10th April 1782
Reference Numbert17820410-3
SentenceCorporal > whipping

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250, 251. THOMAS PLUMBE was indicted with - MOREING , (not with any christian name) for stealing, on the 27th of March last, one half firkin, containing twenty-eight pounds weight of butter, value 16 s. two cheeses of fifteen pounds weight, value 7 s. the goods of Catherine Rouse , widow .

- Moreing was called upon to hold up his hand and plead to the indictment, he held up his hand by a sign made to him by a person in court, but said nothing; when the question was asked, are you guilty or not? he shook his head.

Court. Gentlemen of the Jury, this person not making any answer, nor putting in any plea in answer to the charge, it is proper for you to enquire, whether he ist really unable to plead from the visitation of God, or whether he is obstinately silent; we will enquire of the persons whose custody he has been in, in that you may be enabled to form some judgment of it, and you must be sworn to try that fact.

The Jury were then sworn to try the fact, (the purport of the oath was as follows) You shall well and truly try, and a due inquiry make, whether - Moreing stands mute from obstinacy, or by the visitation of God.

JOHN WOODWARD , assistant to the keeper of Clerkenwell Bridewell, sworn.

Court. Has that prisoner that goes by the name of Moreing been in custody at Clerkenwell? - Yes.

How long was he in that goal? - I cannot say; I have known him these three years before he was committed, he has a brother and a sister, and neither of them can speak or hear; I am a servant to the keeper of Clerkenwell, I have seen him backwards and forwards, his father and mother are not living.

What parish do these people belong to? - They have lived some time in St. Ann's, Soho.

You have known the man these three years? - Thereabouts, here is a person knows him better than I:

Do you know whether he is deaf or dumb? - Yes; I have never heard him speak any farther than making a noise, I really believe him to be deaf and dumb.

Court. Gentlemen of the Jury, this evidence appears to be sufficient to satisfy us, we have no reason to suspect the contrary, but that this man is really deaf and dumb, you will judge of it and find your verdict, whether he is deaf and dumb by the visitation of God, or stands mute wilfully and out of obstinacy.

Jury. We find him deaf and dumb by the visitation of God.

Court. Let him be taken from the bar, we will not try him; I shall represent his case, and he will be properly disposed of by his Majesty.

The court then proceeded in the trial of Thomas Plumbe .


I lost my two Glocester cheeses and half a tub of butter on the 27th of March, about eight at night, I keep a chandler's

shop , I heard the cry of stop thief at the door, William Green told me they were taken away, I saw them afterwards at the justice's.

William Green. I saw the dumb man go into a shop, as I was going past her shop, at the corner of Red-lion yard, Holborn , it was at Mr. Swan's shop; I saw him join two others, and they went and beset Mrs. Rouse's shop, I was about ten yards from the door, they all went into the shop, the prisoner at the bar brought out two cheeses, the other man brought out a firkin of butter, not the dumb man, he was standing by the door and took the butter from him; I catched hold of the young man Plumbe, he threw the cheeses down, I saw the dumb man take the butter from the other, I had the boy secured, and went after the dumb man who made some resistance, they were both taken and committed.

William Gore deposed, upon the cry of stop thief, seeing the dumb man run, he ran after him and catched him, and he was hand-cuffed, the cheese and butter were took to the Lamb in Conduit-street; they were taken before the magistrate, they were the same as was taken from the men.

Mrs. Rouse deposed, the butter and cheese produced to the magistrate were her property.

To Green. The lad was never out of the shop till I took hold of him.


I was coming along with the dumb man and another man, who said he would give me sixpence, to carry the cheese and butter for him to Gray's-inn-lane, to the Kentish-town stage.


Thomas Plumbe to be publicly whipped .

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.

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