JOHN CURTIS.
20th February 1793
Reference Numbert17930220-48
VerdictNot Guilty

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242. JOHN CURTIS was indicted for not having the fear of God before his eyes on the 28th of March , in and upon Sarah Tipple , spinster , violently did make an assault, and then and there the said Sarah Tipple violently and feloniously did Ravish and carnally know .

(The witnesses examined separate.)

SARAH TIPPLE sworn. I am a single woman, I go to service; at the time of this assault I lived servant with Mr. Curtis; I lived with him three weeks; I am nineteen next August.

Mr. Curtis is a publican , he keeps the Robinhood and Little John in Bishopsgate-street . I came up to London on Saturday; I came from Wyndham in Norfolk; I went to my place to Mr. Curtis's on Monday, this affair happen on tuesday. I was up three pair of stairs making of the beds, and my master came up stairs and bolted the door, he insisted violence upon me immediately.

Q. You must explain - He entered my body; he took and threw me on to the bed, and I called for assistance; I skrieked out once, and he put his hand and cramed the sheets into my mouth; as soon as he came into the room he bolted the door; he never spoke to me at all; he threw me on the bed without speaking to me; he put his private parts into mine.

Q. What passed then, did you make any resistance? - Yes.

Q How did he manage to keep you down on the bed, did you resist? - He forced me down, and he laid on me in such a manner that I could not get away

Q. Had you stays on? - I had a pair of stays on.

Q. Did you make all the resistance in your power? consider one hand was engaged at your mouth? - I resisted as much as I could.

Q. Did you try to do him any injury? - Yes, all that lay in my power. I could not get away at any rate in the world

Q. What past after he put his private parts into your's? How long might he be in that situation? How did he force himself on you? Did you see him take down his breeches? - He did that after he put his hand to my mouth, and then he forced his private parts into mine, and something warm came from him.

Q. During this time could not you make any resistance? - He put the sheet into my mouth and I could not, I had done all that lay in my power.

Q. How long do you conceive he remained in that situation on your body? - Five minutes; after this was over he went out immediately and went and brought up some water; I was almost dead, and he brought up some water for me to drink.

Q. Did he bring this immediately? - Yes, I was very ill.

Q. Had you fainted? - Yes.

Q Do you mean to swear that? - Yes.

Q. Can you tell at all when you fainted? Was it when he first made the attack on you? - It was when he got away.

Q. Then till he did get away you was sensible of all that passed? - I was, I don't remember his coming up stairs the second time till he put the water in my mouth, after that he went down stairs and I lay about a couple of hours on the bed before I was able to go down stairs.

Q. You do not mean that you was totally void of strength, that you could not get out of the bed? - I was too ill, I could not get up, I attempted it many times.

Q. What was your complaint? - I felt myself so ill I could not get up; I was there about three weeks afterwards; I did not know a soul in the world in London.

Q. When you did get up, whom did you find in the house? - I did not get up for about two hours; my master was in the house, and the other partner too, their was a good many people in the tap room, but I did not know them. There is a woman that lives up one pair of stairs, but I did not know her at that time.

Q. What was her business? - I don't know.

Q When was it after this happened to you that you first made any complaint? - I found myself very bad indeed and I thought it might be because I had never known any body before; at last I applied to a surgeon.

Q. Did you not complain to your master for this ill treatment? - No, I did not at all.

Q. Did you make any complaint to the woman that lodged there? - I did not, I did not know her.

Q. Who was the first person that you did complain to of this business? - I went to live in little Mitre-court, in Fenchurch-street, I was so bad I could not stay; after I found I had the bad distemper I asked the prisoner, my master, to get me into the hospital, and he sent a constable to take me up, I had left him a long time before I found out that I was so.

Q. How long ago was it? - About nine weeks ago.

Q. Did you tell him he had committed a rape on you? - I did not know any thing about committing a rape, all I asked him was to get me into the hospital.

Q. Will you swear upon your oath that you have never known him but that one time? - I never had any connection with him but then, he sent for a constable and took me up, he said, I insulted him for money, but I did not.

Q. What answer did he make to that? - I did not hear him say so, the constable told me so; the constable came and told me I must go along with him.

Q. Did you go with the constable? - I was obliged to go, he took me to the compter.

Q. How long did you remain there? - From nine o'clock till twelve.

Q. Now, I ask you when you first made that complaint? - It was when I came out of the compter.

Q. How long might that be after that happened? - I cannot rightly tell.

Mr. Knowlys. Now, my girl, tell us a little more about this; there was a man of the name of Potts lodged in the house? - There was.

Q. There was two servant girls besides yourself? - No, but one, her name was Hannah.

Q. They said you was very fond of Potts? - They did say so.

Q You kept it all snug from her and from your mistress; Hannah and you slept together; Hannah was spiteful enough to say that you sometimes got out of bed and cuddled him. Young woman was not you turned out of doors for being found in bed with Potts? - I was not.

Q. Was you not found in bed with Potts? - He does not know whether I am a man or woman; I was not in bed at all, I set on the side of the bed and was sewing my cap into the crown.

Q. How came you into Potts's room? - I went in there to make the beds at first.

Q. Did not your mistress accuse you? - My mistress never turned me away, I gave my mistress a week's warning.

Q. You never applied to your master Mr. Curtis for money? - I applied for him to get me into the hospital.

Q. Did you ever send to your master for money? - I never sent to him for a farthing.

Q. How long have you been out of place? - A long while,

Q. How have you maintained yourself? - I have sold my things.

Q. You have never received money from gentlemen? - Never.

Q. Your master came in and never said a word to you good, bad or indifferent, never called you my dear; never courted you at all? - Never said a word, but immediately threw me down on the bed.

Q.You had never known any thing of this sort before? - Never before in my life.

Q. Which part of the bed did you fall against? - It was the side of the bed near the feet and my head towards the other side.

Q. When he threw you on the bed I suppose that you suspected his intention? - I did, and shrieked out.

Q You never shrieked out more than once? - He put the sheet into my mouth, immediately crammed it in; the sheet was in my mouth all the time of the business, he was holding it down with his hand.

Q Then he had only one hand at liberty, for one hand was constantly employed in keeping down the sheet in your mouth; that was so? - It was.

Q How was your two hands employed against his one? - My two hands were behind me.

Q Pray, who was it put your hands in that shape? - Seeing him bar the door I was frightened and I held my hands so.

Q You suspected when you saw him bar the door? - I did not know what he was going to do, I thought he was going to kill me or something, I cried out and he immediately chucked me on the bed.

Q. Then he shoved you on the bed the moment that he barred the door; how far is the bed from the door? - It is close.

Q. Then you had time to make one cry and no more; how came your hands to fall behind you? - I cannot tell.

Q. That was rather odd, was not it did you ever in your life when you fell having your hands close by your side had your hands behind you before, how could they be twisted backwards by that fall? - I cannot tell.

Q. Then they remained behind all the time? - I could not get them away, I made all the resistance I could; I could not get my hands away

Q. They then remained pinioned like a fowl? - Exactly so, he prevented me, he lay on me.

Q The man is not two or three ton weight? - I made all the resistance I perfectly could.

Q. How could he laying on you prevent your drawing one hand from under you? - I made all the resistance I could.

Q. Then you really could not get one hand from under your back, that man is not a very fat man? - The moment I saw him bar the door the moment my strength failed me directly, I being in a strange place what did I suppose that that man was going to do.

Q. Did you slap his face? - I did not.

Q. Did you pull his hair? - I could not get away.

Q. Did you kick him at all? - I kicked him all that lay in my power.

Q. Then you almost overturned him by your kicking? - I don't know, I cannot say but what I might.

Q. Here he lays on you and you kicking about, it is natural you should almost overturn him? - I did all that was in my power.

Q. Did you kick his shins or did you not kick at all? - I did all that lay in my power to get away, I tried to get up.

Q. How did you try to get up; the moment that you fell down he threw himself on you; where was your petticoats? - He pulled up my petticoats.

Q. Were they pulled up before you was on the bed or after? - After.

Q. How did he manage with his other hand? - And then he laid his knee on me and in that situation he lay on me, he kept my petticoats high up with his knee.

Q. And in that situation he did it? - No, he did not do it so.

Q What did he do with his knee? - After he pulled up my petticoats he laid his knee on me to keep them up while he pulled down his breeches.

Q.He continued his knee there then? - No, he did not.

Q What kept your coats up? - He took his knee up when he unbuttoned his breeches; he was on the bed and my coats kept up.

Q. Did they keep up of their own accord or did you keep them up? - He kept them up to be sure.

Q. Now, how did he keep them up, he had not three hands, had he? - No.

Q. Now, let us dispose of the two; how did he keep them up? - I cannot tell.

Q. How high were your clothes? - My clothes were quite up to my chin.

Q. And you struggled and kicked about a good deal, did not you? - All that lay in my power.

Q. Still they kept up to your chin; you was quite a maid at this time? - I never knew a man before.

Q. Will you tell us how he managed to bring his private parts to your's, can you account how he did that? - No.

Q. Did you cross your legs? - No.

Q. It did not occur to you that that would be a good way to stop him; did you keep your legs a little wider than usual? - I don't know that I did.

Q. Don't you know that you did not? - I don't know that I did not.

Q. I should have thought keeping the legs close would be the best way to prevent him; do you know how he managed to introduce his private parts? where was the hand that was at liberty? one hand was at the sheet at your mouth, where was the other hand? - I cannot tell.

Q. Cannot you tell me how he managed to introduce his private parts to you, because you know you was a maid? - No.

Q. Nor where his hand was? was it employed to prevent your struggling? - He laid on me.

Q. Really my girl in the way you describe it I cannot see how such a thing could be effected? - He certainly did.

Q. You did not feel where the other hand was, you never felt how he employed the other hand? - No.

Q Never felt it about your person at all? - Yes.

Q. Then how was it employed? - He took his other to put his private parts into mine.

Q. Now my girl, how came you to tell me a minute ago that you did not know how it was employed, because I put it to you several times? - Because I was ashamed.

Q. When one hand was on your mouth and the other hand was so employed a very little struggle would have put him off; how came it you did not get rid of him when both hands were engaged? - I did all in my power.

Q. Did he continue this hand to his private parts all the time that he did this to you? - No, not all the time.

Q. How did he employ it afterwards? - I cannot tell you, I am sure.

Q. How came you to tell nobody of this affair? - I had no friends nor any thing in London, or else I would have told them.

Q. You slept with Hannah? - But she told such stories about, that I did not like to speak to her.

Q. What was the stories? - I did not like Hannah.

Q. Did you complain to her of your parts being sore? - No, not at all.

Q. In short they were not sore? - Yes, very bad indeed.

Q. Did you shew them to any body? - No, not at all.

Q. What did you do to alleviate this pain? - I did not do any thing at all.

Q. Your mistress's sister was there too I believe? - She was, she is ill I believe now.

Q. You know Margaret Vaughan ? - I don't know her.

Q. Not Peggy? - No.

Q. Do you know Mrs. Lancaster that lodged in the house? - I know the woman now, but I did not know her then.

Court. Was your mistress's sister the woman that lodged in the house that you told me of just now? - No, it is not.

Mr. Knowlys. Do you know Baker the watchman? - No, I do not.

Q. Did you use at any time to carry out the pots? - No, never.

Q. Did you go out of an evening? - Not while I was there.

Q. Was there only one of the servants or two that slept with you? - But one; but my mistress's sister slept in the same room but not along with me.

Q. How long was it before you discovered the venereal complaint? - I could not think what was the matter with me.

Q Are you sure nothing passed between you and Potts? - No, he does not know whether I am a man or a woman.

Court. Can you tell my girl what was the distance of time that you first charged your master? - At the time this affair happened.

Mr. Knowlys. We shall be able to ascertain that of another witness.

ROBERT CARROL sworn.

I am a silk weaver; I never saw the girl only bringing beer to my house from Mr. Curtis, he lives next door; she left her place and she brought her box, and she asked my wife to wash her some linen and she washed it for her; this was within a week or a fortnight after she left her place, I cannot say nearer; she told my wife she was going to live at No. 88, Houndsditch; she was a stranger to me only coming there; she fetched her things away and paid my

wife for washing them, and after that she came backward and forward with some young children that belonged to the master she lived with; and in the month of June, my daughter about fourteen years of age, one night said, she was sleeping in the necessary; I was in bed and the girl came to the bed side and told me of it; I said to my wife, let Sally sleep here to night; by my permission she came and slept with my children; the next morning I said to her, I wonder you do not keep your place, it is a pity you do not keep your place, to throw yourself into the street at night; she gave no reasons at all; my wife recommended her to Mr. Dobson's, she went and stayed there a little while, a very short time, there were words arose between her and the fellow servant about a pair of cotton stockings and she came away; then she went and lived at a cook's shop, in Holborn, as she told me; then she came back again and came to my house again and slept there; on being there a little while, I perceived she walked lame, and my wife used to tell me she washed herself with fuller's earth, and said, she was chafed; I said to her, if you have any thing a matter with you I will go with you to a surgeon, I went with her to a surgeon and the surgeon examined her, and he said, he thought there was nothing a matter without her blood was bad, and then she came back again and she became very bad indeed, got worse and worse; I asked her several times if she was ever acquainted with her master; I meant joking among ourselves; it was said, that Mr. Curtis was rather fond of a woman; it was not done out of any ill design to Mr. Curtis; she said, that her master never offered any thing to her, that he never behaved any way ill to her, in a while after she came to me while I was at work.

Q. Do you mean on the same day? - I cannot say whether it was two or three weeks or a month after.

Q. Can you tell me when she first mentioned this about her master? - It might be about the month of July or thereabouts; about a month after this she came up to my loom side, and she said, my master Curtis, gave me the bad distemper; I asked her how she knew that he gave her the bad distemper, and she told me that he was obliged to take the plaisters off before he could meddle with her.

Q. How often did she pretend that he had meddled with her? - I cannot say.

Q. Did you understand from this language that he had meddled with her more than once? - I should imagine by that that she did; I said to her when she told me that, did your master promise you any thing? she said, that he promised to take care of her. Then I asked her, pray did you ever tell your master that he gave you this distemper? she said no. I asked her two or three times over, she said no, she never told him. Pray, did you ever tell your mistress of it? no she said, she asked me to ask her master to get her into the hospital to get cured; I told her no, I could not think of doing of any such thing, for the time was so long I could not think of troubling my head about the matter, and if she had any thing to say to her master they must decide it themselves; that is all I know concerning that. She told me that she had a sister at the other end of the town.

Court. Just now she swore that she did not tell this to any body, because she had not a friend in town.

NOT GUILTY .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.


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