John Welch.
12th September 1733
Reference Numbert17330912-6
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceMiscellaneous > branding

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8. John Welch , was indicted for the Murder of John Ashwell , by throwing him on the Ground, and striking him with both his Hands and Feet on the Stomach, Breast, Belly, Sides, and Groin, and thereby giving him several mortal Wounds and Bruises, on the 24th of June last, of which he languished 'till the 29th of the same Month, and then died. He was a second time indicted on the Coroner's Inquisition for the said Murder.

At the Prisoner's Prayer the Witnesses against him were examined separately.

Thomas Eastmend. About two Months ago on a Sunday, between five and six in the Afternoon, as I was standing at the Nag's Head Tavern Door in Prince's-street, by Drury-lane , where I ply as a Porter, I saw two Porters coming along Prince's-street, one was the Porter at the Swan Tavern in Cornhill, and the other was John Sudlow , the Porter to the Ship behind the Exchange Sudlow pick'd up a Six-pence, and said to the other Porter, Look here, I have found Six-pence. Some Irishmen, of whom the Prisoner was one, coming behind them, and hearing what Sudlow said, they ask'd if he had found Six-pence? He said yes. Why then, says one of them, 'tis mine. How do you know, says Sudlow, has it any Mark? Damn you, says the other, 'tis mine, and I'll have it. Well then, says Sudlow, you shall have it, if you'll give me a Pint of Beer. No, damn you, says the Irishman, I'll have it without, or I'll have as much out of your Bones. Sudlow, at last, gave him the Six-pence, and as soon as he had got it he knock'd Sudlow down with a Stick, though there was no Provocation given; and then the rest of the Irishmen fell upon him too: Some of them had Sticks, but I can't say the Prisoner had any; so they all fell to fighting: Sudlow was very much abus'd, and cut in the Head. He went into the House, and got his Head dress'd, and then coming out again, they fell upon him afresh. The Deceased was then standing at the Tavern Door in his Waistcoat. He was a Soldier , but had no Sword nor Stick, for he had been at Work; and seeing how they abused Sudlow, he said, What barrarous Villains these are to use a poor Man in such a Manner, without any Occasion. Upon which the Prisoner step'd up to him, and said, Damn you, you Rascal, do you Chatter? At this the Deceas'd began to strip; but, before he could get his Clothes off, and while his Arms were pinion'd behind him, being part out and part in the Sleeves, the Prisoner fell upon him, and knock'd him down against the Bench with his Fist, by which Blow the Deceas'd's Lip was cut thro', and then, holding the Deceas'd up against the Bench with his Knee, beat him in a violent Manner, and afterwards kick'd him on the Belly, so that his Belly was broke.

Prisoner. At first you said the Deceas'd was only in his Waistcoat, and now you swear that he was pulling his Coat off when I struck him.

Court. He did not say his Coat, but his Clothes.

Prisoner. Had I any Stick?

Eastmead. I don't say you had.

Prisoner. Was I concern'd in abusing the Porter that found the Six-pence?

Eastmead. You was in Company with the Irishmen who made the Riot, but I can't say that I saw you strike the Porter.

Court. Did the Deceas'd offer to strike the Prisoner, or give him any Provocation?

Eastmead No, not at all. He was only going to pull off his Waistcoat to defend himself when the Prisoner threaten'd him.

Edw Andrews . When the Porter had pick'd up the 6 d. the Prisoner and two or three more Irishmen follow'd him, and one of 'em demanded the Six-pence. The Porter told them it was true he had found a Six-pence, but ask'd them, how he should be sure it was theirs, except they could tell what Marks it had? They swore they would not stand for Marks; but Mark, or no Mark they would have it; and one of them held up a Stick, and offer'd to strike the Porter, and he, rather than be beat, gave the Six-pence to one of them, who, notwithstanding this, as soon as he had got it, knock'd the Porter down, and beat him unmercifully. The Deceas'd being just come to the Tavern Door, bid them not murder the poor Man, and told them, it was very barbarous to abuse him in that Manner; upon which the Prisoner

came up to him, and said, Damn you, what Business have you to chatter? and with that, the Deceas'd open'd his Waistcoat, and was going to pull it off; but while his Arms were pinn'd behind him, as he was pulling them out of his Waistcoat Sleeves, the Prisoner fell upon him, knock'd him backwards, and gave him at least a dozen Blows, tho' the Deceas'd made no Defence, for he was not able to do it, because his Arms were confin'd.

Court. Are you positive the Deceas'd did not strike?

Andrews. Yes, I am certain he did not offer to lift up his Hand to strike one Blow.

Court. Did any but the Prisoner strike the Deceas'd?

Andrews. No Body else struck him once; and I believe he was out of his Senses in half a dozen Blows. The Prisoner punch'd him in the Face and Stomach, and kick'd him on the Belly.

Court. Did no Body endeavour to prevent the Prisoner from abusing the Deceas'd in such a Manner?

Andrews. No Body dar'd to take the Prisoner off. for he and his Companions were all so desperate, that they knock'd down all that came in their way.

Prisoner. Did I hold him up with my Knee?

Andrews. I did not observe that.

Thomas Sutton . The Deceas'd and I, and Nathaniel Brooks , were going along Prince's-Street together, when a Man pick'd up Six-pence, and said to another, who was with him, Jack, I have had good Luck, I have found Six-pence. The Prisoner and some other Irishmen over-hearing what was said, one of them claim'd the Six-pence, and after he had got it, he fell upon the Man that gave it him, and so they all went to fighting. The Deceas'd said to some of them, I hope you won't murder the Man! And the Prisoner answer'd, Damn you, do you Chatter? I'll settle you presently : Upon which the Deceas'd began to pull off his Waistcoat, and when it was half off, the Prisoner fell upon him, threw him upon the Nag's-Head Bench, cut his Lip by dashing his Hand in his Face, and punch'd and kick'd him on the Breast and Belly.

Court. Are you sure the Deceas'd did not strike the Prisoner?

Sutton. Yes, I am positive he did not, for his Hands were not at Liberty; - and the Prisoner struck at him with such Violence, that he struck his Hand thro' the Sash window of the Nag's-Head.

Nathaniel Brooks . The Deceas'd and I, and Thomas Sutton , seeing a Quarrel as we were going thro' Prince's-Street, halted at the Nag's-Head Door. Two Porters coming along, one of them pick'd up Six-pence, and the other said, We'll have a full Pot out of it. One of the Irishmen who were quarrelling came up and said, That's my Six-pence; and he who found it, said, There's no swearing to Money; but afterwards he gave it to the Irishman, who presently (to reward him for his Civility) knock'd him down, and so they all went to fighting, till at last the Man, who found the Money, was laid for dead. The Deceas'd seeing this, went over to them, and said, Gentlemen, don't murder the Man; upon which the Prisoner went up to him, and struck him down on a Bench betwixt two Posts.

Court. In what Posture was the Deceas'd when the Prisoner struck him?

Brooks. Posture? He was in no Posture at all, he stood as I do now, with his Hands behind him, pulling off his Waistcoat - He was in a red Waistcoat, and the Prisoner in a green Waistcoat.

Court. But did he offer to strike the Prisoner?

Brooks. He did not, but I believe he would have done it, with a proviso the Prisoner would have given him Liberty; but the Prisoner fell upon him before he could get his Arms clear from his Waistcoat.

John Sudlow . Going along Prince's Street with another Porter, I stoop'd down, and took up a Six-pence. Luck Thee here I says I to him, I have found Six-pence. What, says he, best Thee found Six-pence? that's good Luck indeed, let's have a full Pot out of it? Some Men follow'd us, and one of them own'd the Six-pence, which at last I gave him, and as soon as he had got it, he knock'd me down with a Stick, and I saw several Sticks among them.

John Dennis , Surgeon. The Deceas'd dy'd on Friday, the 29th of June, and on the

Saturday I open'd his Body. There was a Braise six Inches long in the Groin a little above the O Pubs, and upon opening the Abdoman, I found the Intestines were forced into the Scrotum. They were turned black, and the Stench was very offensive This Rupture was the cause of his Death; it was impossible he should have liv'd in that condition, for it hinder'd all the Operations of Nature, so that he could neither make Urine nor go to Stool, but whatever he took in could have no Passage taro' him, but must have been discharged again at his Mouth, and he must have lain in violent Torment.

Elizabeth Ashwell . The Deceas'd was my Husband. He was brought home on Sunday Evening in a sad Condition. He was cut and wounded in his Face and Head, and bruised in several Parts of his Body. On Monday his private Parts were swell'd up bigger than my two Fists; I sent for Mr. Godfrey, a Surgeon, belonging to the Guards, and he order'd some Stuff to bathe him with, but it did not abate the Swelling, and my poor Husband was in such Torment, that he could not rest Night nor Day, but cry'd out like a Woman in Labour, from the Time he was brought home, to the Time of his Death, which was on the Friday Morning following; he had no Passage below, he never went to Stool or Urine the natural way, but all came up at his Mouth; and before this happen'd he was very well, and in as good a State of Health as any Man in this Court.

The Prisoner's Defence.

Prisoner. I din'd at my Aunt's in Rosemary-Lane, and was going home to my Wife, and coming into Prince's Street, I saw a Mob there, but no quarrelling for it was all over before I came. But I saw the Deceas'd there with his Coat off, and his Waistcoat was all dirty if he had been in the Kennel I ask'd, what was the Matter? and the Deceas'd answer'd, I have beat two of your Country Teagues, and now I'll beat out for a Third; upon which he struck me, and Inllargger'd over the Kennel, but recover'd my self, I struck at him again, and he giving way fell backwards against the Bench, and some how or other, the Nag's-Head Window was broke, and being afraid thev'd keep me to pay for the Damage, I went off. But it's plain had no design to quarrel, for I did not pull off a Stitch of my Clothes.

Court. As the King's Witnesses were examin'd a part, let those for the Prisoner be examin'd in the same Manner.

John Macdonald . I saw the Fray in Prince's-Street, on Sunday the 24th of June, at three in the Afternoon. A young Man coming by the George Alehouse , stoop'd down, and took up six-pence. Another Man demanded it of him, and they were going into the George; but Mr. Lynch, who keeps the House, shut the Door upon them, and so a Mob gathering, there was a general Quarrel, and one side drove t'other into Drury-Lane.

Court. Into Drury-Lane?

Macdonald. Yes; but they came back again into Prince's-Street. Then the Deceas'd (who was a Soldier) came up, in a very dirty pickle indeed, as if he came out of a Hog-Sty, and as if there was no Water in the Land or the Kennel. And then the Prisoner, whom I never saw before, -

Court. Then look at him, are you sure that's he?

Macdonald. Yes, I know him very well.

Court. What and never saw him before?

Macdonald. Not before that time, but I know him very well now. He came up and ask'd what was the Matter? and the Deceas'd said, I came from beating two Irish Teagues, you are the Third, and upon that he struck the Prisoner.

Court. Are you sure the Deceased struck him first?

Macdonald. Yes; and then another Man came with a Stick and cut the Prisoner over the Head, and made him reel. I saw the Blood run down, and cry 'd, O fie for Shame! Two upon one! Then the Prisoner struck the Deceas'd, and the Mob edged the Deceas'd on, and cry'd, Well done, Soldier! In the Scuffle the Deceas'd fell back over a Bench, and his Head fell thro' the Nag's-Head Window. The Prisoner hearing the Window broke, went off for fear they should make him pay for it.

Court. And you swear the Deceas'd gave the first Blow?

Macdonald. Upon my Oath, Madam, he struck the Prisoner twice before the Prisoner touch'd him.

Court. Here are four or five Witnesses, who have sworn the direct contrary: I say, Sir, Who are you? Is there any Body can prove you were there at that time?

Macdonald I'll bring ten thousand People to my Reputation; you may enquire my Character of the best Quality in England, in Duke-Street or Lincolns-Inn-Fields - There were a hundred People heard me cry, Fie for Shame.

Court. But are any of those People here? You the King's Witnesses, did any of you see this Witness there?

All. No; we never saw him before.

Court. You hear he swears the Deceas'd gave the first Blow?

All. 'Tis false; he was not able to strike at all; his Arms were pinion'd down, he did not strike a Blow from first to last.

Court. He swears the Deceas'd said, He had beat two Teagues, and would beat him for the Third.

All. No such Words were spoke, and we were there all the while.

Macdonald. And I was there from the Beginning to the End.

Court. And did not you see the Deceas'd endeavour to pull off his Waistcoat?

Macdonald. No.

Court. Is there any one of your own Witnesses that can prove your being there?

Macdonald. Yes, there's Mary Murphy .

Court. Call her in.

Mary Murphy . I live in Prince's-Street, and saw the Quarrel from the Beginning to the End. I was at the George with some Irishmen, who came to take their Leave of me, and three more of their Countrymen, Thomas Digneil, Daniel Affer , and another, whose Name I don't know but by Sight.

Court. Look about, do you see him here?

Murphy. No; but he and Dignell and Affer went away before the Quarrel begun; the other Men staid standing at the George Door , and I saw one of them handle some Money, but did not see him drop any. While they were there, two Men came by, and one of them took up a Six-pence. One of the others said, it was his Six pence, and he would have it, or else he would be it out of him; and with that he up with a Stick and knock'd him down, and so two Couple of them fell to fighting.

Court. Did you the Deceased there?

Murphy. I saw a Man in the Crowd in a Soldier's Coat. - I think it was a Waistcoat.

Court. Did you see the Prisoner strike the Deceased?

Murphy. I can't say as to that, but I saw the Prisoner come into the Crowd.

Court. Did you see the Deceased strike him?

Murphy. No, I saw Nobody strike the Prisoner.

Court. Do you know one Macdonald ?

Murphy. Yes. - This is he with the black Brows.

Court. What Business does he follow?

Murphy. I don't know, except he's a Clergyman.

Court. A Clergyman!

Murphy. Yes, but he's in another Dress now.

Court. Does he use to appear in a Clergy-man's Dress?

Murphy. Yes, it's the common Dress he walks the Streets in.

Court. Did you see him there?

Officer. My Lord, he makes a Sign to her. - He winks upon her.

Court. What do you mean by that, Sir? - Upon your Oath, Woman, did you see him here?

Murphy. No, I did not see him.

John Kent . I saw the Deceased very dirty coming from Drury-lane with a Mob behind him. He struck the Prisoner twice, and made him stgger.

Court. Before he was struck by the Prisoner ?

Kent. Yes, but then the Prisoner recovering struck him again, and he fell back against a Window, and broke it with his Head. Another Man struck the Prisoner on the Head with an Oak Stick, and made his Head bleed.

Court. Was this before or after the Prisoner struck the Deceased?

Kent. Before.

Court. And after the Deceased had struck him twice?

Kent. Yes.

Court. So he fell upon the Prisoner, not because the Prisoner struck him twice; for, auseems, he bore that patiently, but because other Man afterwards came and broke his Head. - Did any of the King's Witnesses see any Body strike the Prisoner with a Stick?

All. No, nor with any Thing else.

Mary Conner . There was a great Throng, and the Deceased was full of Dirt, and the Prisoner came and asked What was the Matter? Matter! you Rascal, says the Deceased, do you want to fight?

Court. Did you hear him say nothing of beating two Teagues?

Conner. No, but he struck the Prisoner three or four Blows, and beat him over the Kennel, and then went off.

Court. Three or four Blows!

Conner. Yes, and then another Man knocked the Prisoner down with a Stick, and the Mob cry 'd, O fye, that's too much! two to one ! Then the Prisoner struck the Deceased, who fell with his Head through the Window.

Court. Where do you live?

Conner. I live upon the Strand. The Deceased was drunk, and his Clothes were all dirty.

King's Witnesses. His Clothes were not dirty, nor was he at all in Drink.

Thomas Jones . I was one of the Coroner's Jury that sat upon the Deceased, and three or four Days after Mr. Macdonald came to my House, and said, he wish'd he had known before that I was upon the Jury, because he would have told me the Deceased gave the first Blow.

Court. But he might have acquainted the Jury with it, whether he knew you were one of them or not. Are you an Irishman too?

Jones. Yes.

Philip Macdonald . While the Prisoner and the Deceased were fighting, another Man knocked the Prisoner down with a Stick, and the Prisoner rising again knocked the Deceased backward through the Nag's-Head Window.

George Anderson . I saw the Prisoner and the Deceased talking together; the Deceased struck him in the Face, and, I believe he tumbled down the Kennel, and when he got up the Deceased struck him again, and another Man broke his Head with a Stick, and then the Prisoner beat the Deceased.

Court. Because another Man broke his Head.

James Warner , for the Prosecutor. I was Drawer at the Nag's-Head. Some Irishmen were standing at the George Alehouse Door , which is kept by an Irishman. A Porter came by and found Six-pence; the Irishmen claim'd it. They fell to fighting. The Porter was very much abus'd. The Deceased asked them, Why they used the Man so barbarously; and the Prisoner asked him what he wanted, or why he chatter'd? Upon which the Deceased went to pull off his Waistcoat; but while his Arms were pinion'd the Prisoner fell upon him, and beat him unmercifully upon the Stomach and Belly. The Deceased did not strike one Blow, first or last; nor did any Body else strike the Prisoner, nor was his Head bloody. I did not see John Macdonald there, but I think I saw Murphy.

Court. If the Deceased was going to take the Part of a Man that was abused, it was so far from being a Provocation sufficient to justify the other in killing him, that it was not only a lawful, but a commendable Action; and where there is no Provocation given the Law implies Malice, and he that maliciously kills another, is guilty of Murder.

The Jury found him guilty of Manslaughter only .

[Branding. See summary.]


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