28th June 1780
Reference Numbert17800628-99
VerdictNot Guilty

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403. ABRAHAM DAVIS was indicted for that he, together with thirty other persons and more, did, unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously, assemble, on the 7th of June , to the disturbance of the public peace, and did begin to demolish and pull down the dwelling house of George Beckett , against the form of the statute, &c.


I am a cabinet-maker , in Crown-court, Grub-street . My house was attacked, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday the 7th of June. I was in my garret. I heard a tumultuous noise; I ran down stairs; the first person I saw coming in at the door with that multitude was the prisoner at the bar; he had a bludgeon or stick in his hand, with which I saw him break the windows; he was the next person to me. I went out of the house and left him breaking the windows; and I saw no more of him. The mob demolished the furniture; they broke the closets and shelves down.

Did they break down the wainscoting? - The house has very little wainscoting in it; what there was they demolished.

Did you ever see the prisoner before? - No. I saw the prisoner again on Wednesday the 26th; I was coming home from Old-street; he was in White-Cross-street with a pea-cart; I immediately knew him again; he is so remarkable I could not mistake him; I am sure he is the man.

Did you mention that to any body before? - I mentioned it in my own family that one person struck me more than the rest.


The prosecutor swears I broke the windows I have but two fingers; I have persons to prove that I was at the Fleet prison from two till six o'clock.

For the Prisoner.


I keep an eating house in Grub-street; my father employed the prisoner to bring his goods from the Fleet; my father is in the

Fleet; he came home and desired me to get some body to help to move his goods, as the Fleet was threatened to be set on fire. I went up to White Cross-street and got a cart. The prisoner was asleep in the stable; I waked him; that was a little before two o'clock.

What stables were they; - I do not know the name of the stables; there is a box maker at the corner of the yard. I drove the cart and he rode within side to Fleet-lane; it is a little potatoe cart.

Was the cart his? - Whether it was his or his master's I do not know; he mounted the cart while I went into the Fleet and helped to bring the goods down; when we had loaded the cart and came from it, it was past six o'clock; I believe the mob were then breaking Mr. Langdale's windows, because as we came to the top of the market we saw two men on the leads.

How far is Grub-street from the Fleet? - About a quarter of a mile.

Was he with you all the time? - Yes; from before two till almost seven o'clock; then I unloaded the cart.

Was you acquainted with him before? - No; my father bespoke the cart, and I went a little before two for it.

Cross Examination.

What evening was this? - Wednesday evening; the same evening the Fleet was on fire.


I was a prisoner at the Fleet; on the Wednesday when this happened I was afraid of losing my little property; I ran to my children who were able to help me. I met my son William. I said come down and help me, as the Fleet is threatened to be set on fire; that was rather before twelve o'clock. I told him I had spoke to a man who keeps a little cart. I went back to pack up my things as fast as I could; about an hour or two after my two sons William and Thomas came; they helped to lead the things into the cart; I knew nothing of the prisoner before, only he was employed to carry my goods; he is a carman; he was employed from two o'clock. I did not get out of the Fleet till near six o'clock; I walked along by the cart all the way; the cart, I believe, belongs to one Armston; I know nothing of the prisoner; I spoke to Armston for the cart.


I saw the prisoner bring the goods from Mr. Williams's house on Wednesday the 7th of this month between six and seven in the evening.

Counsel for the Crown. There is so much doubt in this case that I desire the prosecution may proceed no farther.


Tried by the Second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice NARES.

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