Queen-square; he asked me what time I came off guard; he said he would be there; I went there, and found him sitting there with a pint of beer before him; when I called for a pint of beer, he said I had no occasion to call for any, he had some; he asked me to sit down by him; I did; he asked me if I chose any thing else; he called for another pint; he asked me how old I was, how long I had been in the regiment, and whether I was married; I told him; he asked me when I went on guard again; I told him at

eight o'clock; he asked me what post; I told him I was a sentry at the Bird-cage walk, near the recruit-house; he said he would be sure to be there at eight o'clock; he came, and asked me what it was o'clock; he said he knew my voice; he walked up and down, and asked me several times if I knew one Tillotson, one Jameson, one Stringer; I told him no; he said they were young lads he had a very great regard for, and they had had many pounds of his money; he asked if there were any girls about; he asked me to go into my box; I told him no; he said, you are very hard-hearted; I asked him for what purpose; he went behind my box (if there are any ladies in court, I hope you will desire them to withdraw), and he called me to him; I asked him what he wanted, and he had then unbuttoned his breeches, and got his privates out, and wanted me to feel them, and asked me to feel mine; I said no, is this the purpose for which you have followed me this four or five hours? he immediately buttoned up his breeches; I took hold of him by the collar; my firelock was in my hand, and that was falling down; he got away from me, and I never saw him till the latter end of July or August: going down Queen-street, I was with Platt, and I said, that is the man that used me so ill; he said, how do you do, soldier? I said, how do you do? I mentioned the circumstance; he said, says he, I remember something of it, but I hope you will not hurt me; there is a person behind with a carpet on his head, who belongs to the same shop, and I hope you will not hurt me; he gave me 18 s. 6 d.; says he, I have no more money; if you have a mind to meet me at the Fountain, in Round-court, I will give you another guinea; but, for God's sake, say nothing of it: I took the money, and saw him no more till we went to Mr. Sharp: I was talking with a comrade; Sharp came out and tapped me over the shoulder, and said, do not say any thing, here are five half-crowns, go about your business. I am as innocent as a child unborn.


About the latter end of February, Sharp came to me; I was talking to the sentry; he asked me to have a drop of porter; he gave me a shilling to fetch a pot of porter; I went to the Horse-guards and fetched it; I went to give it to him; he bid me drink, and told me to keep the change for myself: after the beer was out, he went away, and stood by the Horse-guards; he stopped me again, and asked me to have a glass; I told him I would rather not; he asked me my name, and if I could meet him that night, at seven o'clock, at the Black-horse; I told him I could not that night, but the next evening I would; I met him, according to promise; he had a pint of purl and gin, drinking it: just about eight we set off; he paid the reckoning: going up the Park, he kept squeezing my hand, and hugging me; he said it was very cold; he thrust his hand into my breeches, and wanted to kiss me; I knocked him down; he told me then his name was Reynolds, and he lived in James-street, Covent-garden; he was a carpenter and undertaker: when I first found out where he lived, I was waiting for some potatoes; he came out and tapped me over the shoulder, and put five half-crowns in my hand: several other men in the regiment know him. I find Mr. Simms, by all accounts, is as noted a man as any going; he used to live with one Mr. Young, at the Horse and Groom, in Eagle-street, as man and wife.


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

View as XML