11th June 1829
Reference Numbert18290611-318

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

1315. JAMES BUTLER was indicted for that he, on the 17th of May , at St. Luke, Chelsea, unlawfully, maliciously, and feloniously, did set fire to a certain building, used in carrying on the trade of a floor-cloth maker, of and belonging to Thomas Downing and others, with intent to injure the said Thomas Downing and others, with intent to injure the said Thomas Downing and others ; against the Statute.

2d. COUNT, the same, only substituting the words manufacture of floor cloth, instead of the words printed in Italics.

3d COUNT, the same as the first, only calling it an erection instead of a building.

4th COUNT, the same as the second; only calling it an erection instead of a building.

MESSRS. BRODRICK and PHILLIPS conducted the prosecution.

GEORGE DOWNING . I am a floor-cloth manufacturer , and carry on business, in the King's-road, Chelsea ; my father Thomas Downing, and my brother Charles, are my partners; the prisoner came into our employment in October, 1824, and we discharged him in September, 1828. On Friday, the 15th of May, I saw him standing against a public-house, directly opposite the manufactory; the men were leaving their work to breakfast - I was observing them going out, and heard the prisoner speaking to them; he used the most shocking language, which I cannot repeat - it was addressed to one of my men: I could not at first believe it was the prisoner using such language. On Saturday night, the 16th of May, at half-past eight o'clock, I saw the manufactory locked up, and left it perfectly safe; there had been neither light nor fire on the building, for at least a fortnight previous - our premises were not insured; they were of considerable extent and value - my father was with me when I left the manufactory, on the evening of the 16th; we left nobody behind there; it was locked secure - they were ordinary locks; round the lower tier of the manufactory the windows are cast-iron; some of them in the centre were left open - they were on the ground floor. I was one of the first persons on the spot when the fire was discovered; an alarm of fire was given to me on the Sunday, a minute or two before two o'clock in the afternoon - I went immediately to the spot; when I arrived there, there was an immense volume of smoke arising from the union of the two buildings - there was a higher building, and a lower one; I did not peroeive any flame, but it broke out directly; the building was on fire in two spots - there was, I suppose, a space of thirty to forty feet between the two places where the fire was; the first fire I observed was in the large building, which I call the manufactory - we have stables; there is a carpenter's shop adjoining those stables: the second fire was at the carpenter's shop, which is not under the same roof as the manufactory - there is an interval of thirty or forty feet; they are under separate roofs - there was no combustible materials kept near the manufactory; there was tow - all our articles some people consider combustible; we had a very forocious dog on the premises - we have had him about three years; we had him during the time the prisoner was in our employment, and he was familiar with the prisoner: I am sure of that, for I have seen him feed the dog and caress him - if any strangers came on the premises the dog was very fierce, and barked at them. After the examination at the Police office I searched by the palings, and found there a number of common brimstone matches, on a spot which was pointed out to me by Fletcher, one of my workmen; the matches were close under the fence: they were lying on the ground there, with a little of the mould over them- there was part of the paling broken down at that place; it was thrown down before I found the matches - the mob had thrown it down, and some of the palings were over the matches also: I know James James , a boy in the employment of Mr. Sellers, a chemist - he pointed out two female children to me at the Police-office; I should know them again - they are the prisoner's sisters.

Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. Q.Was the prisoner the only man on your premises that took notice of the dog? A. No; others noticed him; I found the matches on the 25th of May - the fire was on the 17th.

THOMAS CHARLES DOWNING . I am not in partnership with the prosecutors; I am employed in the counting-house, and have been so ever since the manufactory was built, which is about four years. I was there for about half an hour, about nine o'clock, on the morning of the fire; I went about half way down the length of the manufactory, in the manufactory; I passed two doors, they were both locked, I opened them - the premises were quite safe then; I neither saw nor heard any thing to induce me to think any body had been there; I believe I was near the part where the fire broke out - I left at half-past nine o'clock precisely; I perceived not the least smell or indication of fire - there had not been a fire or a candle on the premises for, I should think, three weeks or a fortnight before, to my knowledge.

HENRY WILLIAM RUSSELL. I live at No. 1, Mermaidcourt, Turk's-row, with my father - I am twelve years old. I know where Mr. Downing's manufactory stood; I remember the day it was burnt down, it was Sunday - I went out that day to take a walk; I was out about half-past one o'clock in the King's-road - the palings of Mr. Downing's manufactury run along that road; I was near the palings, and observed a person inside the palings - I know who that person was - that is him (pointing to the prisoner) -I did not know him before; I observed his dress - he had a blue coat and blue trousers, and had shoes on, and his stockings were white; I saw him inside the palings - he ran from the back part of the manufactory; I am sure he was running, he was running fast - he ran towards the stable,

which was also inside the palings; I cannot say how near it was to the manufactory - he halted at the stable, and I ran on towards Smith-street; the prisoner was then standing; I turned round to look at a coach coming along, and saw him getting over the palings - he ran out and turned down Blackland's-lane; he was running very fast, and as he ran he hit himself against a post opposite.

Q.Was that done with violence or gently? A. Gently; I remember seeing the fire, it was about ten minutes before I saw the fire that I saw the prisoner getting over the palings; I had an opportunity as he got over the palings of seeing his face, and observed it; I gave a description of his person before - the prisoner was at the Police-office; I told my mother that afternoon what I had seen - I pointed the prisoner out myself.

Cross-examined. Q.Where were you when you pointed him out? A. At Queen-square; he stop at the bar - I knew he was there for setting the premises on fire; it is a close wooden paling round the manufactory - I saw him through a crevice in the boards; he was running from the manufactory towards the stable - his face was towards me.

Q. Did the stable stand between the manufactory and the place you were looking through, or on the other side? A. The stable stood on the other side - he stood fronting me, and was looking at me.

Q. He could not see you through the crevice, not being close to you? A. The place I was looking through is as wide as this (about two inches), and I had my hand through the hole; he was halting when he was looking at me - he stood halting there and looking at me; it was about half-past one o'clock in the day.

Q. Is the King's-road much frequented by company about that time, or are there not a good many people walking? A. No; it was quite quiet - church was over; there was another boy with me - I saw nobody else; Blackland's-lane comes into the King's-road; the boy who was with me did not look through the crevice. he was on in front of me, a good way farther than the window of this Court - he saw nothing of it; I went on to him afterwards - I did not tell him what I had seen; he was at the fire - I did not tell him then what I had seen; he was running on and I was walking - he was a playfellow - we often go out to play together, his name is Mockford - he was at Queen-square.

Q. How long was the man going from the manufactory to the stable? A. He ran very fast the whole way, and did not halt till he got to the stable - he stood outside the stable; he came out into the King's-road over the paling - I have been examined at Queen-square five times about this; the first examination was on the Monday after the fire - I do not know when the last was; I have not been there when the prisoner was absent, nor have I been to any private room since to be examined.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q. You have said he was running from the back part of the manufactory? A. Yes; I was in the King's-road, his face was towards me then, and when he halted at the stable; there is an alley which leads from the King's-road to Blackland's-lane - I do not know the name of it; it was down that alley that he ran; I was at the watch-house before I went to the Police-office, but did not point the prisoner out there - I did not hear any dog bark when the prisoner was inside the railing.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Who took you to the watch-house? A. My father; it was the same day as I went to Queen-square (Monday) - I did not point the prisoner out there.

COURT. Q. Did you go into the watch-house? A. Yes; the prisoner was there - he was the only prisoner; several gentlemen were there; Mr. Maybank opened the door for me - my father was with me; I knew the prisoner when I saw him there, and was sure he was the person I had seen running from the manufactory; I said he was the man, but did not point to him - I am sure the person I saw was the person I had seen on Sunday between one and two o'clock.

MR. DOWNING re-examined. Q. How high are the ground floor windows, which were open, from the ground? A.About seven feet; the paling is from five to six feet high - it is very old, with a number of apertures in it; it has originally been closed.

ISAAC RYDE . I am foreman to Mr. Peto, a carpenter, and live in the King's-road, opposite Moore's nursery, which adjoins Mr. Downing's premises. On Sunday, the 17th of May, I went out about eleven o'clock, and on my return I came up towards the White Stiles, between the horse-chesnut trees, that are on the other side of the King's-road, nearly opposite to the manufactory - it was near one o'clock, or about a quarter past; I saw a man leaning on the bar, and by the side of him I saw the prisoner - I am certain of him; the bar belongs to the King's-road - it is a private road; I looked at them, and they looked at me - Benham was with me, and we observed that they looked very much agitated; they still looked after us, and we looked at them - I made an observation about it, and then went into my house, and sat down at my window, where I had a full command of Mr. Downing's premises, and when I had been sitting down about three-quarters of an hour, or an hour, I saw a man just coming from the pales to the corner, close up to Mrs. Moore's (it was before the fire happened, but I cannot speak with certainty to the time) - the man was just springing from the pales; he had just come over - I observed him; it was the prisoner, I am sure - his hands were just coming from the pales; he had come over - he ran away towards London, and I think he turned to the left; there is an alley to the left, leading into Blackland's-lane - he appeared to turn down that alley; he did not run very fast - it was between a run and a walk; I was called to my dinner at that time, but stopped to observe him; the alarm of fire might he ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, or twenty minutes after - I cannot speak exactly; I heard no dog bark - I was the first person that went down, and was the first on the premises; I saw the fire first come from the window over the folding doors in the manufactory, and I think there was fire coming from the stable, but am not certain; I saw nothing but smoke when I first saw it, but in the course of a minute or so the flames began to come, and in four or five minutes it was all over the building; it was quite burnt down - all the wood-work was burnt.

Cross-examined. Q. Had you been employed by Mr. Downing, as a carpenter, in the manufactory? A. No; I did not know the prisoner before - it was rather before one o'clock when I saw him talking to a person on the bar - I think it might be after, and it was half an hour or

three-quarters of an hour before I saw him getting over the palings; I dine at any time on Sunday - my window is more than forty feet from Downing's premises - I never measured it.

Q. Do not you think it is one hundred feet from the fence? A. I do not know - it is not a very great way; it is across the road - the lane is on his way towards London; the turning is very close to the premises - he ran from the fence to the lane, which is not a great way; I did not observe anybody else on the King's-road - there were some boys there; there had been some boys up getting some lilac - I cannot say, I saw them looking through the palings - there had been a lot of boys there before, but I did not observe at the time; two o'clock is about the working people's time for dinner - there are not many people walking there at that time; I did not know the other man who was at the bar - I did not take sufficient notice of him.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. You only saw that man once? A. No; I saw the prisoner twice - at the pales and at the bar.

JAMES JACKSON . I live at the White Hart public-house, King's-road, and am a labourer. I know the alley which runs between Colvell's and Davey's nursery-ground from the King's-road to Blackland's-lane; I remember the day of the fire - I was in that alley about two o'clock, and saw somebody in the alley, running fast with the skirts of his coat up under his arm; there are posts at both ends of the alley - I observed him come against the post; to the best of my belief it was the prisoner - I only speak to the best of my belief; he knocked against the post.

Cross-examined. Q. You had no acquaintance with the prisoner, I suppose? A. I knew him by his working near where I live; it was about two o'clock.

JAMES JAMES. I am going on for eleven years old - I have learned to say my prayers; I believe people who tell lies will go to hell fire - I am errand-boy to Mr. Sellers, No. 9, King's-road, a chemist and druggist; I remember the day of the fire - it was on a Sunday; I remember two little girls coming to master's shop the day before the fire - they came for a fire-box; I knew the children - I had seen them in the neighbourhood a great many times before - they had the fire-box; I saw them go out - they went towards Mr. Downing's manufactory; it was between two and three o'clock in the afternoon - I saw those two girls at Queen-square office, and saw Mr. Downing there; I did not show the girls to him - I did not point them out to any body; I knew them to be the two girls who had been to master's the Saturday before.

Cross-examined. Q.What sort of a box was it? A. A long box, with a fire bottle and red matches - not common brimstone matches.

MERCY HILL. I am servant to Mr. Downing, and have been so eight months. I remember the day of the factory being on fire - I was in the kitchen chiefly all the morning; the stable-door is across the yard - the doghouse is by the stable-door; I can always hear the dog bark very distinctly when I am in the kitchen - it did not bark at all on the morning of the fire; I did not hear it.

Cross-examined. Q. How far is the kitchen from the manufactory? A.They are not under one roof - it is just across the garden, which is a very little distance; we have candles lighted at night and fire - we use brimstone matches.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q.Was the kitchen burned? A. No.

WILLIAM GRAHAM . I am in the employ of one of the Mr. Downing's, as groom. I am in the employ of one of the fire; on the Friday before that, I was watering master's garden, and saw the prisoner Butler; he came over from the White Hart public-house, looked at the manufactory, and said, "Graham, you b-r, water away, you b-r, you shall want plenty of water:" I saw no more of him afterwards.

Cross-examined. Q.Where were you? A. Watering master's garden, which may be twenty yards from the manufactory; it was Friday evening; I did not speak to him - I was not examined at Queen-square.

Q. When did you first tell any body of this curious conversation? A. I told my master, Mr. G. Downing, a few days after; it was some time after the prisoner was taken: I knew of his being in custody, and of people being examined - I did not mention this before in consequence of my young master hearing the expression; I did not think it necessary.

Q. Do you mean to say he was in the garden when they were used? He was, by the warehouse door; it was Mr. Charles Downing; he is twenty-two years old - I calculated that he must have heard it as well as me.

Q. And so you thought it unnecessary to say any thing about it; is that it? A. Just the reason: I did not know I was to be examined on this trial till one day last week.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. Was the prisoner taken up on the day the fire happened? A. Yes; he mentioned my name when he used this language - I had known him about twenty months.

WILLIAM RUSSELL . I am the father of Henry William Russell . I remember going with him to the watch-house the morning after the fire; I did not see the prisoner there - I took my son there, but I left him there, and did not see the prisoner.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you go in? A. I took him in, but did not see the prisoner: I did not go into the place - Pool was there.

WILLIAM POOL. I am a constable of St. Luke, Chelsea. I apprehended the prisoner on the day of the fire, about half-past three or four o'clock, in the King's-road -I was in the watch-house when Russell came there; he had given me a description of a person before that: I was present when he saw the prisoner - he knew him, when he came out, to be the man he had seen on the premises on the Sunday; he saw him on Monday morning, before going to Queen-square - the prisoner answered the description given by the boy, and had the same dress on, according to what the boy stated - he said he knew him to be the man he had seen on Mr. Downing's premises. when I apprehended him, I only told him he was my prisoner, and that I had instructions from Mr. Downing to apprehend him; he said "D-n, (or) dall if he did not think so."

Cross-examined. Q.At what time did you take him? A.About half-past three o'clock; it was opposite Mr. Downing's, and also opposite his father's house, which is nearer to London than the manufactory: I had been at the fire - I did not see the prisoner there; it might be

about two hours after it began that I took him; I do not know of his having assisted to put the fire out - Russell saw him in the watch-house; and after he (Russell) came out, he told me positively that was the man.

MR. GEORGE DOWNING . This is a correct plan of the premises, and the lanes and streets adjoining (looking at it); here is Butterfly-alley, Blackland's-lane, and the King's-road - I have made a black mark on the spot where I found the matches, and it is the same place pointed out as where the man got over - this plan was drawn by Mr. Pocock, an architect.

JURY. Q. The matches did not belong to a phosphorus-box? A. No.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q.Matches laying there could not set the manufactory on fire? A. No.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q. What was the value of the premises and property? A. From 12,000l. to 14,000l.

ISAAC RYDE. I saw the man get over the corner, near to Mrs. Moores' garden - it was just at the side of this black mark on the plan.

Cross-examined. Q.Before the matches were found, every body knew where you had seen the man get over? A. No; I was not at Queen-square at the first examination.

Prisoner's Defence. I am perfectly innocent of what the witnesses have stated, and have witnesses to prove it.

WILLIAM BUTLER, JUN. I am the prisoner's brother. Since he has left Messrs. Downing he has entered another kind of life - he has lately entered his Majesty's service, but not joined any regiment; I was in his company on the Saturday before the fire, at my father's, which is nearly opposite Mr. Downing's house. in the King's-road; we were there about six o'clock; I went with him from there to my brother-in-law's - left there about nine o'clock, and went to the Six Bells public-house, King's-road, remained there till about ten, then went to the General Hill public-house, Manor-street, and then to my brother-inlaw's, Samuel Diggens , in Manor-buildings, and supped there - he went with me to all these places; he slept at my brother-in-law's, in Manor-buildings; I saw him about eight or half-past eight o'clock in the morning; my brother-in-law came with him - they went away together in a few minutes; I saw him again about ten o'clock - we all three went into St. James's-park to see the soldiers; we went to Bird-cage-walk, by the old palace, and went with the soldiers to Hyde-park, up Constitution-hill; I left my brother in Hyde-park, about twelve o'clock, and saw him next at my lodgings, about ten minutes past one, at No. 9, Francis-street, Chelsea-common, and he dined with me; I am sure it was about ten minutes, or not more than a quarter-past one o'clock when I saw him there - he remained in the house till past two o'clock; he was not out of my sight all that time; my brother Thomas, my wife, and my sister Mary, were there.

Q. What occasioned him to leave? A. The alarm of fire being given in the street; he got up and went out - he had not parted from me from the time he sat down to dinner till after the alarm was given; my brother Thomas went to the fire with him - I went about twenty minutes or a quarter of an hour after; I saw him there, and was with him several times - he was only looking on at the time I saw him.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. How long were you at your father's on the Saturday? A. About ten minutes or a quarter of an hour - it was in the afternoon; I have two little sisters - I do not recollect whether I saw them there; I saw no phosphorus-box, nor heard of one; I should not suppose my lodgings to be more than three minutes walk from Mr. Downing's - it is a very little distance; Francis-street runs out of Kepple-street - it is a street from Blackland's-lane; the alley leading to it leads to Francis-street; a person wantiag to go from Mr. Downing's to Francis-street, would go down the lane.

Q. If he ran he might effect that in less than two minutes? A. Yes.

Q. I dare say you looked at the clock or watch? A. No, I did not, but my dinner was sent for from the baker's about one o'clock; I make my calculation from the dinner coming, and not from any clock or watch; dinner had not come when he arrived - it was sent for when he came; he was there about ten minutes after one o'clock; dinner is not to be had till after one, when the people come from church - he came before we sent for the dinner; people who send their dinner to be baked dine about one; not about two o'clock; church is over about one - the dinner must he fetched before two; I believe it cannot be had after two o'clock - he did not dine at home that day; he dined with me.

Q. Do not you know that he was waited for? A. He was not waited for at my father's, because my father knew he was dining with me - we had baked beef and potatoes for dinner; they were baked together - I am sure it was beef, but am not quite certain about the vegetables; I believe there were potatoes in the dish - we had beer, and, I believe, rhubarb pudding, but am not certain; that was dressed at home - we had no cheese; when I left him in Hyde-park I did not go home - I went up Oxford-street with my brother-in-law; I left Hyde-park about twelve o'clock - my brother complained of his feet being sore; he could not walk further; we left him just inside Hyde-park-corner gate, at the end of Piccadilly; we then went through the park to Oxford-street, as far as Portman-street, which leads to the barracks - we went with the soldiers to hear the hand.

Q. You did not go to any house? A. Yes; we went to a brother-in-law's, but he was not at home - we did not stay there; we came down Oxford-street again to return home; I suppose I live half an hour's walk from Hydepark-corner - I got home about one o'clock; we did not go as far as the barracks - we did not go out of Oxford-street - my brother-in-law lives in Oxford-street - I do not know the number.

Q. Have you any means of judging that it was about one o'clock when you returned home, except by guess? A. No; my brother wore a light blue coat and black trousers; they were dark, and I think they were black; they were a very different colour from the coat - he had low shoes with two holes on each side of the shoes - I did not observe his stockings, because his trousers came down to his shoes; I was not present when he was taken; I saw him on the premises after four o'clock, I think.

Q. You speak always about time with uncertainty? A. I had no clock; I was with him at the fire at various times - it was after four o'clock or near five when I left

him; he had the same dress on then; I saw no more of him till I saw him in custody: I did not see him again till he was at Queen-square - he had the same dress on then; I am certain that every thing I have stated I am positive of.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. He did not change his dress from the time he was walking with you till he was at Queen-square? A. No; I am positive his trousers were much darker than his coat - his shoes were very bad; he went to my father's and shaved, after we parted with him in the park we had agreed on Saturday to dine together - my eldest sister is about twelve years old I think: I never heard my sister talk of having bought a fire-box - I sent for the dinner immediately, and it came hot - people always hurry to the baker's to get their dinners hot - we sat down to dinner as soon as it came; we sent for it as soon as we thought we could get it; my brother sat down to dine with me.

Q.Could a man go from your place to this manufactory, stay there till he had time to enter the premises, and return in a minute and a half? A.No; it was impossible, and he was not absent at all - I went for the beer; I was not gone more than five minutes; I went to the Marlborough Arms, at the top of the street; I went for it before the meat came, and my wife went for the dinner - I left my brothers, James and Thomas, in the house - when I came back I found them there as I had left them - my wife got back before me.

SAMUEL DICKENS . I am the prisoner's brother-in-law, and live at No. 7, Manor-buildings, Chelsea, which runs into the King's-road, and is not far from my father-in-law's. On the Saturday night before the fire, I was going to Mr. Hancock's, the White Hart public-house, with a truss of hay, and happened to go to the prisoner's father's; he was there; that was between six and seven o'clock, I believe; he came with me to the White Hart, I and his brother William had a pot of ale together - I went to work, and went home, and found them at my house; it was about half-past eight. I think - he slept with me that night at my house, and got up about half-past seven - we both got up within five minutes of each other - he breakfasted with me, a young woman named Jane Mortlock , and my wife - William Butler came just as we had done breakfast; he, I, and the prisoner went out together exactly at ten o'clock, went to his father's, stopped about five minutes, and went straight down the King's-road to Buckingham-gate, up Birdcage-walk, round the Horse-guards to St. James Palace , stopped while the guards were relieved, then came out with the guards, up Constitution-hill, and in Hyde-park he complained of being fired, and persuaded us to go no farther; we left him there - he said he was going to dine with William - I went with William to Oxford-street - when I got back to Chelsea, it might be twenty-five minutes to one, or between that and the half-hour.

Q. Did William go back with you? A. No; we met his brother Thomas and Fulbrook - I and his brother Thomas went one way, he and Fulbrook went to Frances-street; I saw James again directly I got home, about half-past twelve o'clock - he was at his father's - I stopped with him a minute or two till the silent drums heat at the Duke of York's Asylum, which is about one o'clock - I then left, and the next time I saw him was after the fire broke out; I saw him two or three times, and was with him about three o'clock, when he was sitting on the wall in front of his father's house - I saw him taken into custody - I think that was about five or six o'clock; I had dined at my own father's.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q. At what time did you leave him at Hyde-park-corner, when he complained of his feet? A. I should think about ten minutes to twelve o'clock perhaps - I got home about half-past twelve - I had walked to Oxford-street, and back to Chelsea; I am not positive as to what time I left him in the Park; I had learned he was to dine with William; I do not know that I heard William invite him - I do not know that the clock had struck one when I left him at his father's, but the drums had done beating; I did not go to my brother William's after that.

Q. Where did you go to in Oxford-street? A. We might have gone about one hundred yards down Oxford-street; as he had gone back, we thought we would go back too, and I had to clean myself - we went into no public-house in Oxford-street, nor to any house; we did not knock at any door in Oxford-street - I am sure of that.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q.Are you quite sure that none of your brothers knocked at a door in Oxford-street? A. No; William walked back with me all the way to Chelsea.

COURT. Q.William was with you in Oxford-street - you were side by side, I suppose? A. We might be parted by the crowd; there was a great crowd - I might lose sight of him.

Q. How did you find each other, then? A. We knew the road, and had agreed to go back together throught the Park - we were out of sight.

Q. How did you know when to return? A. I do not exactly know; I did not knock at any door, nor stop at any house, that I remember - the prisoner has a sister married to a young man who lives in Oxford-street - I believe at a poulterer's; I understand so, but he sleeps at home - I have been at his house; it is in Oxford-street, a few doors from North Audley-street - it is a good way down beyond Portman-street; we did not go down Portman-street with the soldiers - I do not know that we turned back; we might have gone further down Oxford-street - we did go further; I do not know why I believe we did go further.

Q. Well, the crowd would follow the soldiers; your brother and you were then alone? A. There is generally a crowd in that street; I know we went back through the Park - I remember we went into Oxford-street with the hand; we might have gone lower down than Portman-street, but I cannot remember whether we did or not; I think my brother-in-law lives by North Audley-street - it is at the end of the coach-stand; I know the house, but do not know what street I go by - I do not know whether my brother called there; I know I went to no house in Oxford-street.

MARY BUTLER. I am the wife of William Butler . The prisoner dined at our house the day before the floor-cloth manufactory was burnt - I first saw him between eight and nine o'clock in the morning; he then left our house in company with Dickens - I saw him again at our house from ten minutes to a quarter-past one; he came

to dine with us - I went to fetch the meat from the bake-house about ten minutes or a quarter past one o'clock; it might be twenty minutes past one when I returned - I left him in the house, and found him there when I returned: I was gone five, six, or eight minutes - we had roast beef, rhubarb pudding, and potatoes; Thomas, and his brother and sister Mary, dined with us; she is a little girl, and has been away from home some time.

Q. Do you know at what time James left you? A. Yes; there came a knock at the door - there was a good many people in the street; when I came down I asked what was the matter, and they said there was a fire in Whiting's-grove - I asked a person who was running where it was; he said it was Mr. Downing's manufactory - I stood a few minutes before I went in, and then went in and told my husband and James there was a fire; Thomas and James both went to the premises, leaving my husband at home for some minutes - then he put on his clean things, and went also: I and the little girl followed them - I did not see James there; he had not been out of my sight from the time he came, except when I went to the baker's.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. Had you any watch? A. Yes, my husband has a watch.

Q. He looked at it, did he? A. Yes; it hung up in the room we were in - I do not know that he looked at it; it was there for him to see: my husband had finished dinner, and was cleaning himself when I told him of the fire - he had been out walking in the morning, but was not clean; he was going out to tea in the afternoon - the little girl dined with us; we did not wait for the prisoner to come to dinner - he was there before I went for the dinner; I had not to wait for the dinner - there was very few people there when I got it; it was Sacrament Sunday: it depends on the number of people who stop the Sacrament - as to what time it is over - I suppose the usual time is a quarter past one o'clock - the service is over about one, I believe; I have not stopped the Sacrament since I have been at Chelsea; we did not wait at all for the prisoner to come to dinner - I had my dinner ten minutes or a quarter of an hour before my landlady; people about there generally get their dinner between one and two o'clock; we finished ours, I suppose, five or ten minutes after two; it takes us a quarter of an hour to dine in the general way - sometimes longer and sometimes shorter.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Were you longer at dinner that day, or did you get it in a quarter of an hour? A. We were longer, I am sure; the time I went to the baker's was about twenty minutes past one o'clock, and I waited there about ten minutes - I was told it was Sacrament Sunday; the watch is called my husband's - it hangs up.

THOMAS BUTLER. I am the prisoner's brother. I was with him first when he came to my brother's to dinner; it was about ten minutes past one o'clock - he dined there, and went out about a quarter-past two, on an alarm of fire being given; I was in the room all the time with him - he did not go out till then.

MR. PHILLIPS. Q. Did you go out with him? A. Yes; I had not heard him complain of any illness, or any thing to prevent his walking - he was dressed in a blue coat and black velvet collar, a sort of dark black mixture trousers, and black hat and shoes; I did not see his shoes particularly - they were almost worn out; the soles were a little worn: we had ale to drink after dinner; just as we had done dinner, the alarm of fire was given.

Q. All of you were sitting comfortably round the table when the alarm was given? A. Yes; my brother William, my sister Mary, my youngest sister, and the prisoner and I were round the table - William was shaving himself at the time the alarm was given; he had got up.

Q. Did you not swear he was sitting at the table when the alarm of fire was given? A. Yes; he got up to shave, and was talking about cleaning himself just as the alarm was given; he was sitting at table at the time the alarm was given - I am certain of that; and then he got up; dinner was over about a quarter-past two o'clock.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. William got up to clean himself - before that he had been sitting at the table with you all? A. Yes; my eldest sister Mary came in and said there was a fire, and then we went out: the soles of my brother's shoes were very bad when I saw them.

MARY BUTLER , JUN. I go to church, and believe in God people who tell untruths when they swear will go to a wicked place. (Sworn.) I am the prisoner's sister; I have now come from my father's house - I went there on Monday evening; I have not been at home since my brother has been in prison till then; I have been at the Chelsea National School; while there, I saw my sister and brother when I was up at the window, but not so as to speak to them: I know Mr. Sellers' chemist's shop in the King's-road; I have bought cream of tartar there for ginger-beer for my father - I have been there many times; I never bought a fire-box, or any thing of the kind there or any where else: I remember the Sunday the floor-cloth manufactory was burnt - I went no where for a fire-box on the Friday before that; I am sure of that - I was not at Sellers' that day, nor on the Saturday; my little sister is six years old - she and I were not there on the Saturday- I dined at my brother William's on the day of the fire; my brother James was there; I do not know at what time I went; James was not out of the room from the time he came in till he left.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. You did not go any where with your younger sister on the Saturday before the fire? A. No, I am sure of that: Mrs. Perry is mistress of the school- I have not told her that I did so, nor has my sister, in my presence; I know that boy (James) by sight.

JAMES JAMES. She is the girl I saw on Saturday

Q. To MARY BUTLER . Now recollect you are on your oath; were you not there? A. No, Sir; I never heard my little sister tell mistress, nor did I tell her I was sent there for a box for my brother - I am quite sure of it.

Q. Did you wait dinner for your brother on Sunday? A. Yes.

Q. For your brother James? A. Yes; we did not wait long - he came in just after.

Q. Just after what - after the dinner had come home? A. No, when I went in; I did not understand what you meant - we should not have had dinner sooner if he had come sooner: I was at chapel that day, and came out at one o'clock; the chapel is in Sloane-street; it would take me

about five minutes to walk from there to my brother-in-law's.

Q. Now, have you said to your school-mistress that you waited some time for your brother? A. No, I never heard my little sister say so - I never told my sister so.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q.Your chapel is over about one o'clock? A. Yes, or a little before; it would take me five minutes to go to my father's - it is a very short distance; I went home from chapel, and from there to my brother-in-law's, and got there a little before my brother; I lost no time in going to my father, and from there to my brother's.

Q. When you got there was dinner ready, or did your sister go and fetch it? A. My sister went and fetched it.

MR. BRODRICK called -

ELIZA PERRY. I am temporary mistress of the Chelsea National School - the last witness and her little sister were under my care: Mary Butler told me they waited dinner for her brother ten minutes at the brother-in-law's; her little sister told me, in her presence, that she bought a box of Mr. Sellers - she did not say a phosphorus-box; Mary said."You tell a story, Bessey, it was not me that was with you;" I then said, "Was there any other little girl who was in the habit of going of errands with her?" she then named some - I turned round to Betsey, and said,"Was your father in the habit of sending that girl with you on errands?" -

Q.Without giving the particulars, did Bessey say any thing, in the presence of Mary, about the box? A. She said it was Mary that went with her for a box, and that Mr. Sellers gave it into the hands of the little one.

MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. The sister told her it was a story? A. Yes; they were put under my care at the office; the Magistrate turned round to the father, and asked if he had any objection to put them under my care - he said No; Mr. Downing is not a subscriber to the school to my knowledge - I have been there about seven weeks; I never understood the father was not to see the children - I understood the family were not; I really do not know that I had instructions about it, but seemingly the children were put under my care.

Q. They were not to be seen? A. No, but many of the family did see them - I took them three times regularly to church, and they might have seen them in the street; they could not speak to them alone - they had been with me perhaps a fortnight or a week when I had this conversation; I told my husband of it the first thing.

Q.What time they had dinner, or what time he came in, she did not say? A. I never asked her any question but that once, and that was in consequence of the girl crying.

Q. When did you first hear you were to be a witness to contradict the child? A.When the children were given up to their father it was stated to me by Mr. Downing that it would be necessary for me to come here, simply to say the children were used well; I think that was yesterday, or the day before - I do not know that Mr. Downing knew of this conversation.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. The children were given up to the father this week? A. Yes, on Monday; I have not spoken to them since.

JURY to JAMES JAMES. Q. Who served the little girl with the box? A. I went and fetched them from a neighbour, as master had none in the house; the girls remained in the shop at the time - I gave the box into the girl's hand at first, and master took it out of her hand and wrapped it in paper for her; he is here.

JOHN SELLERS. I am a chemist; James is in my service. I recollect an application being made by two girls for the fire-box perfectly well; it was as near as I can recollect, between two and three o'clock in the afternoon - I had none by me, desired them to wait, and sent James out for two; they only asked for one - the girls stood in the shop during his absence; he went to a shop about twenty yards off, returned with two boxes, and handed one to the eldest girl - they paid for it before they left with 6d. in halfpence; the boy was gone about ten minutes - I continued in the shop writing at my desk all the time; I did not know the girls before - I have seen the two girls repeatedly since, but cannot positively say they are the girls; the witness answers exactly in size, and to the best of my recollection in age, to the eldest - she had on, at the time, a white shawl, but I cannot speak positively to her.

GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 20.

Before Mr. Justice Littledale.

View as XML