Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 23 April 2021), April 1759, trial of John Grimes Robert Murray John Andrews (t17590425-30).

John Grimes, Robert Murray, John Andrews, Theft > theft from a specified place, 25th April 1759.

174, 175, 176. (M.) John Grimes , Robert Murray , and John Andrews , were indicted, together with Patrick Baab , William Dolly , Robert Peavor , and Samuel Beaton , not taken, for stealing twenty-four pieces of linnen cloath, value 36 l. and one coarse linnen wrapper, value 3 s. the property of John Jackson , in a certain ship, lying on a certain navigable river, called the river Thames . It was also laid to be the property of Thomas Fowl , March 29 . ++

John Jackson . I am master of the ship Thomas and Sarah , she lay at Shadwell-Dock Stairs in the river Thames . On Thursday the 29th of March, I missed a small bale of twenty-four pieces of Russia linnen, value 36 l. and the wrapper I value at three or four shillings; it was the property of Mr Thomas Fowl , but if it be lost I am to make it good. They were consign'd to him.

Q. Did you see it pack'd up?

Jackson. No, I did not, I take that from the report of Mr Fowl. Grimes and Murray were employed in unloading that ship amongst others; they are call'd Lumpers . I believe they had been on board about eight or nine days with the rest in the indictment, not taken. Sometimes there might be one or two on board, and sometimes more.

Q. Before you lost this bale how lately had you seen it?

Jackson. I believe not for five months before; I could not come at it, it was down in the hold; that is, it was high in the hold, but low in the upper deck, so that I could not come at it. There was a large quantity of hemp over it. We came from Hamburgh.

John Hadwin . I am an officer. I had a warrant to search for linnen about the 4th of April, in the house of Mr Smith in Little Hermitage-Street, I found a box that had a crack in it; it was lock'd and corded up. Captain Jackson look'd in, and saw part of his cloth.

Jackson. I went with the constable to the house of Smith, I saw a box lock'd and corded; I found some linnen, two of them marked, that is, a Bear. There has been none come this year with that mark upon it, there was last year. We broke the box open before the justice; there I found the four pieces of linnen I beforementioned: to the best of my knowledge they are part of the bale that I lost. After that we took up Serjeant Andrews at Mr Smith's. Four pieces of linnen produc'd.

Hadwin. This box was opened before justice Bury, and these four pieces of linnen taken out. I found in a handkerchief seven guineas and a thirty-six shillings piece. There was also in the box a pair or two of spatterdashes, and a scabbard to a bayonett, and about half a pound of indico, in a paper in the box.

Edward Smith . I am a Publican at Little Hermitage-Stairs. On the thirteenth of March Robert Peavor came to my house, and ask'd me, if he could not lodge there? I said he might; then he said, he'd go and fetch his box, which he did, a little square box, with part of the lid broke, it is the same box that was taken away by the constable on the fourth of April; but Peavor never came to lodge with me; Serjeant Andrews came to my house on the third of April, and drank two pots of beer in the tap-room; he call'd me out, and said, Mr Smith, you seem to be a good-natur'd man, you know what I come upon; that he said, was on account of a box that was left here by a soldier, and it is pity he should be kept out of the way; he has left seven guineas and a thirty-six shilling piece in that box, and it is in the left hand side of the box, please to let me have it. I said I know nothing of it, I would go to the justice about it; when I return'd he was taken up. When he came before the justice, then he said, he wanted to see if there were any regimentals in the box, but he had mentioned nothing of that to me before. I stopp'd the box on the thirty-first, because a woman came and told me they had robb'd a ship; so I went to the justice and got an order to stop it.

Cross Examination.

Q. Did not Serjeant Andrews tell you, that Peavor and Beaton were deserters?

Smith. He did; but this was after I would not let him have the money; but it was the same day.

Eleanor Ballard . Robert Murray lodg'd with me about eight weeks; he left me when these prisoners were taken up; one Baab brought three pieces of linnen to my house; on the 27th of March his wife took one piece out of my house, and I have part of a piece here; and Grimes took one piece; it was brown dowlas like; my piece that I have is the same. Robert Murray came in on the morning on the 29th, ringing wet; that is the day that the information was made, and Baab was with him; he told me he had tumbled overboard; he shifted himself and went to bed; this was when Murray was by. (A piece of cloth produced.) This is the part of a piece that Baab's wife gave me; it appears to be the same colour and kind.

Q. to Jackson. Is this of such a particular sort, that there is but little imported in England?

Jackson. There is a great deal such imported here.

Sarah Hayworth . I lodg'd with Mrs Ballard; Murray lodg'd there. On the Thursday morning that Captain Jackson's ship was robb'd, being the 29th of March; I went out into the high street, and met Mr Grimes; he ask'd me if I had seen two drunken soldiers that work'd on board Captain Jackson's ship along with him.

Q. Did he name their names?

Hayworth. No, he did not; he told me there were search-warrants out for them, and desired if I saw any thing of them, that I would tell them to get out of the way, for they might speak words that might do them hurt, because they were drunk, and it might hurt them all. Mrs. Beck, Mrs Beaton, and I, went last Saturday was three weeks to Serjeant Andrews's house; she told him she had been to see for her husband the former part of the day, and could not find him; but in every publick house she heard there was a robbery committed, and therefore she fear'd he was gone aside; and if he was out of the way a little while, she hoped he would not be deemed a deserter. Mr Andrews said it was a very sad thing people could not live by their labour, and not by thieving. The captain of the ship had been with him, and informed him of the robbery; he said if he was not taken up for thieving, he'd take care they should not for desertion. She, I, and another acquaintance, went to him the Monday following; then she told him her husband would go a journey, if he was pleas'd to let her have a furlow; he said he could not do it himself at present, but he would acquaint his commanding officer with it; and if he could get him one, it should be ready by five in the afternoon on the Tuesday; and if he could get one before, he would send it after him, and took an account of her in writing where he was to go; that was to Aldeburgh in Suffolk. The next day Mrs Beaton went again; Andrews was not present then.

Grimes, in his defence, said, he did not know there was such a bale in the ship. Murray said, he knew nothing of the matter, and accounted for his coming home wet, by getting drunk, and in a quarrel was thrown into a kennel. Andrews said, Beaton and Peavor having deserted, he went to Smith's house, and was waiting there 'till Justice Scott came home, to get an order to have the box opened, to see if there were any cloaths or accoutrements belonging to the King; and after he had staid there seven hours, he was taken into custody by Mr Jackson, on a warrant from Justice Bury.

Grimes call'd Edward White, who had known him six years; Mr Magennis, seven; Mary Butcher , four; Sarah Starr , Serjeant Salmon, nine or ten; Serjeant Macdaniel, ten or eleven; Serjeant Becket, nine; Serjeant Marshall, ten; who all gave him a good character.

Murray call'd Daniel Sullivan , who had known him six or seven years; James Keyton , five; John Conner , five or six; William Young , six or seven; and Mr Price, about ten; who all gave him a good character.

Andrews call'd Captain Hudson, who had known him fourteen or fifteen years; said he had behaved with the strictest honesty, and that was the opinion of all the field-officers that have been in the regiment from that time to this; that if he had any fault, it was that of humanity and indulgence, he being pay-serjeant of the company, and never forward to report a man to be struck off his pay as a deserter, 'till he is thoroughly satisfied that is the case; and that in the late descent on the coast of France the officers made choice of him as an honest man to abide on board, to take care of their money and effects 'till their return, which trust he faithfully discharged and every thing found safe.

All three acquitted .