14th September 1803
Reference Numbert18030914-109
VerdictGuilty; Guilty; Not Guilty; Not Guilty
SentenceDeath; Death

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698. JOHN SIMMONS , JOHN CUEPPER , HARME TILLMAN , and JAN KUHLMAN , were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 11th of July , twenty-three pounds of nutmegs, value 10l. and thirty-six pounds of indigo, value 20l. the property of John-Henry Rougemont , and Philip-Fretreck Behrends , being in a certain vessel called The Hoop , upon the navigable River of Thames .

Second Count. Charging the goods to be the property of Peter Hosman , Gideon De Bie , and Jan I'Ansen .

Third Count. Charging them to be the property of Swithert I'Ansen .

Fourth Count. Charging them to be the property of certain persons to the Jurors unknown.

(The case was opened by Mr. Knapp.)

DOMINICUS BEHRENDS sworn. - I am clerk to to John-Henry Rougemont, and Philip-Fretrek Behrends.

Q. Do you recollect shipping any indigo and nutmegs on board the Hoop? - A. To the best of my recollection, there was a chest of nutmegs, and many chests of indigo.

Q. Do you recollect when? - A. About the middle or latter end of June.

Q. Were there any marks upon the chests containing the nutmegs? - A. Yes; it was marked grapes 424; there were six or seven of the chests of indigo marked double O, and two marks across it, and the number 297.

Q. Where was the Hoop lying? - A. In the river Thames; I don't know exactly where.

Q. These goods were packed up in the East-India warehouses? - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. You did not see them delivered? - A. No, I did not.

PETER CONTENSIN sworn. - Q. Do you attend from the tea and drug warehouses belonging to the East-India Company in Jewry-street? - A. I do.

Q. Did you weigh any nutmegs and indigo? - A. No indigo, but nutmegs, in April last.

Q. How many chests did you weigh? - A. I cannot exactly say how many.

Q. Did you weigh a chest marked Lot 1069? - A. I did; the landing number was 11, it was marked 6, 11.

Q. Do you recollect what the weight was? - A. Yes; two hundred, three quarters, and two pounds, gross weight; the tare was a quarter, and twenty-three pounds, leaving the nett weight two hundred, one quarter, and seven pounds.

Q. Who did you deliver it over to? - A. To William Bedbury.

WILLIAM BEDBURY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You attend the India Company's warehouses? - A. I attend the spice warehouse.

Q. Had you any order from Rougemont and Behrends? - A. Yes; an order to case a chest of nutmegs; I ordered it to be done, and it was done.

Q. Do you recollect how the chest of nutmegs was numbered? - A. Yes; 1069, it had the lot marked upon that; and when it was cased, it was marked bunch of grapes 424; it was then delivered to a carman's cart, in the usual routine of business, to be carried to some quay for exportation.

WILLIAM EASY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You attend the India Company's warehouses? - A. Yes; the private trade warehouse, in Billeter-lane.

Q. Did you weigh any indigo? - A. Yes, I did.

Q. When? - A. In March sale, 1803; I weighed three or four thousand chests of indigo.

Q. Was there any one that you weighed at that time which had upon it No. 62? - A. Yes, there was; the gross was two hundred weight and twenty pounds; the tare was half a hundred and thirteen pounds; the nett weight was one hundred and seventy-five pounds; after it was weighed, it was shipped for Rougemont and Company.

Q. Do you know that of your own knowledge? - A. Yes; I know it went from our warehouse.

FRANCIS HOLMES sworn. - Q. What are you? - A. I am waterman to the searchers of his Majesty's Revenue.

Q. Do you remember taking a chest of nutmegs marked in any particular way? - A. Yes; on the 8th of July, I received an order from Mr. Lock, one of my superior officers, to go on board the Hoop, captain I'Ansen; it expressed in the order that I should go for a chest of nutmegs, marked a bunch of grapes, No. 424; I went to the ship, and Mr. Gotty was on board, and the captain came; we had to remove an hogshead of tobaco to get at this chest.

Q. When you got at the chest, how was it marked? - A. A bunch of grapes, No. 424; when we got it upon deck, there was one end of it broke, and we nailed some canvas over the broken end.

Q. Did it appear to have lost any thing from it? - A. It appeared to have lost a considerable deal, I suppose there might be about a foot deficient from the top of the chest.

Q. It appeared to you to have been plundered? - A. Yes; it was then delivered to me in my boat, and I brought it up to the searcher's warehouse; it was delivered to Mr. Bolton, the warehouse-keeper.

Mr. Knapp. (To Behrends.) Q. What is the name of Mr. Johnson, the commander of the Hoop? - A. Swithert I'Ansen.

EDWARD BOLTON sworn. - Q. You attend from the searcher's warehouse at the Custom-house? - A. Yes.

Q. Did you see a cask of nutmegs that Soames has been speaking of? - A. Yes.

Q. When was it? - A. On the 8th of July.

Q. Did you examine the case of nutmegs? - A. Yes.

Q. How was that case marked? - A. A bunch of grapes, No. 424.

Q. Did you examine what deficiency there was? - A. We took them out of the case, and weighed them: the weight was two hundred, twenty-one pounds, four ounces.

Q. Did it appear to be full? - A. It did not; there was a vacancy as it lay down; there was a chest of indigo, the nett weight of which, was one hundred and thirty-eight pounds.

Q. Did there appear to be a vacancy in that? - A. I think there did.

Q. (To Mr. Behrends.) Do you know the house of Hosman and Company? - A. Yes; but I don't know their christian names: Hosman, De Bie, and I'Ansen.

Q. They were the brokers upon this occasion? -- A. Yes.

THOMAS WALKER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You are a Thames-Police Surveyor? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you know the prisoner, Simmons? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you know the others? - A. I know Cuepper.

Q. Where were you on the seventh of July, in the evening? - A. About six o'clock I was in a boat belonging to our office, near Wapping Old-stairs; I observed three men coming towards me, from the ship Hoop; I did not then know what ship it was.

Q. Who were they? - A. Simmons and Cuepper, and Henry Cuepper the accomplice.

Q. Where was that ship lying? - A. Between Wapping Old-stairs and Wapping New-stairs.

Q. Was she lying in the County of Middlesex? - A. Yes, as far as I understand; I went alongside the boat, Simmons held out his protection-box, and said he was a Prussian; I observed he had something under his jacket; I told him I did not want to see his protection, I wanted to see what he had under his jacket; he said he had nothing; I then got into the boat, and searched his pocket, and in each pocket he had nutmegs, and between his shirt and his body he had a number more concealed; upon Cuepper, I found nutmegs between his shirt and his body, and likewise in the same manner upon the accomplice; then I took them to the office; I asked them where they had got them; they said they got them out of a prize from Cape Francois, and that they were going to buy stock with it.

Q. That is, victuals, is it not? - A. Yes; the watermen pointed out that that was the ship; I took them into my boat; they did not say whether that was the ship or not; when I came past the Hoop, I asked them again if that was the ship, and they would not give me any answer; I then took them before the Magistrate.

Q. Does Cuepper understand English? - A. Just

as well as I do; he would not talk at all at first, till I brought him to it by degrees.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. There are a great many smugglers on the River? - A. Yes.

Q. And they generally conceal their goods as much as they possibly can when they bring them on shore? - A. Yes.

Mr. Knapp. Q. There are as many thieves as smugglers on the River, I believe? - A. More thieves than smugglers.

JOHN GOTTY sworn. - I am one of the surveyors of the Thames-Police: In consequence of information I received, I went, on the 7th of July last, on board the Hoop, she was lying between Wapping Old and Wapping New-stairs, in the parish of St. John, Wapping, in the county of Middlesex; I went on board the Hoop, I went into the cabin, and requested the captain to call the cook down.

Q. The cook is one of the prisoners? - A. Yes, Tillman.

Q. The captain, I believe, is not here? - A. No; the vessel has failed, and the captain with it; the prisoner, Tillman, immediately came down into the cabin, and I desired him to let me have the bag of nutmegs that he had stowed away in the fore peak; and I requested the captain to give him the same direction in his own language, for fear he should not understand me; he went up the ladder first, upon the ship's deck, and brought me a bag containing 14lbs. of nutmegs; I then took him and the nutmegs together to the Office. The next morning I went on board the Hoop again, to see if I could discover any bag, or plunder; as soon as the captain came on board we opened the hatches, and hoisted a cask of tobacco up, and on the larboard side, close to the foremast, was a case of nutmegs standing upon its end, covered with some coarse bagging-cloth, and the case broke; between the bagging and the case some loose nutmegs had got down, and some were scattered; we got it upon deck, we found a deficiency of about eight inches, they were nutmegs of the same quality with those that had been produced by Mr. Walker; I saw that case delivered into the charge of the searcher's waterman, he took it away.

Q. Did you observe the mark? - A. Yes; a bunch of grapes, No. 424; I then went to the fore peak, to search if any more were secreted, and on the larboard side, between a hogshead of tobacco and the lining of the ship, I found a pair of trowsers full of indigo; I then proceeded to look further among the cargo, and see if any indigo was missing; I found a case marked with two round O's and a stroke across, No. 297; I got that up upon deck, and found nine inches deficient.

Q. (To Behrends.) Whereabouts was the whole of the deficiency of nutmegs? - A. They were worth about ten shillings a pound; the deficiency I cannot speak to.

THOMAS HOLLAND sworn. - Examined by Mr. Gurney. Q. You are one of the Thames-Police watermen? - A. I am.

Q. Were you on board this ship on the 8th of July? - A. I was.

Q. Did you see the prisoner, Simmons? - A. I did.

Q. What was he? - A. He was one of the persons belonging to the vessel; I took him into custody about half past eleven o'clock, and brought him on shore.

Mr. Knapp. (To Bolton.) Q. Did you take the weight of the nutmegs, and also of the indigo? - A. Yes.

Q. Do you know who brought the indigo? - A. Mr. Little, I believe, but he is not here.

HENRY-JOHN CUEPPER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. What countryman are you? - A. I am a Prussian.

Q. In the month of July last, were you on board a ship called the Hoop, in the river Thames? - A. Yes.

Q. What was the name of the captain? - A. I don't really know.

Q. Were the four men at the bar on board with you? - A. Simmons was mate I understood.

Q. Did he act as mate? - A. Yes; John Cuepper was foremast man, Tillman was cook, and Kuhlman was foremast man.

Q. Do you remember being taken in a boat by the Police-officers? - A. Yes, I do.

Q. Were you present, before that, when any thing was done respecting nutmegs? - A. Yes; after dinner on Thursday, the day we were taken, the mate called us on deck, and ordered us to hoist out a cask of tobacco.

Q. Was any body else on board? - A. Yes; there was a Custom-house officer on board.

Q. But were there any other persons employed in shipping the cargo besides you five? - A. No; we all helped to hoist up a cask of tobacco, and then the mate ordered us to unstow the cargo, and cry if we could not put any more small things in between the goods that were in the vessel to make more room; Simmons, the mate, asked Tillman what kind of cargo there had been in the ship; Tillman told him, nutmegs, indigo, pepper, and other goods; in unstowing the cargo, Kuhlman said, I believe that is a chest of nutmegs; going on further with unstowing the things, Kuhlman said, the chest is open; then Simmons said, if it is not open enough we must break it open, and get some out; then we told him that it would not do.

Q. Who told him so? - A. In general; at least me, and the man that stood next me, said so; he

said, never mind, there has been two or three steersmen before me, and I will make it good; then some of the nutmegs were handed up, I handed some up to John Cuepper .

Q. Who opened the chest? - A. I cannot say; I saw Kuhlman with a crow-bar in his hand; I was standing in the hatchway.

Q. Was it opened by one of those four? - A. I cannot say.

Q. Was there any other person there who could have opened it? - A. Not at that time.

Q. Who took out the nutmegs? - A. They rolled out; Kuhlman put his hand to them, and they rolled out, and I handed them up in a hat to John Cuepper, and he handed them upon deck to Tillman, the cook; Simmons was standing by the hatchway upon deck, on the starboard side, and Tillman was on the larboard side.

Q. Could he see what was going forward? - A. Yes, he was present all the time.

Q. When you had taken out all you wanted, what was done then? - A. Simmons ordered us to load the things again, and come upon deck; after we had stowed the things, we came upon deck again; Simmons then sent on shore for some gin, and he sent me up alost, but before I had my things ready to go up alost with, I heard Simmons order Kuhlman to break open a chest of indigo; I don't know whether he did or not, till I came down again upon the bowsprit; then Simmons called me, and ordered me to go down in the hold, and to empty a bowl of indigo, that was standing there, into a pair of trowsers, which I did; while we were hoisting up some other things that came on board, Simmons sent Kuhlman on shore; after we had laid the hatches on, Simmons told us we might dress ourselves, and go on shore; Cuepper and I came away; we left Tillman on board; Simmons ordered us to take some nutmegs and indigo, and bring them to his lodgings, which we did; Simmons had some in his pockets; I had no pocket about me, and so he told me to put them in my bosom, which I did, and Cuepper had some in his bosom; as we were going ashore, we were stopped by the officers, and the nutmegs found upon Simmons, me, and Cuepper.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. You did not think you were doing any thing wrong, as you were ordered by Simmons? - A. No; we thought, as he was commander of the vessel, we were to obey his orders.

Court. Q. How long had you been on board? - A. I shipped myself with the captain on Wednesday evening; we all four did, in short, the mate and all.

Simmons's defence. I know nothing of it; I ordered that man, Cuepper, to go up alost, and that is all the order I gave him.

The other prisoners, in their defence, said, they only obeyed the orders of the mate, Simmons.

Simmons, GUILTY , Death , aged 36.

Cuepper, GUILTY , Death , aged 33.

Tillman, NOT GUILTY .

Kuhlman, NOT GUILTY .

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Chambre.

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