JAmes Talbot.
20th February 1771
Reference Numbert17710220-81
VerdictNot Guilty

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229. (L.) JAmes Talbot was indicted for exercising part of the office and functions of a Popish bishop against the statute , June 10 . ++

William Payne .

Q. Do you know the defendant Mr. Talbot?

Payne. Yes, very well.

Q. Do you see him?

Payne. Yes, there he stands.

Q. Have you seen him at any time in any mass house or chappel?

Payne. I shall beg leave to speak a few words before I give any evidence of what passed before Lord Mansfield.

Court. We have nothing to do with what passed before Lord Mansfield?

Payne. If this gentleman will enter into recognizance to shut up the two places, I am willing to drop this prosecution.

Court. That is not a thing proper to be proposed in court. I am here to hear the cause, we cannot attend to such a proposition?

Payne. At the time that Sir William Stephenson was lord mayor of the city, I was then an officer; hearing of two mass houses in the city, Mr. Gates and I went together into Ropemaker's Alley; there is a mass house there that will hold, I believe, a thousand people: it was on the second of June 1765; I saw this gentleman dressed, I think it was in white, with a cross on his back, and I believe another on his breast, with a mitre on his head.

Council for the prisoner. My Lord, I don't conceive that this evidence is now at liberty to go into evidence so late back as the year 1765; the day in the indictment is the 10th of June, I hope your lordship and the court will not allow Mr. Payne to go into such evidence. The indictment charges this on the 10th of June last; can you speak to any facts on that particular day?

Payne. The day I can speak to in particular is the second of June, 1765.

Robert Saunders .

Q. Do you know the defendant Mr. Talbot?

Saunders. Where is he.

Council. Find him out.

Saunders. I have seen a person I am told was he: I received a particular description of the gentleman.

Q. Where did you see this person? What have you got in your hand?

Saunders. Only a memorandum of the particulars: I have the original in my pocket: I made the original at the time the affair happened on the seventh of January, 1770; here is the original: the day before that was Saturday. Mr. Payne asked me to go to that place; he said, Bishop Talbot was to preach: he gave me a particular description of his person, as a man well advanced in years, and a meagre thin countenance, and that he was to have a mitre on his head; it was in White's Alley, Moorfields ; it was in a very large room fitted up for public worship: a person said mass that day, whose name they told me was Wheeler: I do not know him if I saw him, the robes make such a difference in their appearance.

Q. Who did you say preached?

Saunders. This person preached; when I came out there were a great number of people there besides their own; they said, that was Bishop Talbot; they told me so next day.

Q. How was the person dressed that preached?

Saunders. In a white robe.

Q. What were the particulars?

Saunders. He had a cap on when he came in, but he took it off.

Q. What was the cap?

Saunders. A blackish cap.

Q. Did he put any thing else on?

Saunders. Nothing then, but preached.

Q. Did you see him at any other time?

Saunders. Yes, at two other times, June the 10th; it was the same person, he preached and catechised three young children.

Q. Was that at the same place?

Saunders. Yes.

Q. How was he dressed then?

Saunders. In the same manner.

Q. Did you see any thing on his head then?

Saunders. No, nothing as I remember then.

Q. Was any thing else done?

Saunders. I understand he confirmed three children; I am told since it was catechising; I do not know from my own knowledge.

Q. Was there any particular ceremony used with these children?

Saunders. After catechising of them he laid his hands on their heads and repeated some benedictions.

Q. Was there any mass that day?

Saunders. Yes.

Q. Who said mass?

Saunders. One Mr. Dilton.

Q. Did Talbot say mass?

Saunders. No, this was in the afternoon.

Q. Do you know any thing further?

Saunders. On the 24th of June the same person as before preached.

Q. Was there any mass then?

Saunders. Yes.

Q. Who said mass then?

Saunders. I do not know whether Dillon or some other person; I did not take a memorandum of that.

Q. Did you see any thing else done?

Saunders. No, nothing else whatever, only there was one thing last Thursday. I met a person, who is either a brewer's clerk or a cooper, who endeavoured to frighten me from coming here.

Court. You must not tell us any thing of any conversation that passed elsewhere. Did any body else say mass besides Dillon?

Saunders. Yes, one Fowler.

Q. Did Mr. Talbot say mass on the 10th of June: did you at any of these days hear Mr. Talbot say mass?

Saunders. The person, called Talbot, said mass one day.

Q. One day he did say mass; was it June the seventh?

Saunders. No, I believe the 24th of June was the day: I know I made a memorandum of it (looks at his papers) he did not say mass, he only preached.

Q. Did he administer the Sacrament any time?

Saunders. They administered the Sacrament to several people; the person called Talbot was one of them.

Q. When w as that?

Saunders. It does not mention the day; I believe it was on the tenth of June, I am not certain.

Q. Did he administer the Sacrament?

Saunders. Yes.

Q. After what form?

Saunders. The form of the Jewish ritual.

Q. Look about and see if you can see the person?

Saunders. I do not see any such person here; the person was far advanced in years that I saw. I do not see any such person.

Cross Examination.

Q. You have produced a paper you made at that time: I suppose you took a minute of all that passed at that time?

Saunders. Not particularly.

Q. Did you omit any thing?

Saunders. It was not in my power to remember every thing that was said.

Q. You have said one, two and three Sundays?

Saunders. June the seventh, one Wheeler said mass; the person called Bishop Talbot preached on these words, my sheep hear my voice. June 10, one Dillon said mass, and Bishop Talbot preached, and either catechised or confirmed.

Q. Did you put down these memorandums on those particular days, or put them all down together?

Saunders. I put them down on particular bits of paper, and put them on one afterwards.

Q. When were these three put together?

Saunders. They were writ a long while ago.

Q. Was this wrote last week, or the week before?

Saunders. No.

Q. Was it wrote this week or last; was it wrote this week?

Saunders. No.

Q. Was it last week?

Saunders. Possibly it was.

Q. Here is nothing here of any bodies administering the Sacrament at all; you thought it so immaterial you did not put it down?

Saunders. I saw it administered there several times.

Q. As you speak with great caution, for which you ought to be very much commended, was the person thus described to you; I will not ask by whom, on the seventh of January, tenth of June, and twenty-fourth of June, by the name of Bishop Talbot: was that the same person all these days?

Saunders. Yes, that very same person that was described to me.

Q. What time was it you saw him?

Saunders. It was in the afternoon he preached; I believe all the times was afternoon: no, one was in the forenoon, from eleven to one, in the afternoon from three to five.

Q. Have you been there often?

Saunders. I have been there many years ago.

Q. Whether you ever knew mass, except on one particular day in the year, last longer than twelve o'clock?

Saunders. No, I never did.

Q. You know this was Trinity Sunday?

Saunders. Yes.

Q. I am pretty sure mass is not quite finished about ten minutes before twelve; what time might it begin?

Saunders. About eleven; it takes up generally between forty and fifty minutes.

Q. What time did preaching begin in the afternoon?

Saunders. I believe it might be some little matter after three, and then vespers are said, which is done about a quarter, perhaps, before five.

Q. By whose orders did you go?

Saunders. It was by Mr. Payne's desire I went.

Q. What had he to do in this matter?

Saunders. I was, and am under pecuniary obligations to him.

Q. What has that to do with your going to enquire after these catholicks?

Saunders. Because, in consequence of my obligations I was under to him, I could not deny any thing he asked me.

Q. I suppose you gave him an account from time to time of what you saw?

Saunders. I did; there may be many other things I had not copies of.

Q. Are they your hand writing (shewing him four letters.)

Saunders. Yes; (they are put into court.)

- Thomson.

Q. Do you know James Talbot the defendant?

Thomson. No.

Q. Did you never see him?

Thomson. Not to my knowledge.

Thomas Goddard .

Q. Do you know James Talbot ?

Goddard. No.

Q. Did you never see him?

Goddard. I do not know the gentleman if I meet him in the street.

Q. That you are assured of?

Goddard. Yes, very well assured of it.

William Patman .

Q. Do you know Mr. James Talbot ?

Patman. No, Sir.

Q. Did you never see him?

Patman. I was told on Saturday last, that such a person was James Talbot , but never knew it before.

Mary Brown .

Q. Do you know one James Talbot ?

Brown. I know one of the name that they call James Talbot ; I know nothing else of him.

Q. Have you seen him here to day?

Brown. I do not see him (looks a little about her) I have heard of him as being a gentleman.

Q. Do you know what he is?

Brown. No, I know no more of him than any other gentleman.

Q. Did you ever see him perform any offices in the church?

Brown. No, that is not a fair question.

George Hancock .

Q. Do you know Mr. Talbot?

Hancock. No, I do not, I never saw him till last Monday; they told me it was Mr. Talbot.

Q. Do you remember ever seeing him before that time: do you see him in court now?

Hancock. No, I do not; I do not know him; I should not know him if I was to meet him in the street.

Eustace Molyner .

Q. Do you know Mr. Talbot?

Molyner. No.

Q. Have you never seen him?

Molyner. Not in my life to my knowledge: I have never heard of his name to my knowledge till within this four or five days: I do not know him from any gentleman in this company.

Emanuel Roderie .

Q. Do you know Mr. Talbot?

Roderie. I do not understand English.

Q. Do you know Mr. Talbot?

Roderie. If I see him I know him.

Q. What is his christian name?

Roderie. I do not know no more than Mr. Talbot; I am a Portuguese.

Q. Do you know whether Mr. Talbot is a Popish bishop or not?

Roderie. I do not know.

Council for the crown. My lord, we despair of being able to make out the charge against the defendant.

Acquitted .

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