30th April 1783
Reference Numbert17830430-55

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302. JOHN KELLAN , otherwise JOHN HERBERT KEELING was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the

13th of March , one steel hilted sword, value 10 s. the property of George Bone Roupel , Esq.


I must introduce a little story; about the 13th of March last, a genteel dressed looking man knocked at my door, and enquired for lodgings, I had a bill for my first floor on my window, I live in Beaufort-buildings Strand , the maid let him in, and put him in the parlour next the street door, then she called me up, I was in the kitchen; he enquired for the first floor, I told the man, I never took any stranger in, that he could not have the lodgings for a week to come, as they were occupied, and therefore begged he would not go up, he said he could possibly wait for a week, he was but in the neighbourhood, and if I could permit him to go up, he would be obliged to me; with that, I went up with him, and I called the maid belonging to the family, that were in the first floor, being sensible that there was some plate on the side board, I ordered her to go up before, which she did; after we went up stairs, he viewed the sleeping room; on his return to the dining room, he made a story not proper for me to trouble your Lordship with, he seemed to agree for the apartment, and asked for a pen and ink, there was a silver ink-stand, and I took the top off, and delivered it to him to fill his pen, he then wanted paper, I put my hand in my pocket and gave him some; I begged the maid not to leave me, but stand with her back to the side board, as it was her master's property, he then hesitated a moment, and said, he should return in a half an hour or send his servant; I told him I had no accommodation for servants, and therefore it was needless for him to send or come; he said, he had two horses at livery, and his servant could sleep where the horses were; he came down in the parlour, this was at five o'clock the 13th of March; having a lady to drink tea and my nephew, I was just lighting the candle to make the tea, when a double knock came to the door, and the man returned, says he, madam, I have brought my friend, (who is that unhappy man,) to look at these apartments, to have his approbation; the young man turned into the parlour, where the other had been before, and looking at some message cards over the glass, said, he doubted the respctability of the gentleman that lived in the parlour; I said, there was no doubt of that from the message cards, because none but respectable people could be in that house; I forgot to tell your Lordship, that the other man when he came in, asked me what family I had, ( they were cards of Mr. Roupel, who came from Carolina,) I had imprudently told the other man that I had nobody in the house but myself, and a maid and boy at school; this man says, well madam, give us leave to go up to this floor, and I called the maid again, and ordered her to carry a candle up in the dining room before them, my nephew seeing my terror watched him coming past my back parlour, and looked through the door, and saw the prisoner slip back into the parlour, and he heard something gingle; he apprehended it was a watch chain, but did not know what he had taken; I was going up stairs with the other, and I missed him, I turned round and said, where is the other gentleman, he came and passed me, and my nephew burst out of the parlour, and said, he is a thief! we laid hold of him, the point of the sword came up under his coat, and I said, he has a sword, no, says my nephew, it is Roupel's sword; I am sure that, is the sword; the lady in the parlour ran out for assistance, upon which the door was set open, and the first man jumped over my nephews head, and this one followed my nephew, who pursued with the sword in his hand, and dropped it in the scuffle, he never was out of my nephew's hands.

Court. Is that the sword that he dropped in the scuffle? - This is the sword, it has hung in my parlour seven weeks; I am sure of the man, though his dress is changed, his hair and face are the same, but he had on then a scarlet coat.


I acknowledge the charge laid against me, it is the first time I ever was arraigned

at this bar, and I submit myself to the mercy of the Jury.

Court to Prisoner. What are you? - I have been brought up to the sea.

What was you? - In the India service, and I have been in the navy, I was midshipman in an Indiaman and in a man of was both, I was in the Worcester Indiaman, and was pressed into the King's service; I happened to fall into the company of this man, and being in want of money I took the sword; my character was never before impeached.

Jury. What was the King's ship? - The Blenhelm.


Transported for seven years .

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

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