Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 28 May 2023), August 1730, trial of Matth.ew Wright John Swetman (t17300828-86).

Matth.ew Wright, John Swetman, Violent Theft > robbery, 28th August 1730.

Matth.ew Wright , Gent. and John Swetman , of St. Andrew's Holbourn , were indicted for entring the House of Edward Saunders , and assaulting John Draper , Esq ; and taking from him five Guineas , the 16th of June last.

The Prosecutor depos'd, That he being at his Lodgings in the House of Edward Saunders , on the 16th of June, and preparing to go to his Country Seat at West Harlem in Norfolk, and also being at Breakfast between Seven and Eight o'Clock in the Morning, his Maid not bringing up the Tea as he expected, he went down Stairs to know the Reason of it; that there being three Men, two of which were the Prisoners, they seiz'd on him violently, took away his Purse, in which was five Guineas; they spirited him away out at the back Door, without giving him the Liberty of putting on his Cloaths or Shoes, forc'd him into a Hackney Coach, and would give him no Reason for what they did; but only, as they were carrying him along, they told him, the Mayor of St. Edmund's-Busy was Dead, and he had better be in a Mad-House than in Newgate; that they brought him to the Prisoner's House, his Stockings were not ty'd up all that time, they refusing to let him have any Garters for fear he should Hang himself with them, as they pretended.

He call'd Elizabeth Annis , but she could say nothing as to the Robbery.

Edward Saunders depos'd, That the Captain had lodg'd with him about five Months, and that he had in the main behav'd himself well; but some Business having call'd him on a Journey, the Fatigue of that, and drinking a little too freely, had made him otherwise than he suppos'd he would have been: He added, that he was present when Mr. Wright and his two Servants came, and that he said he came to take Care of the Captain on the Account of his being mad; that he saw the Purse after it was taken from Mr. Draper, and there was nothing in it but a Cork-skrew, and that he did believe he was not taken with any Design of Robbing him.

Humphrey Parks depos'd, That he was Servant to Mr. Wright, and that the Captain was Hand-cuffed; and being ask'd, if it was not usual to treat disorder'd Persons so? He reply'd, Yes.

Mr. Wright in his Defence pleaded, He had been employ'd by the Prosecutor's Family in general to take Care of him, and keep him as a Person disorder'd in his Senses; and some Instances were produc'd of it, as particularly his having wounded the Mayor of St. Edmund's-Bury, that he (the Prisoner) had treated him well, and as other Lunaticks; that there was no five Guineas in his Purse, or taken from him, and call'd Dr. Monroe, who visited him at his House, who declar'd, that he did believe him to be disordered in his Senses, and had known him to have been so for some time.

The Prisoner desir'd to enter into his Defence, and call'd his Witnesses; but the Court being satisfy'd upon the Evidence of the Prosecutor, did not think it necessary; after a full hearing of the Matter, the Jury acquitted the Prisoner; and he afterwards apply'd to the Court for a Copy of his Indictment, but the Court did not think fit to grant it, because it would be no Benifit to him to sue a Lunatick.