Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 02 July 2022), August 1724, trial of Charles Harrison (t17240812-50).

Charles Harrison, Killing > murder, 12th August 1724.

Charles Harrison , Esq ; of the Parish of St. Paul Covent-Garden , was indicted for the Murther of Mr. Alexander Agnew , by giving him one mortal Wound with a Sword, of the Length of one Inch, and the Depth of Six Inches, on the right part of his Breast, the 4th of this Instant August , of which Wound he immediately died . He was also indicted a Second Time on the Coroner's Inquest. And also a Third Time, upon the Statute of Stabbing.

John Adams depos'd, That Major Harrison and Captain Agnew came to the Lubeck's Head in Maiden Lane , about 11 a Clock at Night, and called for a Bottle of Burgundy, that he carried it, and filled out a Glass, that they afterwards asked for his Master, and his Master went up, and brought down that Bottle of Burgundy, and carried up a Bottle of French Wine, that he afterwards heard the Bell ring in the Lion, and went up, and the Gentlemen wanted some Snuff, that he sent the Porter for it, and carried it up, that they also called for another Bottle, which was carried up, and they were talking together very friendly, and disputing on some Argument, but he knew not about what, that Capt. Agnew went to the Window, and Major Harrison went to him and laid his Arm over him very friendly, that near one a Clock he heard in that Room, the Noise of stamping of Feet like 2 Men parrying and pushing at one another, that he immediately ran up, and before he got up Stairs, the Bell rung, and when he went to the Room, he met the Major coming towards the Door, with two Swords drawn in his Hand, and taking him by the Collar, he led him to Capt. Agnew, who was sitting in a Chair in the Room, bleeding, that he said to him, Dear Sir, did you not draw your Sword first? And Capt. Agnew answered, he did, and the Major bid him this Evidence take Notice; that one of the Swords was bloody, which he thinks was the Major's, it was a mourning Sword, and the Major's Clothes were light coloured trimm'd with black; that he carried down the Swords, informed his Master, and ran away for the Surgeon, who when he came, dressed his Wound, and afterwards laid him on the Table, and the Surgeon bidding him get a Chair, he fetch'd one, and they carried him down Stairs, and he and another went on each side of the Chair, holding a Napkin before him to keep him from falling or rocking, but before they came to his Lodgings in Hemming's Row, he was dead.

Edward Thorp depos'd, that he being a-sleep behind the Bar, all being in Bed, but one Drawer, the Porter, and himself, about one a Clock in the Morning the Drawer brought down two Swords, telling him, one of the Gentlemen was wounded, and that he immediately ran up Stairs, and saw the Deceased sitting on the Ground stooping, that they listed him up, and sat him on a Chair, and the Drawer ran away for a Surgeon, that he called a Coachman and sent him up; that when the Deceased was taken off the Ground he sighed and groaned very much.

Joseph Thorp depos'd, that the Major and Capt. Agnew came to his House, he being then at the Bar, and desired to have a Bottle of Burgundy, which they had; but afterwards would have Claret, which he carried up to them, that they seemed to be very friendly. That be went to Bed, and was called up, about a Quarter past one a Clock, but did not see the Deceased till Mr. Small the Surgeon came to dress him.

Thomas Stonystreet , an Apothecary's Apprentice depos'd, That he was present while Mr. Small the Surgeon dress'd the Deceased, that when he came in, the Deceased was sitting in a Chair, that Major Harrison ask'd the Captain, if he himself (the Captain) was not the Aggressor, and he answered he was.

Mr. Stone depos'd, that he being Beedle, was all'd, and when he went, the Deceased was laid on the Table, and the Major said to him, Sir, it was your own seeking, and I am sorry for it.

Mr. Carter the Constable said, he also being call'd, went, and the Captain was lying on the Table, and after some time stirred his Hand, and raised himself, and sat up, and the Major said to him, Sir, you have already said it to the Drawer, say before the Constable, did you not draw your 8 word upon me, and Capt. Agnew reply'd, I did draw my Sword first. This was the third time he had owned it, and at that time said, is there no Body to attend me, no Body to help me, and the Apothecary's Man wiped the Spittle from his Mouth, he being too weak and saint to discharge it.

Mr. Small the Surgeon depos'd, he dressed the Deceased, that the Wound was half an Inch broad, and an Inch and a half backwards near the right Pap, and that Major Harrison desired him to take Care of him, and also ask'd the Deceased, if himself had not been the Cause of this, and he answered, ay, ay.

The Major in his Defence pleaded, that this unfortunate Accident had brought upon him a great deal of Grief and Concern, that the Deceased and himself were Brother Officers in the Garrison of Dunkirk, in the Year 1710. and both of them having an Inclination for Books, it had occasioned their contracting an intimate Acquaintance, which had been continued with the strictest Friendship ever since, that the Day the Accident happened, they had been together, and walking in Lincolns Inn, they bespoke a Rabbet, &c. for Supper, and having supped, were together till about 11 a-Clock, and going thro' Covent Garden heard there was a Fire, and not being willing to go home till they were satisfied how and where it was, they went to the Lubeck's Head, as had been before depos'd, that at the latter end of the first Flask, being in Discourse, the Deceased was drawing Parallels between the Roman and English Government, which he thinking carry'd in them Reflections on the latter, it gave him Occasion to oppase him in his Argument. Which put the Deceased out of Temper, but he giving him soft Language, had brought him to Temper again, as he thought, and they were very friendly; but after the bringing in of the second Bottle, the Captain return'd to his ill Temper, and wish'd there was a Case of Pistols in the Room, to which he reply'd, for what, he hoped not for them to use, to which he answered, since there was not, they should decide it another way, by the Sword, and drew it, he begged of him for God's sake to sorbear, but he grew violent, and push'd at him, whereupon he retreated as far as he could for the Wall, and having drawn his Sword, put himself into a Posture of Defence, and the Captain made a very violent push at him, which he happily put by, and believes at the same Time he ran upon his Sword, and received the Wound, for he did not know that he was wounded till he told him that he was, and that having disarm'd him, he immediately called for help, and took what care of him he could, sending for a Surgeon, and assisting him as well as he could.

Colonel Sinclare, and a great many Persons of Character appear'd to his Reputation, who gave him the Character of a peaceable, affable, inoffensive Gentleman; and some others, among which was a certain noble Lord, gave the Deceased the Character of a Person who was so apt to be tenacious of his Argument, when in Discourse, as to be impatient of Contradiction. Upon a full hearing of the Matter, the Jury acquitted him of all three Indictments, bringing in their Verdict, Se Defendendo .