21st April 1784
Reference Numbert17840421-7

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382. ROBERT GANLEY, otherwise GANBY , was indicted (with one RICHARD JACOBS , not in custody) for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Edward Thomson , about the hour of eight in the night, on the 10th of March last, and feloniously stealing therein, one silver milk-pot, value 36 s. two silver salts, value 30 s. one silver pepper castor, value 10 s. one pair of silver tea tongs, value 5 s. five silver table spoons, value 50 s. six silver tea spoons, value 15 s. one watch, with the inside case made of gold, and the outside case made of green shagreen, value 10 l. one pair of stone shoe buckles set in silver, value 30 s. one pair of steel shoe buckles, value 3 s. one silver purse, value 2 s. one crown piece, value 5 s. two half crown pieces, value 5 s. and one silver three pence, value 3 d. the property of Edward Thomson .


I live in Islington .

Are you in any business? - No.

When was your house broke open? - The 10th of last month, I was not at home, it was between seven and eight, Mrs. Thomson and my maid were both at home, they are here.

Court. Let us hear them first.

The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoner.

Mrs. THOMSON sworn.

Somebody knocked at the door, the maid and I were in the parlour, a little after seven; the maid went and opened the door a little way, and a man said he had a letter of importance, and she looked at the directions, and she said it was not for her, nor any body there.

Was you near enough to hear or see what passed? - I heard it.

Were the candles lighted at that time? - Yes, she was going to shut the door, and he said, no, hold, and then they pushed the door open, and in they rushed; they all came into the parlour first.

How many were there? - Six, to the best of my knowledge.

How many did you see? - O, I do not know, I was frightened, I do not know how many I saw.

How many came into the room where you was? - I cannot tell, there were several, I was too much frightened to count them, I was in the fore parlour.

What did they do? - They walked backwards and forwards in the room, and I screamed out, and they held up a cutlass to my face, and threatened me if I did not hold my tongue; they did nothing but walk backwards and forwards, and guard me and my maid.

What were the others doing the while? - Only one stood over me.

Where was your maid? - She was in the same room; when she first let them into the passage, they put a gag into her mouth, and hurt her very much.

After they rushed in, did she come back again into your room? - Yes.

Was she guarded in the same room that you was in, or in another room? - In the same room.

How many of them were there guarding her and you? - Only two, the others went up stairs.

Was there any thing rifled in the room where you was? - No.

How long did they remain up stairs? - I believe near three quarters of an hour.

Could you hear what they were doing up stairs? - I heard them very busy, pulling out all the drawers, and they did pull them out, and did a great deal before they went away, but I could only hear them tumbling the things about, and pulling open the drawers.

Did they all go away together? - I believe so, I believe it was not quite eight when they were all gone.

How long had you lighted candles before they came in? - About half an hour, it might be about twenty minutes after seven when they came in.

Can you tell as to its being dark, did you light candles early that night? - Not earlier than usual.

Was it dark? - O yes, it was dark, a very dark night.

Because the sun does not set at this time till after six, this was the 10th of March? - This was twenty minutes after seven; after they were gone, I went up stairs, and found all the drawers open; I went first into the fore room, over the parlour, that was the bedchamber.

Were the drawers that you found open, in that chamber? - Yes, they were a double chest of drawers, and a low chest of drawers besides.

Did you miss any thing else out of these drawers? - No, none of my clothes, they had not meddled with them, they told me they only wanted money; I missed one diamond ring, which was in a snuff box in my dressing glass drawer; I missed a silver net purse, with a crown piece and two half crown pieces in it; I missed them from my dressing box, with a pincushion at the top of it, in a low chest of drawers.

Did you miss any thing else? - I believe not.

Where were the silver milk pot and the other things? - The silver milk pot, and the tea spoons and tongs were in a little green baise bag, pinned up in the drawers in the back parlour, in the bureau drawer.

Was the bureau forced open? - They broke it open, in order to have found something else; they broke it with a pair of tongs, they came into the parlour and carried off the tongs, and so forced it open.

Where were the salts, and the pepper castor, and the table spoons, and the watch and buckles taken from? - The table spoons were in a case with some silver handled knives and forks, that case was at the top of the chest of drawers in my bed-chamber, one of the salts was on the table in the room with me; I lost nothing out of that room but that one salt, that happened accidentally to be in the room with me, the other was in the back parlour, and they moved the salt out; the pepper castor was in the back parlour too, and the watch was hanging up by the chimney side in my bed-chamber, it was a gold watch in a black shagreen case.

Court. Look at your indictment, Mr. Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds. My Lord, it says green in the indictment.

Mrs. Thomson. The shoe buckles and knee buckles were in a black case, I suppose, in the low drawers.

Where were the other shoe buckles? - They were in the bureau, in the back parlour, which they broke open, hoping to find something better.

Where was the silver three-pence lost from? - That was in the little silver purse, with the crown piece and two half crowns.

Did you ever find any of your things again? - No, they are found.

Look at the prisoner at the bar, and tell me whether you have any thing to say against him? - I cannot.


I have been servant to Mrs. Thomson seven years, except two months; I have a letter in my pocket; on the 10th of March, between seven and eight, or about a quarter after seven, they knocked a gentle knock at the door, I was in the parlour with my mistress at work; I asked who was at the door; they said, there was a letter of importance, upon which I opened the door a little way, and they held their thumb on the direction of the letter, and I said it was not for us, because it was directed for Miss Young.

Did they thrust the letter in? - Yes, they held it with their hand to the candle, and when I went to push the door with my hand and my knee, they thrust in; they said, stop, and in they all came.

How many? - To the best of my knowledge there were six.

What was the first thing you observed they did? - When they came I cried out, O, Lord Jesus, we shall all be killed! and one of them immediately seized me by the throat, and I felt several others about me; after that, I desired them to let me go into

the parlour to my mistress, who was just come out of a fit of sickness, for I was afraid they would frighten her to death; with that, some cried out, cut them down, and others said, gag them, and I saw several gags in their hands.

Do you know what gags are? - They were several pieces of wood, of different sizes; then the child screamed out violently, that they would not murder her aunt; and the washerwoman came out of the kitchen, and a man in short clothes met her on the stairs, and clapped her hand to her mouth, and desired her not to make a noise; and she said she would not, if he would let her go to us; and when she came in, the tall man said, take the child and quiet her, and be damned to you, and they let her take the child away; after that, three of them, as nigh as I can guess, left the room; with that, the prisoner at the bar and two others went away, and left one with a cutlass and another with a pistol in the parlour, and I thought I heard another in the passage, or at the street door, and I staid in the parlour; presently after that my mistress said there was a knock at the door, and I said I heard nobody, but my master would be home at eight o'clock; a man came into the parlour, with a short jacket, and breeches buttoned in, and took the parlour tongs and opened the desk, they stood all then by the side of the desk. A pair of steel buckles of my master's were found on the prisoner.

How long did they stay in the house? - As nigh as I can guess, about three quarters of an hour; I believe they had been there about a quarter of an hour when I said my master would be in at eight o'clock: the prisoner was the man that came in and took the candles off the table, and went to the desk in the back room.

How was he dressed? - In a short jacket and fustian breeches buttoned in, and a hat very much over his face.

Had he any thing else over his face? - No, Sir, I did not know that there was any thing else over his face.

Did not know! why you saw, did not you? - No, I did not see any thing over his face.

As his hat was very much over his face, you could not see his face, could you? - When I saw him at the Rotation Office, with his hat very much over his face, he was a striking likeness of the man, I could see his nose, and mouth, and lips.

Did he speak at all? - I never hard him open his lips.

How soon did you see him after? - The persons that took him came to me the day after, and we went the next day at eleven o'clock; this was on the Wednesday, and on the Friday we were appointed to see them; I knew him to be the same man that was in the house, and went backwards and forwards in the two rooms.

When did you first know that the steel buckles had been found upon him? - The same afternoon the man came to us with the watch and the other things.

When the men came, desiring you to come to the Rotation Office, did they bring the buckles with them? - I saw them at the Rotation Office.

Before you had seen the man or after? - It was after.

What dress was he in when you saw him at the Rotation Office? - He was dressed in a purple long coat, of a fine cloth, and a neckcloth about his neck.

Had he his hat on when you first saw him? - Not when I first saw him, but it was a new hat, lined with blue.

That was a very different dress? - It was, but I knew him.

You go before me all the way, you will have it you know the man, and perhaps you do, but answer my questions; did you know him to be the same man when you first saw him? - I knew him to be the same man before his hat was put on; I immediately said, that was the man that was in the house, and that went into the back parlour; I saw him afterwards with his hat on twice, the Justice made him put it on; he would not have it put over his face, and he gave one of the runners a knock; it was put over his face, and I knew him perfectly

well before it was put over; when it was put over his face, he appeared to be the same man.

Court. Remember, child, here is a man's life at stake, and when you saw him at the Rotation Office he was very differently dressed. - I am very sure he is the man that was in the room, and that went into the back parlour, for he struck me the moment I saw him.

After they were gone you found the house had been rifled? - After they were gone out of the parlour, I thought they might be in the house, and I called out of the window; I found all the drawers entirely broken, and the cabinet broke open.

(The letter produced, being a blank sheet of paper, directed to Miss Young, Islington.)


On the 10th of March, about nine in the evening, M'Donald, Charles Young , Charles Grubb , and myself, were going along Broad St. Giles's, and turning into Drury-lane, I met the prisoner and three other men, they walked two by two, the prisoner was behind along with Jacobs, I passed them, and stopped again to see if M'Donald or Grubb stopped them; they did not; on the off side, by the light of the tallow chandler's shop, I saw a bundle in Jacob's right-hand, the prisoner was on the left hand side; I immediately run and caught hold of Jacobs, and asked him what he had got there? immediately he flung the bundle round to give it to the prisoner; I let go Jacobs, and called out to lay hold of the others; Jacobs jumped out of the road, but the bundle the prisoner had not got as I thought he had; Young and M'Donald caught Jacobs in about a dozen yards; I took the prisoner, and they brought Jacobs into the Brown Bear , in Broad St. Giles's; then M'Donald and Grub searched Jacobs, and took the plate from him.

Did you see him searched? - Yes, they took the plate out of his hand in the street, and some pieces of money out of his pocket in the public house; these steel buckles I took out of the prisoner's breeches pocket; I asked him how he came by them? he said he found them in a coach.

The buckles produced and deposed to by the Prosecutor.

Prosecutor. They were in my desk in the back parlour, which was broke open; I did not wear them, I had seen them about a week before.

Prisoner. What dress was the man in that got away? - To the best of my knowledge it was a brown under coat.

Prisoner. What waistcoat and breeches? - He had a white great coat, a kind of a blossom coat, and a purple coat under it.

What kind of breeches? - Fustian, and a white waistcoat.

What sort of a hat? - A round hat.

Was the upper coat a long coat, or a short one? - A long coat.

And that white great coat that the prisoner wore came down pretty low? - Yes.

And a purple coat under it? - Yes.


I was along with the last witness, and M'Donald and Grubb; coming along just by Drury-lane, there were four men, and the prisoner and Jacobs were side by side, and Jacobs next the wall, the other two were walking side by side, by them.

Could you judge by their manner of walking, whether they spoke to another or not? - They were talking very loud as they went by, they seemed to be all in one company; Savre went by them, and turned round and came up to Jacobs and the prisoner; and Jacobs had this bundle in his hand, and I saw him move his hand towards the prisoner, and Sayer caught hold of the prisoner, and Jacobs run on; we pursued him, and M'Donald caught hold of the skirts of his coat, he had the bundle in his hand; then he run about twelve or fourteen yards; I took the bundle out of his hand; this is the bundle, I have had it locked up up ever since; here is a watch, a pair of salts, half a dozen tea spoons and a pair of sugar tongs.

How came you to let Jacobs get away? - He broke out of the round house while we were gone to Islington to look for the prosecutor. (The things deposed to by Mrs. Thomson.) Here are five table spoons, and six tea spoons, one pair of salts, a cream jug, and a watch, a little box, and a little silver bell, and one stone buckle.

Court to Mrs. Thomson. Have any of them your mark on them? - They are all marked.

Prisoner. What kind of waistcoat and breeches had the man on when he got away? - I cannot remember.

Prisoner. When they advertised him they could remember every individual that he had on then.


The prisoner and Jacobs were walking together and talking, I saw Jacobs have a bundle; we followed them, and Jacobs went to throw the bundle to the prisoner, he did not get it, and Jacobs run away with it, Young and M'Donald run after him and took him with the bundle, and I staid with this man: I found in Jacobs's pocket that crown piece, and two half crown pieces, and a silver three-pence; I asked the prisoner how he came by the buckles, and he said he found them in a hackney coach, the prisoner and Jacobs were both very dirty as if they had been in the country, I think they both were in boots.

Prisoner. What time of night was this? - It was exactly nine, when we took them into a public house to search them.


I lived in Drury Lane, and was going out to get some super, and there were five or six men going along, I was coming along, and they were shoving one another about; and as they were shoving one another about, I picked up these buckles; these men took me, and took me into a public house, and searched me.

Sayer. My Lord, the buckles were in this paper and tied with a bit of string, and it was a very wet night, and there was no dirt on the paper.

Court to Prosecutor. Were your buckles when you lost them tied up in a paper or were they loose? - I really forget whether they were loose, or in a paper, but I rather think in a paper.

Court to Prisoner. What way of life have you been in? - I am a heel maker by trade.

Have you worked at your trade till you was taken? - Yes, Sir, till I was taken bad, these men know when I was taken, I was not able to lift my hands to my head.

Grubb. He pretended he was lame that night.

Court. Can you prove where you was at this time? - I had nobody at home but my wife, I worked at the widow Barnes's, at Barbican, I had not been at work for almost a fortnight, I was not able to work.

Have you any body to speak for you? - No, Sir, I was taken at such a disadvantage. that I had no time to get any body to come up.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, this is a burglary of a kind rather unusual, though very atrocious; the entry was obtained by artifice and by management, therefore there is no direct breaking; but inasmuch as the mischief is precisely the same, whether the entry is obtained by artifice, when the intention is to commit a felony in the house; as if they had actually broke open the door with a sledge hammer: the law constructs the obtaining the entry by a trick and artifice for the same purpose, to be precisely the same crime as breaking into the house: as to the mistake of the watch being in a green shagreen case, that might have been material if he had been charged with stealing nothing else. If therefore, the prisoner appears to you upon the evidence before you, to be one of the parties concerned in this burglary, which is a very daring and atrocious one, it will be your duty to find him guilty; but however daring and atrocious the outrage is, unless the evidence is such as to bring home conviction to your minds, that the prisoner was a party concerned in it, you will also think it your duty to acquit him.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron EYRE.

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