15th January 1783
Reference Numbert17830115-6

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91. JOHN KELLY was indicted for feloniously assaulting Edward Adamson on the King's highway, on the 8th of January instant, and putting him in fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person and against his will, a pair of copper shoe buckles plated with silver, value 6 d. one copper farthing, and a silver sixpence, his goods and monies .

EDWARD ADAMSON , a Negro, sworn.

I know the prisoner; I was robbed on

Wednesday evening last about half after eight, in the road from the Horse-ferry, Limehouse , I lost a six-pence, a farthing, and the buckles out of my shoes; the prisoner at the bar was the person that robbed me, I never saw him before, it was a grey light, there was a little glimmer of the moon, but in a cloud as it were.

Court. Can you be sure of the person of the man, never having seen him before? - I swore to the man before he was searched, before the buckles my property were found upon him.

In what way did he rob you? - I had been out a little while in the evening, and as I was returning home, just as I came by Mr. Turner's stable door, one man passed me and stopped, I then suspected my danger, seeing this man and another appear at the same time, there were three men in the whole; I was going to pass them, they offered to give me the wall; I saw the prisoner jog the other man with his elbow just as he was a-breast of me, and the other man jumped behind me, and this man before me, each of them put a knife to my neck, saying, you bugger if you speak a word, your head is off that minute; I told them, says I, gentlemen I will not; with that, this man asked me what money I had, I told him I had but one six-pence, and one crooked farthing, he asked me where it was, I went to put my hand into my pocket to take it out for him, and he pushed my hand away and took it himself; then he spoke another word that I really did not understand then, but I soon understood that it was to see if I had a watch; I told him, the 31st of July last I lost a watch, and I had never a one; he asked me what I had got here: I had a pair of buck skin breeches with leather strings; then he went down to my shoes, and says, what are these? I said they are a pair of plate, in my fright that I was in; says the prisoner that is what we want, I recovered myself from my fright, and says I, gentlemen they are only plated; nevertheless he took them out of my shoes; then he arose from my feet, and clapped his knife to my neck; the other man every now and then jogging his hand to appear to be in earnest: after that says the prisoner at the bar, now says he if you do not swear by the bible, that you will not speak a word about it for half an hour, I will cut your head off now; I said I would not; the other man said to him give him the six-pence, he said he would not: after the prisoner with drew the knife from my neck, the other man kept his knife to my neck till I was obliged to make the same promise upon the same oath; then he turned about to go both together towards the man that stood alone while they were plundering of me; I let them go a little way, till I thought I had room enough to retreat in case of a second attack; I then cried out, Stop thief! a gentleman and a little lad coming along at the same time, I said, Sir, I have been robbed by them rascals that passed by this minute, and if you will go along with me I do not doubt but I will take one of them yet; the gentleman promised he would, we both turned back together; the prisoner and the other were then gone partly out of sight, the other man stood his ground, I came up to him; I had a good solid cane in my hand, and I began to be-labour him; the gentleman retreated with all possible speed as soon as he saw I had began to engage him; missing the gentleman, I followed him as quick as possible, fearing the return of the other men, and I ran away towards the corner; the man that I belaboured, followed me saying he would have satisfaction, I told him I was going to justice Sherwood's, and there I would give him what satisfaction he demanded, but that I expected before I went there to take one of the other men along with me, I set off with all speed, running round the narrow street, I met this man coming towards the end of the street, as soon as I met him, I looked at him very stedfastly, and he at me, as soon as I found I was right in the man, a took a step or two back, being determined

to keep a length between my cane and his head; he took to his heels, and I followed him, crying, Stop thief! he ran before me and cried Stop thief! too; I followed him to the corner, and he turned round to the left hand to go the water side, where I pursued him; then I left him in the hand of this man who was running before.


I am a Bricklayer by trade; I was set watch over a common sewer that was open at Ratcliffe-cross, I heard the cry of, Stop thief! I saw nobody but the prisoner upon the full run, I catched him by the collar; he had this stick in his hand, and was going to knock me down: it was that gentleman there. (Pointing to the prisoner.)


I searched him, and I found this knife in his waistcoat pocket (a clasp knife produced,) and his protection, he told the justice he was running to make his escape from the press-gang; I searched him again, he said he would pull off his shirt, and under his left arm next his skin, I found one of the buckles.

(The buckle produced and deposed to by the prosecutor.)

Court to Prosecutor. What do you know the buckle by particularly? - I was coming up a pair of stairs and was like to slip, and I almost straightened it, I laid it on a heater and tried to bend it, and broke that piece out of the chape.

Prisoner to Heaton. In what situation was I when you took me? - He was running very hard, and there was no other creature in the street.


It was a dark night, I was coming from Limehouse; it rained very hard, and I had my coat buttoned about me, and that buckle was in my surtoot pocket, and walking smart it hit against my knee, and I put it into my bosom.

GUILTY , ( Death .)

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST.

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