WILLIAM FRANKLAND.
12th January 1774
Reference Numbert17740112-23
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceDeath

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129. (M.) WILLIAM FRANKLAND was indicted for unlawfully, wilfully, maliciously, and feloniously shooting at Thomas Miller , Esq; in the dwelling house of John Wilson , on the 27th of November , against the statute, &c.

Mr. Miller. An officer, whose name is King, came to me on the 27th of November last, and told me he had been beat by a man and maid servant, and forcibly turned out of the possession

of the house of one Frankland; I granted a warrant against both the man and maid, and at about five o'clock in the afternoon the maid was taken up, and brought to the house where we were: there were a great number of gentlemen there, as there was to be a petty sessions held at the house (the Bell and Anchor , kept by John Wilson ). I recommended it to her to settle the affair amicably with the officer; she had at last two hours allowed her for that purpose. The prisoner, I presume, had heard of his maid being taken up, and, as my servant will inform you, he had been at my house to enquire for me, and she had informed him where I was - I was at the upper end of the dining room, and several gentlemen with me, when the prisoner came into the room; as soon as he came into the room I saw this pistol in his hand (producing a horse pistol); he looked on each side on the company, and said where is the justice that dare presume to commit my servant? or words to that effect, and he waved the pistol in his hand; then he came to the table where I was; he came up towards me, within two yards and a half of where I was; I heard the lock click as he came up; I threw myself on one side, and both the bullets went through my coat.

Q. Did he seem to direct the pistol at you?

Miller. Yes; and with an oath said, there you are. The bullets fell down behind, for there was not a sufficient quantity of powder to throw out the weight of metal; they went through my coat and dented the wainscot. Upon shaking the powder out of another pistol he had got, it appeared to me that there was not a sufficient quantity, though it was the best battle powder. He said immediately after he had fired, he was very sorry the pistol had not done its execution. He wanted to get his other pistol, after he had fired, to fire at me again, but the people there surrounded him, and got him on the ground, and then he wanted to get up to draw his cutlass. That other pistol that was found upon him, was loaded with two of the same balls; he had a flask of powder about him, and a fresh flint; he came towards me after he had fired the first pistol, as I imagine to shoot me with the other.

Cross Examination.

Q. Are there any dents upon the balls?

Miller. Not that I know of.

Counsel. You have given your evidence very fairly and humanely respecting the prisoner in two or three instances. - You, examined the powder of the other pistol, did you observe it so as to form any judgement of it?

Miller. It appeared to me that there was not a quantity of powder to convey the balls with that velocity as if there was more.

Q. Was there any experiment tried with the quantity of powder with the other halls ?

Miller. Not that I know of.

Q. When you first saw him you observed the pistol in his hand?

Miller. When he entered the room, and began to express himself in that manner, I saw the pistol in his hand.

Q. Do you mean to say he had the pistol in his hand when he entered the room?

Miller. I saw it soon after.

Q. When he asked that improper question, where is the magistrate, was there any thing said by you in return?

Miller. I believe I said I am the party.

Q. Do you recollect how many persons were in the room at this time?

Miller. I dare say ten or a dozen.

Q. How long might he be in the room before you saw the pistol? did you see him at all before you saw the pistol?

Miller. Just as he came in at the door I saw the pistol up.

Q. Was nobody kind enough to you to attempt to take the pistol from him?

Miller. Every body was confused; I said I wonder you do not close in upon such a fellow as that; then they closed in upon him.

Q. You mentioned something about a public business, you was not then sitting on public business I believe?

Miller. There was not then a bench: we had done business with some overseers and surveyors.

Q. You was not then sitting in a court at the time?

Miller. No.

Q. Have you any reason to believe that this gentleman had any malice against you so as to attempt a thing of this sort?

Miller. I should think he had.

Q. But prior to this?

Miller. I had seen him twice before. His servant maid had been treated ill by somebody coming from Knightsbridge; I granted a warrant, and the party was brought before me, and then the prisoner appeared; he seemed very rigid against the man; I said I believed he was a poor fellow, and he had mistook his mark,

not knowing who she was; with much a-do he discharged the man. About a month after the prisoner was brought before me, by a man that lived at Kingsland; he had shoved a stick against the man's side, and he thought one of his ribs was broke; I recommended him to accommodate that matter; he was obstinate and would not, and I took his own recognizance.

Q. I believe upon one of these occasions he returned you thanks for your polite behaviour to him?

Miller. I believe he might. He came to me the next morning, went down on his knees, and asked my pardon.

Q. Had the ball any effect upon your body?

Miller. My flesh was black for a week afterwards.

John Scott , Esq. I was on the 27th of November last at the house of Mr. Wilson, the Bell and Anchor, at Hammersmith; there was Mr. Miller, and I believe ten or a dozen more gentlemen; the prisoner came into the room in the evening, where we were altogether; he looked round, and said, Pray where is the Justice that dare commit my maid? or words to that effect, and takes out a pistol that he had concealed under his coat, came up to the head of the table, cocked it, and fired at Mr. Miller; he was within two or three yards, and I was within a foot of Mr. Miller; after that the people at the lower end of the table seized him, and got him on the floor. Upon searching him, they found another pistol loaded with a brace of balls, a horn half full of powder, a flint and a hanger.

Q. His hanger was at his side I suppose?

Scott. I am not sure of that; we were all frightened; I took a jump over four or five of them. What frightened us more than all was, the people below stairs cried out that the house was beset by more of them; we bolted the door, and some got pokers, and others sticks, to make the best defence we could.

Q. At the time that he directed his pistol towards Mr. Miller, did you hear him say any thing?

Scott. Not at that instant.

Q. Did he appear to you to direct the pistol at Mr. Miller?

Scott. Yes.

Q. Did you hear him say any thing after he had fired the first pistol?

Scott. No.

Q. to Mr. Miller. At what time was it he said,

"he was very sorry the pistol had not done its execution"; was that before he was seized, or afterwards?

Miller. It must be afterwards; at the time he directed his pistol at me, he said,

"you are the man"; I think it was something like that.

Q. to Mr. Scott. Did you see him make any attempt to take out the second pistol?

Scott. I cannot say.

Cross Examination.

Q. At what part of the room was Mr. Miller and you standing?

Scott. At the top of the room; the door the prisoner entered at was at the bottom.

Q. Had the prisoner a pistol in his hand at the time he entered the room?

Scott. I did not see him in the room till he looked round; I saw the pistol in his hand before he fired it.

Q. In what manner did he look round, stendily or wildly?

Scott. As I look round now (steadily).

Q. No agitation in his countenance?

Scott. I perceived none at all.

Q. You did not hear any words that he said immediately after he had fired the pistol?

Scott. No.

Q. How many people might be between the door he entered at and Mr. Miller?

Scott. I cannot say that; there were about ten or twelve in the room.

Scott. Do you think if he had had a pistol in his hand, and any of these men had seen him, they might not have prevented his firing?

Scott. I should think they might.

Q. from the prisoner. You say I looked round for the Justice, how do you know that?

Scott. You are the best judge of that, you asked for him.

Mr. Grey. I was in the room when the prisoner came in, about eight at night; whether he had the pistol in his hand then, or put his hand in his bosom to pull it out, I cannot tell; he held up the pistol, looked about, and said,

"where is the Justice that dared to commit my maid?" he came up to the end of the table, and said

"there you are," or something like that, and shot at him. The pistol was to be sure within seven or eight feet of Mr. Miller's body.

Q. Was it pointed at him?

Grey. Yes; the company were sitting down;

I ran to the fire-place, and took up a poker, and we secured him.

Elizabeth Bryant . I am servant to Mr. Miller.

Q. Do you live at his house at Hammersmith ?

Bryant. Yes. Between seven and eight in the evening, of the 27th of November, the prisoner came to our house, and asked if Mr. Miller was at home; I told him, no, he was at the Crown and Anchor with some gentlemen; I observed he had his right hand under his coat; I did not perceive any thing in it; he asked me if a young woman had been there with a constable; I told him no; he asked me again if Mr. Miller was at home; I told him he was not; he staid about ten minutes, and then went away towards the Bell and Anchor, which is but a very little way from Mr. Miller's house.

Q. Do you know where the prisoner's house is?

Bryant. At Kensington.

Q. How far is that from Mr. Miller's house?

Bryant. I cannot say; Mr. Miller's house is near Hammersmith turnpike.

Q. Can you be certain to the person of the prisoner?

Bryant. Yes; I had seen him twice before; I am sure that is the man.

John Wilson . I keep the Bell and Anchor; I saw the prisoner come into the house; he looked into the parlour and tap room; he said he begged pardon, and believed he was wrong; then he came into the bar room where I was; Mr. Penny, a cheesemonger, who was there, knew him; he asked him to walk in; the prisoner turned the curtain on one side, and said, are you friends here? he turned round, and ran up stairs; I ran after him, and saw him rush in at the door of the room Mr. Miller was in, and take a pistol out, and as I was going to tell Mr. Miller he wanted to speak with him, the pistol went off.

Q. Why did you run up stairs after him?

Wilson. I generally do when people want the Justice.

Q. You did not apprehend he was going to do any mischief?

Wilson. He held his hand outside his coat, against his breast; his hanger hung by his side.

Prisoner's Defence.

I leave my defence to my counsel.

Counsel for the prisoner. My lord, I attend in order to prove the state of his mind for a great number of years last past, and have a great many witnesses for that purpose.

For the prisoner.

Robert Faulkner . I live in Salisbury-court, Fleet-street: I am a harpsichord maker and musick printer: I have known Mr. Frankland about seven months; I have been often in his company.

Q. What observations did you make of his behaviour?

Faulkner. I believe him to be an insane man, for he never went through any discourse regularly; he would behave very well for a minute or two, then he would vary to something else diametrically opposite to what he had been talking of.

Q. Did you observe this once or often?

Faulkner. Several times.

Q. Was you in company with him any time immediately before this accident happened?

Faulkner. Less than a week before.

Q. How did you find him then?

Faulkner. As I have said now; if we entered into any discourse he generally went off, and went into something else: I judged him to be an insane man.

Q. Was you in company with other people at the same time?

Faulkner. Yes; one of them made the same remark as I did.

Q. Did they make a remark before this accident happened?

Faulkner. No.

Q. What way did you keep company, did you drink wine together?

Faulkner. Sometimes we drank porter, some times rum and water.

Q. You do not mean he drank to any degree of excess do you?

Faulkner. No.

Q. I believe you saw him since his confinement?

Faulkner. Yes.

Q. In what condition was he then?

Faulkner. Very bad: I saw him in the Bail Dock.

Q. Did you see him in Court last sessions?

Faulkner. Yes.

Q. Was his behaviour in Newgate like what you saw in Court?

Faulkner. Yes. I printed some musick for him; he sent the manuscript so bad, I could

not go on with the work; sometimes he would give me a fair copy, then contradict it and make it quite nonsense.

Cross Examination.

Q. Did you know him at his house at Kensington?

Faulkner. Yes.

Q. He had a house and servants, and lived very regularly there?

Faulkner. Yes.

Q. But some of his musick was very incorrect that he sent for printing?

Faulkner. Yes; some correct, some incorrect.

Q. If you looked upon him in the light of a man not in his senses, how came you to keep him company so often?

Faulkner. I have done seventy pounds worth of business for him; I could not run away from him.

Q. He paid you, and transacted all the business properly?

Faulkner. Yes, till lately; at first he went on regularly.

Q. What alteration did you observe in him before this happened, what he said or did?

Faulkner. Only in his words.

Q. You say his conversation was wild and incoherent, quite sensible I suppose?

Faulkner. Sometimes.

Q. Do you recollect any particular expressions, you rather seem to mean that his conversation was incoherent, wild and foolish?

Faulkner. Our conversation was mostly respecting musick.

Q. And his conversation was sometimes unconnected and incoherent, was that the only instance you know of his insanity?

Faulkner. These are the only instances I know. I was forced to leave off the work.

Q. In the month of November was he less capable of explaining himself than before?

Faulkner. A great deal.

William Fell . I am a taylor in St. Martin's lane; I have known Mr. Frankland about four or five years.

Q. What is the prisoner?

Fell. I knew him as a wine-merchant; he was a customer of mine, whom I made clothes for. I have not in the course of my business seen Mr. Frankland very much; having more business than I can do myself, it comes sometimes with my servants. I wrote Mr. Frankland a letter, and desired to see him; he came to me: our discourse ran upon trade and getting money; he said as to my part, I have been choused out of my fortune by a parcel of rascals, and he said as to going to any body to ask for my fortune, if a man owes me money, I would go to him, and challenge him to fight me; I do not know any other way of getting it; rather than fight me, he will pay me. My clerk was by, and made some little observations upon his behaviour; after he was gone, I said, Will, don't you think that man is mad? he certainly must be mad, says he.

Q. Is that man here?

Fell. No, he is not.

Court. You must not mention what he said then.

Fell. Said I, he appears to me to be so mad that if he orders any more clothes I will not make them.

Q. What was your reason for that?

Fell. I thought him not capable of taking care of his own affairs, and consequently that he would not pay me.

Q. Did you think he would not be liable to pay you?

Fell. I thought he was not in a way fit to govern his affairs; I thought he would be ruined and I should not get my money.

Anthony Whitewood . I lived with Mr. Frankland: I was his servant.

Court. Is this the servant against whom the warrant was granted?

Whitewood. Yes.

Q. Did you make any observation upon his behaviour at any time before this month of November?

Whitewood. I did a great deal: he used to walk out into the fields; I got the dinner, set it on the table, and used to go after him; he would be talking to himself when I came to him; I would hold up my hand; he would look at me, and turn to go away; he would turn round, and say go home, and I will follow you. In the morning when I cleaned his shoes and buckles, and put them by him, he would ask for them, and fly into passions; I said there they are; he would look up, and say, O well, and would talk to himself a great while.

Q. That talking to himself did that happen once, or twice, or often?

Whitewood. Very often.

Q. What did he do with regard to his dinner, did he come home?

Whitewood. Yes, he came home.

Q. This was the month of July, down to what time was it?

Whitewood. November; he was so in general.

Q. Was his finding fault with you only in one instance?

Whitewood. No, continually; I never saw a man in such passions that was in his senses.

Q. What put him into such passions, was there any cause?

Whitewood. No; I have left the room often-times upon such occasions.

Q. Was you before the magistrate?

Whitewood. Not till I was taken there; I saw that he was much the same I saw him before, not a man in his right senses, and was very ill used by the people at the house after he was in custody.

Q. Do you or not believe him to be a man in his senses?

Whitewood. He is not a man in his right senses, I am certain.

Q. You may be asked perhaps by and by, how came you to continue with him if he was not a man in his senses?

Whitewood. I was a hired servant, at so much a year.

Q. What does the family consist of?

Whitewood. Only two; me and the housekeeper.

Q. Who ordered the dinner?

Whitewood. The housekeeper.

Q. Who paid the bills?

Whitewood. I did.

Q. Who had you the money from?

Whitewood. My master.

Q. Did he ever strike you when he was in these passions?

Whitewood. No, but he did the housekeeper.

Q. Did he ever draw a pistol or his hanger to you?

Whitewood. No; I always left the room when he flew into such passions; when I came into the room again afterwards, he was talking to himself.

Q. You said he was used ill, what was done to him? do you know these pistols?

Whitewood. Yes; they were my master's own pistols.

Q. How long had he them?

Whitewood. Ever since as with him.

Q. Did he keep them charged?

Whitewood. Yes, always, to defend the house.

Q. You never saw him strike the housekeeper?

Whitewood. No; I have heard her say so: she is very ill upon this account. She lives in Swallow-street.

Cross Examination.

Q. She is your sister?

Whitewood. Yes.

Q. Why upon this account that makes her ill?

Whitewood. Her being ill used and committed to prison; she got cold and ill used upon the account.

Thomas Walter . The prisoner rented that house he lived in at Kensington of me, Midsummer last; I did not much approve of him when he came, to take the house, he seemed in such a strange sort of a manner; he said if I doubted the rent he would pay the year's rent before hand; he seemed so odd in his -

Q. What do you mean by that?

Walter. He seemed out of his mind I thought, or he might be in liquor, I did not know; he would give me a crown earnest; he gave me a crown piece. I was in company with him at his house; I never had much to do with him; for when I was at his house he did not speak right. He would walk up in my parlour, look up against the wall, and talk to himself. I looked upon him as a man insane; I never looked upon him as any thing else.

Q. When did you last make this observation?

Walter. The very night this affair happened, the 27th of November. The constable, his opposite neighbour, came to me, and told me some officers wanted to take possession of his house; some distress, or something they were to make; he said I had better go down; I went with the constable and saw Mr. Frankland.

Q. What was your observation upon him then?

Walter. I looked upon him as a distracted man then.

Q. Why what did he say?

Walter. It was about the servants being taken before the Justice.

Q. What time might this be?

Walter. About four o'clock.

Q. What did he say to you?

Walter. I asked him if I should seize; he said he did not owe me any rent; he said if you will depart for an hour or so, I will tell you what I am to do.

Q. Was your rent to be paid half yearly or quarterly?

Walter. Quarterly.

Cross Examination.

Q. Then you thought it a matter of greater consequence than forty shillings, and asked if you should seize?

Walter. Yes; when I went away he sent to let me know I had no occasion to stay.

Q. Did he appear to be in a violent passion at that time?

Walter. No, but looked very wild.

Court. Have you any physical people that ever attended this gentleman?

Counsel. I do not know that there is.

Mr. Greer. I live at Kensington: I am an attorney. I have been there almost fifty years.

Q. Did you know Mr. Frankland prior to his living in the neighbourhood?

Greer. No. I have seen him frequently since; from the time I first saw him I perceived in my own opinion great signs of insanity. I saw him frequently. My wife keeps the Kensington coffee house; he used my house; I have seen him there frequently, and talked with, and always thought him disordered in his mind, from his odd expressions; sometimes he would start up in a surprising manner, run to the other end of the room, look out of the window for some time, and then turn back again. I have often seen him talk to himself; he would turn and look to the glass sometimes; his conversation was very incoherent.

Q. Had you any opportunity of observing whether he grew better or worse?

Greer. I went to see him in Newgate; he behaved so that he terrified me so that I durst not go again: I saw him in Newgate take a leap with his setters on very near the length of that table. He did not seem to know me.

Court. You made an affidavit at the last sessions, was this before or after that?

Greer. It was before; I saw him in the Bail Dock that morning.

Q. How long has he left off the business of a wine merchant?

Greer. I never knew that he was in the wine business.

Court. Have you any body to give an account of him in his former part of life?

Counsel. We have some a-coming.

Greer. There was one Mr. Johnson then in the same room, that is since convicted for forgery; one of the attendants went up with a candle; when I came, he asked me if I had brought the justice of peace to bail him; I said I came as his friend, and should be glad to see him in a better way; then he took a leap almost the length of the room, and then jumped down the well of the stair case seven or eight steps with his setters on.

Court. Direction was given to prove the state of mind he was in at the time the attempt was made upon Mr. Miller.

Q. to Mr. Walter. Did you see this gentleman after he was committed to Newgate or the Bail Dock ?

Walter. I went to him three times in Newgate, and I do not believe he knew me the two last times, or he would not, or something; but he said, are you come to bail me; I said, no.

Q. Was he then or not in his senses?

Walter. No. He went up to the wall and talked about bailiffs, and bailiffs followers; he said he had read Coke, and he had read Lyttleton, and all of them, and he ran down stairs with his fetters on.

Mary Glascow . I knew Mr. Frankland about a month or six weeks before this happened; I was there of the Wednesday; this affair happened on Saturday; I staid there till Saturday; I made many observations about his behaviour and talking to himself; I said to the man on Wednesday that I did not think he was in his mind, and on Friday likewise.

Q. You judged from his appearance and behaviour?

Glascow. Yes, walking about talking to himself, and going up and down stairs.

Mr. Thomas Sefton . I have a company in General Draper's regiment. I lived in the same house with Mr. Frankland a year and a half or near upon it; this is above a twelve-month ago.

Q. When did you live in the house first with him?

Sefton. About a year and a half ago. I will tell you what excited my attention, it was fear of fire; for when he came looking with that distorted wild countenance he made me afraid of my valuable effects; that made me observe him more; I forced a conversation with him; he continued in a kind of incoherent manner during the whole time that he staid.

Q. Where was this house?

Sefton. In Beaufort Buildings in the Strand; he had a first floor; I was on the floor above him; I used to swear that he was mad, that he would certainly fire the house, and I was under great concern for my papers, &c.

Q. Have you made it your business to study the practice of physic?

Sefton. In the younger part of life I shilled physic; but on the war's breaking out, a military fancy took me, I was determined to go to serve my country, and then got a commission in the Royal Welch Fuzileers ; but hearing Lalley was gone to France, I went volunteer, and came home after the war.

Q. Did you during this time suppose him out of his senses or not?

Sefton. I did. I lived six years next door to one of the great private mad houses, and saw them frequently confined, and those they could let out they used to be chained to trees; I used to be asking them sometimes questions from curiosity.

Q. What sort of madness did you apprehend this gentleman's to be?

Sefton. A kind of mixed, sometimes frantick, sometimes melancholy.

Q. And you have spoke of him as such frequently?

Sefton. Yes; not to one, or two, but I dare say to twenty or more.

Mary Huff . I live in Beaufort-buildings; he lodged in my house a year and a half: he went away from the house the middle of the quarter, a twelve-month last Christmas.

Q. Did Captain Sefton lodge in the house?

Huff. Yes.

Q. What was the judgment you formed of his state of mind?

Huff. I never thought him a man right in his senses during all the time that he lodged at my house.

Q. to Whitewood. Have you seen your master continually since he has been in confinement?

Whitewood. Yes.

Q. In what condition has he been?

Whitewood. Very bad; he has continued much the same as before, talking about the bailiffs and the like.

Counsel. Mr. Justice Blackstone thought him not in a fit state last sessions to be tried.

Court. We thought the affidavit sufficient to put off the trial till further enquiry was made; at the same time we told Mr. Cox that we should expect proof of a much stronger kind than that upon which we put off the trial. I was in Court, I believe by myself, when he was brought up in order to be arraigned; he then appeared exceedingly wild when arraigned first of all, but was remanded, and came back in five or six hours time, with a very different kind of apparent insanity upon him: he was quite frantick at first, afterwards only talking beside the purpose.

Guilty . Death .

Recommended to Mercy by the Jury.


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