William Harper.
4th April 1733
Reference Numbert17330404-53
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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69. William Harper , of St. Mary At-Hill ,

was indicted for privately stealing a Bag, and 6 Guineas, and 39 s. from the Person of Matthew Monger , March 9 .

Matthew Monger. As I was going from my Vessel to Dinner upon St. Mary-Hill , there was a Throng of Carts at the Foot of the Hill; I saw the Prisoner a little before me. He turn'd back at the sore Part of a Coach; we met, I stepp'd aside to give the Way; he jostled me, I gave way again, and he jostled me a second Time. I ask'd him, what he meant by it? And as I look'd him in the Face, I felt the Bag drawn out of my Pocket. He got past me; but upon missing my Bag, I turn'd back upon him, seiz'd him by the Shoulder, and said, You. Rascal, you have robb'd me! As I spoke, I saw my Bag upon the Ground. He stampt upon it, and said, If you have lost any Thing, there it is - Let me go. No, says I, I don't know but you may have taken something out of it. I took the Bag up, and sent for a Constable. We carry'd the Prisoner to the Blue-Anchor Alehouse, and search'd him (because another Man had lost 17 Guineas the same Day) and we found a Guinea and a Half upon him.

Prisoner. Did you find any of your Money upon me?

M. Monger. No; my Money was all in the Bag.

Prisoner. Did you see me drop the Bag?

M. Monger. No; but no Body was so near me as the Prisoner, when I lost the Money, nor any Body, except my self, so near the Bag when it was dropt, as the Prisoner was, by some Yards.

Prisoner. There was a Crowd of People about us.

M. Monger. There were several People not far of; but none besides the Prisoner, were at that Time, near enough to take the Bag or drop it.

Juryman. When you felt the Bag drawn out off your Pocket, was there no Body but the Prisoner near enough to have taken it?

M. Monger. We were betwixt the Wall and a Coach, and there was none but he and I there, within the length of that Coach, and I catch'd him within ten Steps.

Daniel Gough . I was at the Post at the Bottom of the Hill. The Prisoner stept over, and the Prosecutor follow'd and collar'd him, and said, he had robb'd him. I heard something drop at that Time. It chinck'd like Money. I look'd and saw the Purse in the Prosecutor's Hand, and it was dirty. He call'd for a Constable, and I went for one.

Prisoner. Did you see me drop it?

D. Gough. No; I only heard it fall, and it fell at your Feet.

Juryman. Was any Body near the Prosecutor and the Prisoner, when the Purse was dropp'd.

D. Gough. I can't be positive how near, but no Body was close. There might be some Body within a Yard or two; but I can't say whether there were or no.

John Mason . At the Blue Anchor before the Bag was open'd, the Prosecutor said, there was in it, 6 Guineas, 39s. a Two-Sons (French) Piece, and a broken Watch-Key. Then we empty'd the Bag, and the Contents agreed exactly with what he said.

M. Monger. I had that Money and Key in the Bag, but I thought there was no need to put the Two-Sous Piece, and the Key in the Indictment.

Prisoner. I shall prove that the Prosecutor dropt the Bag himself.

Thomas Jefferies . I am a Bricklayer's Labourer; as I was going behind a Man at the Corner of St. Mary Hill (just against the Place where the Coal-Porters walk) I saw something drop from this Man like a white Bag, and I took it.

Court. Did you take it up?

T. J. Yes; and says the Man, What have you taken up? A Bag, says I. Is it yours? says he. No; says I. Why, then it's mine, says he. How do you know? says I. Because, says he, I just now dropt it. And so I gave it into his Hand: And in a little better than a Minute, he said, his Pocket was pick'd of a Bag, of a Purse.

Court. Did he say of that Bag?

T. J. He said a Bag, but not whether it was that Bag or another.

Court. Did he not say, that he had the Person (who pick'd his Pocket) in Custody.

T. J. He had not miss'd the Bag, before I took it up; but in a Minute or 2 after, he challeng'd the Prisoner.

Court. Was you acquainted with the Prisoner before this?

T. J. No.

Court. How came you hither?

T. J. The Mob desir'd me.

Pris. I supoena'd him.

Court. When you saw the Prisoner was charg'd with stealing the Bag, did you take any Notice to any Body that you had found it?

T. J. Yes; I spoke of it there, and upon that the Prisoner ask'd me, who I was, and where I liv'd? I told him I liv'd in Westminster, and so I went about my Business, and he afterwards sent a Porter to me.

Court. Whether was you going then?

T. J. To my Master, a Bricklayer in St. Catherine's, for whom I was to go to work at Greenwich.

Court. What's his Name?

T. J. William Dowland .

Court. It would have been a friendly Part if you had gone before the Justice. or but to the Blue-Anchor, to have clear'd an innocent Man, by giving the same Account, as you have done here. How happen'd it that you did not?

T. J. I thought it was no Concern of mine, and so I went to my Work.

William Rowland . My Wife sells Oysters. I went that very Day with her to Billingsgate to help her up with them, and while I was waiting, I saw the Prosecutor drop something in a white Bag like Money, and presently he ran after the Prisoner, who was 6 or 7 Yards off, and charged him with picking his Pocket, and there was 5 or 6 People following, and some Man took up the Bag.

Court. Did you hear any Words between the Prosecutor and Prisoner?

W. R. Yes; I heard something when the Prisoner was taken; but I was afraid I should lose my Wife in the Hurly-burly, and so I went away, and my Wife speaking of it afterwards, some Body ask'd her where she liv'd, and so the Prisoner came to find me out.

Jane Cook . In my way to Orange-Lane, I went to Billingsgate to buy some Fish, and I heard an Uproar as how they had taken the Prisoner for the Reward, and there was another man ran away towards Tower-Hill; but the Prisoner walked very slow 6 or 7 Yards from the Prosecutor who ran after him to catch him, and said he had pick'd his Pocket.

Court. Did the Prosecutor say so before he had taken the Prisoner?

J. C. Yes.

Henry Allen . I live in Moorfields; as I was by Billingsgate there stood a Gentleman, and a man pick'd up something White, and the Gentleman said it was his, and the man gave it to him, and the Gentleman said he believed his Pocket was pick'd; but I met the Prisoner 6 Yards off before the money was pick'd up; but I was upon urgent Business, and could not stay to see the upshot. I was afterwards drinking at a House in Moorfields, and there happened to be an Acquaintance of the Prisoner's there, and I was telling him what I had seen, and so he desired me to come and give Evidence.

Court. Pray, what was your urgent Business ?

H. A. I was going to a Dutch Hambro' merchant in St. Katharine's.

C. What's his Name?

H. A. Mr. Carle; he keeps an Alehouse at the Prince of Sweden's Head.

C. A Hambro' merchant, and keep an Alehouse?

H. A. Yes, my master used to serve him with Muffs.

C. What Trade is your master?

H. A. A Weaver; he lives in Chissel-street,

C. A Weaver, and make muffs?

H. A. He's a muff maker too as well as a Weaver.

C. What's his Name? H. A. Mr. Wilmot.

Ann Sulvan . I live in Bunhill-Fields ; I went to Rag-Fair with Betty Matthews to buy some Linings for a Gown; and from thence we went to Billingsgate to buy some Eels, and just as we came thither there was a little Crowd, and a Gentleman said he was robbed, and he stepped after a young man and seized him, and said, You took my Money, and I'll have you to the Compter; and so we went to Billingsgate, and in going home we saw some People in Bread-street hard by the Justice's Door, and they told us the young man was sent to Newgate; and so we went to Newgate, and told him what we had seen, and where we lived.

Elizabeth Matthews . I am a Mantua-maker

I live in Smithfield; as we were going to Billinsgate to buy Fish, there was a Dispute; the Prosecutor ran after the Prisoner (who was walking gravely and moderately a few Yards before him) and the Prosecutor said to the Prisoner, If you won't give me my Money, I'll send you to the Compter. So they carried the Prisoner to the Blue-Anchor, and then they put him in a Coach to go before Alderman Brocas, and we follow'd; but before we came there he was sent to Newgate; and we went to him there, not that we had any Acquaintance with him, but only out of good Nature.

C. Officer, take Sulvan out of Court while this Witness is examined; what did you and Sulvan do at Billingsgate?

E. M. We cheapened some Eels.

C. Did either of you buy any? E. M. No.

C. What did you buy at Rag Fair?

E. M. Some old Linnen for Body Linings.

C. Of whom?

E. M. Of a Woman that stands in the Fair.

C. How much money did you lay out?

E. M. About four Shillings.

C. Was the other Woman with you then?

E. M. No; we both went into an Alehouse, and had a Pint of Beer; I left her there, and went and bought the Linnen, and then I went to her again.

C. Where did you part after you went from Newgate?

E. M. At Pye-Corner, and then I went home.

C. At what time?

E. M. Between 2 and 3 o'Clock.

C. Now bring the other Woman in again?

Officer. My Lord, she's run away.

C. Why did you let her go, when she was committed to your Care?

Officer. My Lord, thought she was only to be put out of Court.

Joseph Whatley . The Prisoner used my House, the Bull and Mouth in Bloomsbury-Market; he has kept his Horse there these 5 or 6 Weeks, and 'tis there now.

C. Did he appear to follow any Business?

J. W. I don't know as to that, he appeared as a Gentleman, or a Tradesman.

C. Don't you think it reasonable when a Stranger lies at an Alehouse 5 or 6 Weeks to enquire who or what he is?

J. W. That was no Business of mine as long as he behaved like a good hones t Man.

Prisoner. 'Tis the greatest murder in the World to send me to Jail for nothing at all. The Jury found him Guilty . Death .


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