16th June 1856
Reference Numbert18560616-648
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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648. WILLIAM BAILEY, WILLIAM MIDDLETON , and JOHN FRY , stealing 20 bundles of whale fins; the goods of Francis Hammond and another, their masters.—2nd COUNT, stealing 1 ton weight of saltpeter, and 10 bags; the goods of their said masters.

MR. COOPER conducted the Prosecution.

WILLIAM HALFORD KING . I am an officer of Her Majesty's Customs. On 31st May I was at the East India Docks, and tattled some whalebone from the ship called the G. B. Lamar into the lighter Rhadius—there was an entry in the day book, but I have an independent recollection without looking at it—there were from sixty-three to sixty-seven bundles of whale

fins at one end of the barge, and the remainder at the other end—Middleton assisted me in the loading; and when I put those bundles into one end Middleton covered them over with a tarpaulin, the barge was swung round, and then the remainder were put into the other end—there were ninety-five bundles altogether—this whalebone (produced) is similar to it—it has a peculiar mark on it, A in a diamond—it was cleared out about 4 or 5 o'clock—lighters are not always swung round; there was room at the end we began at, to have put all the rest of the whalebone.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. When you tally goods, do you make an entry? A. Yes, in an official book—tallying is counting them as they go out of the vessel into the lighter—on the same day I tallied several hundred barrels of flour and boxes of bacon, and other goods—I cannot say how many barrels of flour, but I recollect those goods without looking at the book, by the small quantity—I have an independent recollection without the book.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH. Q. Had some other goods been put into the barge before the whalebone was put in? A. Yes—those goods were stowed in the middle of the barge—swinging a barge round depends upon whether there were many goods in it when the loading commenced—the whalebone might have been all put at one end of the barge—I did not load it, or assist in loading it—there was another barge loaded at the same time as the Rhodius, on each side of her; she might have been swung round in consequence of that, but they could all have been put in one end if required.

WILLIAM JOHNSON HAZLEHURST . I an officer of Her Majesty's Customs. On 30th and 31st May I was in the East India Docks, tallying from the Gloriana into the Edith—I saw Fry on board, but I cannot swear to Bailey—498 bags of saltpetre were unloaded into the Edith three of them were marked LNC/L and some LLC/W and M in a diamond—I have since seen bags marked LLC/W this bag of saltpetre (produced) is one of them.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. Did you make an entry of the bag of saltpetre? A. Yes, in a book—I have not got it here—I have an independent recollection of the number of bags—it was 208 on 30th, and 290 on 31st—I tallied a great many other articles that day, but cannot recollect all of them—this was called to my attention, and I recollected it then without looking at the book.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. Did you know Fry before? A. No—I cannot say how many men were on the Edith—I have never looked at my book since I delivered the saltpetre—I also landed some rape seed that day, but cannot recollect how many bags—I do not know whether I told the inspector that I delivered 208 bags, and on the Saturday 209—I looked at my book on the day the inspector came, to see what I really had delivered—I had a slight recollection without looking at the book, but I would not swear to the quantity—there is nothing uncommon about the bags except the letters—I swear that I can recollect all the letters without looking at my books.

FRANCIS HAMMOND . I am in partnership with Mr. Middlemist as lightermen, at No. 82, Lower Thames-street. On 31st May, the prisoners were in our employment, and I gave Middleton orders to load ninety-eight bundles of whalebone out of the G. B. Lamar, from New York, into the Rhodius—the after part of the barge was then vacant, she was loaded forwards with a lot of cassia, which was covered with tarpaulin—I told him

afterwards, about 12 o'clock, to go on board the Gloriana and put the 100 bags of saltpetre on the whalebone, so as to secure it—Bailey was loading saltpetre into the Gloriana and Edith—some seeds were to be taken in out of another ship—I left at that time and returned about 4 o'clock—on the same day I went to the Rhodius and found it alongside the Lamar; my orders had not been complied with, and I scolded him for not loading the saltpetre as I had desired, and had the barge placed alongside the Edith, and the four of us turned out about fifty bags of seeds from the Edith and placed them on top of the whalebone in the Rhodius, the whalebone was then covered completely—there was nothing but cassia in the front part—that had been loaded the day before from the Monarch—we covered up the barges with a cloth, and I said, "I think the whalebone is perfectly secure, and if any one attempts to get at it they will have some difficulty to get at it"—I then gave them orders to come up with the barge to Butler's wharf, and they ought to have left that night, Saturday, about 9 o'clock, they would then have arrived at Butler's wharf about 12 o'clock—another barge of ours, the Pison, came to Butler's wharf with the return tide, and we had other vessels there, I should say—I told Middleton and Bailey that they would have no excuse to leave the craft, and I sent Fry up to get their money and bring it down—at that time a man named Hemmings had a barge called The Friends, belonging to us, to bring up—on Monday, 2nd June, I was at Black wall about 12 o'clock, and saw Fry going with the Pison; Bailey was loading the saltpetre in the Pison—I asked Bailey, about 4 o'clock, where Fry was—he said that he 'had just gone ashore—I first heard of the loss of the whalebone about 2 or 3 o'clock that afternoon—I asked Bailey how it was that he did not save the tide at Butler's wharf on Saturday night—he said that he did not get out till the second lock—(when they come out of the locks a lot of craft comes out with them)—he said that they all three went, and Bailey add Fry went to London to bring the Pison down—I asked him why they did that, he said, "Because we did not want to work all day on Sunday"—I first heard of the loss of the saltpetre from the Edith on the Thursday—there was about a ton of whalebone missing, it is worth 351l. per ton, and the saltpetre about 40l.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. Was Bailey the person in charge of the Edith?" A. Yes, it sometimes happens that vessels miss the tide by not getting out at the first lock if they are not in turn—when that happens they ought to get as far as they can, to make sure of getting up the next tide—the Pison was in London—on the Monday I saw Bailey loading the Pison in the East India Docks, she had been brought down.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH Q. You said that Bailey said that Fry had gone up to London for the Pison, did not he say that they had all gone up to London for the Prisoner? A. No, Bailey and Fry—I gave my evidence before the Magistrate—I do not think Bailey's answer was, "We all left our craft and went up to Butler's wharf to bring the Pison down, "he said that Bailey and Fry went up to London, but that they all left their craft—Middleton had no business to go to Butler's wharf—I went on board the Rhodius after she had been loaded, and saw the whalebone, and I saw whalebone in the barge—I do not know whether the whalebone was cleared till after 4 o'clock, but he said when I returned, "It has only just been cleared out"—I sent a person named Wells to assist in getting in the whalebone—he is not here, but I can get him if you want him.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. From which vessel did the cassia come? A. From the Monarch—these vessels were all unloading at the same

time—we were the lightermen employed for all three jobs, and were un-loading The Friends, the Rhodius, and the Edith at the same time—we hid two men to one lighter, one to another, and Wells was there—we had three men to three lighters—The Friends was loaded with staves, which she throw over, there was no man to that—when we send three men with one lighter, the command is not given to one in particular, they are equal—I think then were other goods besides saltpetre in the Gloriana—I only gave verbal orders for the 100 bags from the Gloriana.

MK. COOPER . Q. Was there room for twenty bags more of saltpetre when you saw the barge? A. 100 or 150 bags more—I thought all the whalebone was in the steerage part, there was room for 300 or 400 bundles in the after part.

HENRY EDWARD SHEELET . I am in the service of the East India Dock Company—on 31st May two lighters, the Rhodius and the Edith, went out of the first lock about 9 o'clock, not later than that—the tide flowed that night at the docks at 5 minutes to 12 o'clock—this (produced) is an entry made by me at the time—the Pison came in on Sunday night at 30 minutes after 12 o'clock—Fry and Middleton were on board the lighters when I let them out, but I did not observe Bailey—another vessel called The Friend went out at the same time.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. What are you? A. Clerk at the dock master's office—I am the only clerk—it is my business to see the number of vessels that go out of the docks—I made this entry first on a slate, and I copied it into the book before high water—a great many more barges went out—the numbers will tell that they went out at the first lock, they are 2, 4, and 5, and these passes (produced) will tell—these are tickets given to me before I let them through—we number them and keep them—here is "2" on this, that is, 2nd barge, first lock; this, No. 4, is 4th barge, first lock—I am certain they were not in the second lock, because as they go out they are numbered—I think eight barges went in the first lock, I cannot say how many in the second, but if they had been in the second they would have been higher numbers—we do not number every lock, the second lock would begin where we left off with the first—I put these figures on—barges sometimes get foul when they have got out.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. Do you notice the parties who have charge of the goods? A. No; there is no entry of the person in charge—I speak distinctly to Fry, because I have known him many years—we only enter the craft's name and the lighterman's name—Fry went oat in the Edith—I cannot say who was in the Rhodium—a man named Joyce was in the Sir Robert Peel, which went out loaded with saltpetre—the Favorite was likewise loaded with saltpetre.

SAMUEL HEMMINGS . I am a lighterman—I was in the prosecutor's service in May—on 31st May I was in a punt, the Poet, at the entrance to the East India Docks about 9 o'clock, and saw the three prisoners—I left to go home, and lift them on the pier head at Blackwall—I returned about 1 o'clock on Sunday morning, they were not there then, and instead of going into my barge, I went into Winton's barge, and went to sleep—I was awoke by the prisoners between 4 and 5 o'clock—I said, "Where are you from now I" they said, "From London, we brought one down," or something like that—we all went and had some coffee together, and about eight o'clock that morning, Sunday, we started in our several barges up to London, Middleton in charge of the Rhodius, Fry and Bailey in the Edits, and I in The Friends—we came by the tide up to London—Middleton went up alongside of me

all the way to Shadwell—I stopped at Wapping, and they proceeded on towards Butler's wharf.

GEORGE VENUS . I am watchman in the service of Middlemist and Hammond, and watch at Butler's wharf—I was there on Saturday night, 21st May, from 9 o'clock till Sunday afternoon—no barge or lighter left Butler's wharf during that time till 3 o'clock on Sunday afternoon, when the Pison left—the Rhodius and the Edith came up on Sunday about 11 or 12 o'clock, Fry and Bailey were in the Edith—I kept watch over the vessels—I heard nothing amiss till Monday morning—the two lighters were lying up at Butler's wharf—they were grounded about three o'clock, and then I left and came back rather before half-past 9, and waited till they were grounded again—they appeared to me on Monday morning in the game state—I first heard of the missing the whale-fins about middle day.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. Did the Pison leave Butler's wharf on Saturday? A. No, on Sunday afternoon—it left to go to the East India Docks—Fry and Bailey took it—the Rhodius and the Edith arrived at the wharf between 11 and 12 o'clock—it was not high water, but there was enough to float them, and they were aground about an hour and a half after high water—when aground, people could get at them by getting up to their knees in mud, or with a boat when they are afloat—there are what are called mud-larks in the river—I did not take out any saltpetre or any whalebone—I was away four hours, but there was the watchman on the wharf, walking about—that is not the watchman of Mr. Middlemist—Bailey brought his barge: it appeared to be all right—I did not examine it closely—when I came back at half past 9, I did not examine it.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. What time does it take to come from Black wall to Butler's wharf? A. According to the tide, it took them two hours and better on Saturday night—that is, provided there is no obstruction—that was a full tide—they cannot start till nearly high water—the tide turned at past 12 'o'clock in the day—I am there all the time the barge are afloat.

MR. COOPER. Q. You are on them when they are afloat? A. Yes, and when they are aground I leave them—there is a watchman belonging to Butler's wharf besides.

JOHN POPE . I am a labourer at Butler's wharf, and usually act as tallyman there. On 2nd June I tallied the whalebone from the lighter Rhodius—I have a copy of the entry in my pocket (produced)—this is copied from oar book on to this sheet—these papers (produced) are not in my writing—Davis, the foreman of the wharf, was not with me at the time they were tallied—there were seventy-eight bundles of whalebone—on 4th June I tallied 487 bags of saltpetre from the Edith.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. What day did you tally from the Edith? A. On Thursday—I had to tally all that day, but do not remember how many bags I tallied from other barges—I could find out if I looked at the book—I have the account of the saltpetre in my pocket—I have not looked at the accounts since the day I tallied them—I was questioned on the same day by my employers as to how many I had tallied, and told them then—I gave my paper in, and that was tantamount to an answer—I went before the Magistrate, and was asked the number—I was able to tell it without looking at my papers, but I brought the papers with me to the Court—that was merely as a proof—no one desired me to bring them, and I did not look at them—the saltpetre is the only article that I can recollect—this is the copy (produced)—one assisted me in tallying.

WILLIAM THOMAS BRYDGES (Thames police inspector) On Tuesday, 3rd June, about 2 o'clock, I went with Mr. Hammond to Butler's wharf—I had heard of the loss of the whalebone and saltpetre—I saw Bailey there, and Mr. Hammond asked him where Fry was—he said that he had been taken out of the barge by the police—I said to him, "You were with Pry and Middleton on Saturday night at the East India Docks;" he said, "Yes; Fry and I left the docks at 11 o'clock, and left Middleton and Hemmins there; we came up to London, and expected that Middleton and Hemmins would have followed us to London, but they did not do so"—I asked him when he saw them again—he said, "Not till the following day"—I said, "You know more about it"—I noticed that he was nearly crying—he said, "Yes, I can tell you more; but this is not the proper place"—I said, "Why not?"—he said, "I have told so many lies already about it, that if I tell you the truth, you will not believe me"—we then went to the station, where I saw Fry in custody—I said, "Fry, you are in custody, and you have no occasion to answer the questions unless you please that I am going to pat to you"—I then asked him if he employed any man that morning to bring Stotherd's Rover punt, from Victoria Docks to Wapping—he said, "No, I did not"—Fry was once in the police, in the same division as I am—on the Wednesday morning I went with Petit to a stable yard in Whitecross street—I left Petit outside, went into the yard, and, in a stable which he had described, found 20 bundles of whale fins, one of which I produce, ten bags of saltpetre, and one tarpaulin, marked with Hammond and Middlemist's names, and which was identified at the station—I saw Stotherd's Rover punt, on Tuesday morning at Gardner's wharf—Maule pointed it out—it was about a mile from the entrance of the East India Docks—I have been engaged on wharves all my life—it was a very good tide on the Saturday night, to get from the East India Docks to Butler's wharf.

JOSEPH TRICKERY (Thames police inspector). On 2nd June, in the evening, I went to the house of Middlemist and Co., and saw Middleton (I have not been examined before a Magistrate)—I asked him at what time he got out of the East India Docks with the barge Rhodius on Saturday night—he said that he came out with the first lock—I asked him what time that was—he said 10 o'clock, as near as he knew—I asked him what he had done with the barge, that he did not come along—he said that the tide was so sluggish, he could not get up, and he made the barge fast to the dummy outside the East India Docks entrance, and they all went and got some refreshment—I said, You say, 'We all went;' who was with you?"—he said, "Fry, Bailey, and Hemmings"—I asked him at what time he returned to the barge—he said that he thought he was away about an hour and a half, it was getting on for 12 o'clock when he came back, and he then went into the cabin and turned in.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. Were you out on that Saturday night? A. Yes—the wind blew from the north and it was raining; that would not have retarded the vessel, it would have helped it up as far as Greenwich—when they turned Greenwich point it would be against them.

CATHERINE STOTHERD . I am the wife of Henry Richard Stotherd, a master lighterman, of No. 115, High-street, Wapping. He lets out punts and barges—on Saturday night, 31st May, at twenty minutes or half past 11 o'clock, a short man and a tall one came—Fry is about the height and because of one of them—I told them that Mr. Stotherd was not at home, but that I could give them a key—I offered them two keys, they said that one would do—they said something about Sill Thomas, and that the craft was for Mr. Middllemist,

whom I knew—they took the Rover punt away, with them, and said that they would see Mr. Stotherd on the following morning.

ANDREW WALKER . I am a lighterman in the employ of Mr. Thompson of Wapping. On Sunday morning, 1st June, about 9 o'clock, I saw the Rover punt at the entrance to Bow-creek, she was covered over with tarpaulin and there were two men in her—it would take about a quarter of an hour, on the ebb tide, to get there from the East India Docks—there are no sails to these vessels.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. Were you close to them? A. Yes, in another barge—I had a good opportunity of seeing them.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH. Q. From the East India Docks to Greenwich-reach or Blackwall-reach, is about one-fifth the distance to Butler's wharf, is it not? A. Yes.

MR. COOPER. Q. The East India Dock is at Blackwall-reach? A. Yes, COURT. Q. Did you see the men who were in the punt? A. Yes, it was not the prisoners.

LEONARD BARGNALL . I am watchman to the Eastern 'Counties Railway Company, at Bow-creek. On Monday, 2nd June, I saw Fry there about five minutes to 6 o'clock—it would take about ten minutes to walk from there to Gardner's wharf—I sung out, "Halloo, Jack"—he crossed over the road and spoke to another man who was sitting on the iron railing—the man said, "You have been a long while coming, Jack"—about five minutes before I saw Fry, I saw a van coming up the road in a direction from Gardner's wharf, containing whalebone and something in gunny bags.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. What hours do you keep? A. From 6 o'clock in the morning to 6 o'clock at night—I am on duty about A stone's throw from the East India Docks—I can go from the end of our wharf close to it—a bridge comes across Bow-creek—this was on Monday evening—when I saw Fry, I was at the East India Dock, just walking up the Barking-road—the man who was sitting on the railings was about twenty yards from me—I have been on terms of intimacy with Fry—I always spoke to him when we met and he always stopped and spoke to me.

GEORGE GARDNER . I reside at Grove-street, Poplar. Gardner's wharf is mine—on Sunday night, 1st June, I was there and saw the Rover punt—I went into her and saw some whalebone peeping out underneath the tarpaulin.

HENRY MAULE . I am a labourer, working at Mr. Gardner's wharf On Monday, 2nd June, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I saw the Rover punt unloading there, and assisted in carrying some whalebone from, it, similar to this produced, to a van—there were ten bags similar to these, and I saw a tarpaulin there—there were five men but I cannot recognise them.

Cross-examined by MR. RIBTON. Q. You were very close to them? A. Yes, and had a full opportunity of seeing them.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. Had you known either of the prisoners before. A. No, I do not recollect them.

GEORGE PETTIT . I am a carman in the employ of Charles dare, of Swan-street, Minories. On Sunday afternoon, 2nd June, about half past 3 o'clock, a person came to my master's to hire a van—I went with him in it to Lernan-street, Whitechapel; he then left me, and two other men got into the cart, and drove with me to the George in the Commercial-road, where another man got in—we then went to the East India Road, and met two more men—fry was one of them and the other I did not know—we went

down to Bow creek and stayed there about half an hour—Fry remained with me—I was told by some of them to bring the van on to the load—I took it to the stone-yard, and it was loaded with twenty bundles of whalebone and ten bags of saltpetre—Fry went into the barge, I could not see what lie did—after the van was loaded, I drove it up the road to a stable-yard in Whitecross-street—I afterwards saw inspector Brydges there.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. How long have you been it work for Mr. Clare? A. About a month this last time—I worked all the winter at the Commercial Gas Works as a carman—I speak to Fry, I do not know the other men—they were not there—Fry wore a cap and a dark jacket—I was stopping at the public-house, and he remained with me—I had not known him before—I got home about 7 o'clock—we got to Bow-creek about half-past 4, or rather more, and we left about half-past 5—I am sure it was not half-past 6, because we got to Limehouse Church about I 5, or a few minutes before, and that is about a mile—there was one hone in the van—the goods weighed close upon 2 tons—we went at a slow pace, only walking—we stopped and had a pint of ale, but not before we got to the Church—we left Fry behind us and never saw any more of him.

HENRY FORROW . I am a lighterman, living at No. 4, Wharf-plan, Canning-town. On Tuesday, 3rd June, I was on the pier in the neighbour-hood of the East India Docks, from 9 o'clock till about half-past—Fry, who I knew before, came out of a barge which was lying alongside the per loaded—he asked me if I had got anything to do, and I told him "No"—he asked me if I would go and fetch the punt' Rover, and take it to Mr. Stotherd's road, at Wapping—he said that the key was up her head—I was to have 5s., but from what afterwards came to my knowledge, I did not take it.

Cross-examined by MR. THOMPSON. Q. Were you in work at the time? A. No; I had nothing to do—I have been on job work for Mr. Mare for two years, when he has anything to do—I first heard of this robbery on Tuesday, the 3rd, when I was on the steam-boat which was to take me to the Victoria Dock—there is a landing-place there; there is one on the north side of the river, it is recently opened—I landed on the lighter, alongside the Victoria Dock, but the punt was not there—I started by the steam-boat about 5 or 10 minutes after the conversation, which was on Brunswick Pier, Blackwall—I went directly, and did not find the punt.

MR. RIBTON to SAMUEL HEMMINGS. Q. Is the dummy where they moor I barges at Blackwall, outside the East India Dock, dose to Blackwall Reach! A. Yes; it is one end of Blackwall Reach.

COURT to GEORGE VENUS. Q. When did the Prisoner leave Butler's wharf? A. At 3 o'clock, or just before, or Sunday afternoon—I am quite sure it was on Sunday; Bailey's employer took her away—I saw the Rhodius after she was loaded with whalebone and covered up with tarpaulin, on the Saturday, and I saw her again on the Monday morning; the cargo then appeared to me just as I had left it—I saw her when she came up to Butler's wharf on Sunday morning.

COURT to FRANCIS HAMMOND. Q. Have you examined the whalebone and the bags? A. Yes; it is our property; it was entrusted to our charge, and the saltpetre also: they have both the same mark.

(Bailey received a good character.)


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