Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 06 October 2022), October 1759, trial of John Neale Matth.ew Makepeace Joshua Squire (t17591024-24).

John Neale, Matth.ew Makepeace, Joshua Squire, Killing > murder, 24th October 1759.

323, 324, 325. (M.) John Neale , Matth.ew Makepeace , and Joshua Squire , were indicted, the first for the wilful murder of Thomas Nogan , and the two others for aiding, abetting, comforting, and assisting him in committing the said murder , Sept. 27 . ++

Alexandor Wilson. I am cook to the Phenix Hospital-Ship .

Q. Where does she lie?

Wilson. She lies against the Tower-Stairs . On the 27th of September last, I think between the hours of four and five in the afternoon Thomas Nogan was on the deck to get the air. It is a common thing for press'd men.

Q. Was he a press'd man?

Wilson. He was, to the best of my knowledge; he was brought on board as such. I did not see him press'd: he walk'd fore and aft the main deck. One of the ship's people had him in charge, as is usually the case, about five o'clock it seem'd to rain a little; I went down into my cabbin in order to put on my coat, and I heard a gun pop off while I was below. I came up, and as I was coming up the ladder I heard a second go off.

Q. Was any body on the dock ?

Wilson. There was Squires, and the centry that had the deceased in charge, looking over the commodation-lader. I saw nobody on the main-deck but them two. I asked, What noise was that? The first time nobody made answer; I asked a second time; I think Squires said, There is a man shot. I directly asked them by whose order; they made no answer: I stepp'd off to the quarter-deck, seeing two marines standing there, one of them had a piece in his hand; Neal was one of them. I said to him, Who commanded you to fire; said he, I know who commanded me to fire. I was commanded to fire, before I did do it, by the Steward. I said, Which of the Stewards ; The stout man; he described Makepeace. I went to Makepeace, he was standing on the ladder, going down into the Gun-room. I asked him, Did you command this man to fire on the man; he said, He did not command it.

Q. Did you hear any body give co mmand to fire.

Wilson. I did hear the word Fire; and I heard it repeated again. I went to Squire after this, he was on the gunnel on the main-deck, and the man was coming along-side in a boat; the people were bringing him on board. I was in a passion, I must own; there was not a proper officer on board.

Q. What man were they bringing on board?

Wilson. The deceased, Thomas Nogan ; Squire was leaning over the side: I said, Did you command to fire upon this man; he said, No, I did not; If you charge me with it, I'll put you in the Hold.

Cross Examination.

Q. What ship is this?

Wilson. The Phenix Hospital-ship, in the King's service.

Q. What prisoners had you on board this ship ?

Wilson. We had four pyrates, that is, reported to be so, which were sent from the Royal.

Q. How many pressed men had you on that ship?

Wilson. Really I do not know, because they are kept by themselves.

Q. Had you ten?

Wilson. I do not know that we had.

Q. Had you five?

Wilson. I do not know.

Q. Had you two?

Wilson. I do not know what we had.

Q. Was Meekins on board ?

Wilson. Yes, he was.

Q. Was it reported that you had a good many pressed on board ?

Wilson. I am sure there were some.

Q. Did you look upon the deceased to be a pressed man?

Wilson. I did; he had not been long on board us.

Q. What do you call long?

Wilson. A day or two, or three.

Q. What officers had you on board?

Wilson. We had no warrant-officer on board except me.

Q. Who was the superior officer on board?

Wilson. Squire's acted as turnkey.

Q. What is he?

Wilson. He is Boatswain's steward ; he acted instead of Boatswain, when the Boatswain was absent; by his orders, the Boatswain made him his steward.

Q. What is Neal?

Wilson. He is a marine on board.

Q. How many marines had you on board besides Neal?

Wilson. We have only he had another; they were guards-men over the pyrates.

Q. Were they not guards over all the prisoners on board?

Wilson. We had no guards 'till the pyrates were brought on board. I understand them to be a centry over the pyrates.

Q. What is your reason for understanding it so; did you hear any order given?

Wilson. I did not.

John Walker . I was a mariner on board that hospital-ship, when this affair happened; there was John Meekins along with Makepeace siting in his cabbin; it was about three or four o'clock.

Q. What was Meekins?

Walker. He was a pressed man, belonging to the Doctor's ward; I heard a noise, and we went upon the main-deck to see what was the matter; Makepeace went first and I followed him; as soon as I came upon deck, I heard these words, Stop the man; likewise, Fire.

Q. Can you tell who said that word Fire?

Walker. I am not certain who it was, because the ship's company were all in a flurry.

Q. Did you hear any body repeat the word?

Walker. Makepeace repeated it after that; he unhappily cried Fire, repeating the word from them that first spoke it.

Q. What distance was Makepeace from Neal?

Walker. He was just by him on the quarterdeck; not above two or three yards.

Q. What was done afterwards?

Walker. The centinel Neal, said, If I have orders to fire, I'll fire, and took up his piece; and after that, the word fire was said again, and the other repeated it afterwards, and he fired a second time. I stood close along-side Neal when he fired.

Q. How near was the deceased to the ship?

Walker. I believe he was about forty yards distance in a boat; the first fire was what was the death of the man; he failed in his rowing upon the first fire; they brought him on board, and I carried him down into the Doctor's ward on my back: we asked him which shot hit him; he told us twice, It was the first shot that hit him. I held him while he was dressed.

Q. After the first fire, What did the prisoner Makepeace say?

Walker. After the first fire, there were still crying out Fire again: Several people called so, not one nor two, but more; Makepeace said, Do not fire any more, for I believe the poor man is hurt already; there was a boat in pursuit of him, and the men called and desired they would fire no more, for they could take him.

Q. Which way was the deceased making?

Walker. He was making towards the Tower-stairs.

Q. How near were they to him, that were in quest of him ?

Walker. They were within twenty yards of him.

Q. Do you believe they might have taken him, if he had not been fired at?

Walker. I do believe they might, because the deceased did not understand rowing the boat very well; and there were people on shore might have stopped him, but people are willing to give a pressed man as much quarters as they can.

Q. Who was it that called out Fire first?

Walker. I took it to be Squire.

Q. How long was it between the first and second firing?

Walker. I do not believe there was above a minute distance.

Q. Whenever a pressed man offered to make his escape, did you ever hear an order to fire at him?

Walker. I never saw a man endeavour to make his escape before.

Q. Was you ever at sea?

Walker. No. I have not.

Q. Was you ever a pressing about with others?

Walker. Yes, with a lieutenant.

Q. Is it usual to carry fire-arms on such an occasion?

Walker. We never carry fire-arms.

James Prichard . On the 27th of September the Tender went away, and there were no pressed men on board.

Q. What are you?

Pritchard. I was waterman belonging to the Phenix; this Nogan that is dead, was brought on board the Phenix as a pressed man; in the afternoon I was gone on shore to fetch some beer for the four pyrates that were on board.

Q. When did the pyrates come on board the Phenix?

Prichard. They came that day, or the day before. The prisoner Neal and another marine were centinels over them; they came with them as a guard; as soon as I brought the beer, and had carried it on the quarter-deck, in about ten minutes time I heard somebody say, A man had made his escape from the centry; I made haste down the ladder into a press-gang's boat, and got in persuit after him, and was within about twenty yards of him when he was shot.

Q. Which way was he rowing?

Prichard. He was rowing towards Tower-stairs.

Q. Should you have re-taken him before he got to Tower-stairs had there been no firing?

Prichard. Yes: I heard firing, but do not know who gave the command to fire.

Q. What happened to the deceased?

Prichard. As soon as he found himself wounded he leaned round on his right side, and put his hand over and got hold of my boat; there were two holes made with the balls in the boat.

Q. Were not the holes there before?

Prichard. No, they were not: he desired me to come on board him as fast as I could; I made the press-gang's boat fast to the other, and tow'd the boat, and desired another boat also to take me in tow, and brought him on board the ship.

Q. At the time of this firing, who was on board that had any command.

Prichard. The Boatswain was on shore.

Q. Where was the Regulating Captain?

Prichard. He was on shore; the only warrant-officer that I know of on board at that time was the Cook.

Q. It is customary at any time to fire at a person on board that shall endeavour to escape?

Prichard. I cannot tell; I belong'd to her but about a fortnight.

Q. Has the Surgeon's Steward an equal power with the Surgeon?

Prichard. No.

Q. Has the Boatswain's Steward a power to act when the Boatswain is not there ?

Prichard. He has.

Q. Have either of them power to give an order to fire?

Prichard. No, none of them.

Q. Was there any expression with an oath, why don't you fire?

Prichard. I heard it, but cannot say who spoke it; I was then in persuit of the man.

Q. Was the deceased called to by any body before the firing ?

Prichard. I heard them call, Stop the man. I do not know whether he was call'd to.

Q. How many press'd men were there on board ?

Prithard. I do not know of any more than the deceased, and one more.

Samuel Black . I came on board this ship on the 26 of September.

Q. Who came along with you?

Black. There came four pirates, and Jack Neal the prisoner.

Q. What are you?

Black. I am a Marine.

Q. What ship did you come from?

Black. We came from the Princess Royal at the Nore: Jack Neal and I came to guard the pirates on board the Phenix.

Q. Was there an officer with you?

Black. There was; and he ordered us to look after the pirates, the four pirates. Neal and I were upon the poop, our two pieces were at the wheel at the quarter-deck loaded; there was a noise, that a press'd man was escaping from the ship; I heard the words, Come to, come to.

Q. Who spoke the words, come to?

Black. I do not know; the next word I heard was Fire.

Q. Was you near your comrade when he did fire?

Black. I was at no great distance from him.

Q. Did Neal obey the word?

Black. He did. Neal fired.

Q. Did he hit the man in the boat?

Black. I believe he did.

Q. Did you see the man brought on board ?

Black. I did.

Q. Who gave the command to fire?

Black. I cannot tell; I was looking to see who the man was that was escaping.

Q. How many were the whole ship's crew ?

Black. It is a twenty gun ship, and this was the second day that I belong'd to her; I cannot tell.

Q. to Prichard. Can you tell?

Prichard. There were about twenty pressed and enter'd men; six in the hold, and about twelve or fourteen in the sick ward, and about nine or ten before the mast, and two officers.

William Meekins . I had been on board the Phenix about six weeks.

Q. What are you?

Meekins. I am a press'd man.

Q. How many press'd men were there on board your ship besides you?

Meekins. There were about half a score.

Q. Was Thomas Nogan one of them?

Meekins. He was: I was smoking my pipe along with Makepeace and John Walker in his apartment; hearing an uproar upon the deck, I took little notice about it, 'till the word fire was given; Makepeace went upon the deck, Walker went second and I third; Squire gave the word fire; and after him Makepeace said fire.

Q. What were the words he made use of?

Meekins. He said, fire; he ordered the centry to fire; and Makepeace repeated the word fire after him; then the soldier fired.

Q. Who do you call the soldier?

Meekins. That is Neal; after which Make-peace call'd out, For God's sake, fire no more; Squire would have had him to fire again, but Makepeace was against it; I believe the man was shot then, for he laid by his scull and turn'd on his side; after that, Squire repeated the the word with an oath to the soldier to fire again; then the soldier took up a piece and fired again a second time.

Q. Had he had time betwixt the two firings to charge his piece again?

Meekins. He took up the other marine's piece, and fired that the second time.

Q. Was this after Makepiece had desired the centinel not to fire?

Meekins. It was.

Q. What are Squire and Makepeace?

Meekins. Squire is Boatswain's Steward, and Makepeace is Surgeon's Steward.

Q. to Black. How came you not to tell that Neal took your musket to fire the second time?

Black. They were both lying together.

Q. Did he take it out of your hand?

Black. No, he did not: but he took it up and fired it.

Joseph Gibbons . I am a Volunteer on board the Phenix; on the twenty-seventh of September last I was on board, but did not see the firing when it first began; Squire was in the Boatswain's cabbin; there was an uproar that a man was got over the ship's side; we ran up; they call'd, Stop the man; and call'd to the man to come back; he would not.

Q. Who call'd to him to come back?

Gibbons. The centry call'd to him; then he was fired at, at the first firing he failed in his rowing.

Q. Who fired?

Gibbons. I did not see the firing, so cannot say who fired.

William Davis . I was between decks, eating some bread and cheese.

Q. What are you on board the Phenix?

Davis. I am a common hand, before the mast; I heard them cry out, Stop the man; by and by I heard them cry, Fire; then I ran upon deck; as soon as I came there, I look'd over the side and saw a man in a boat lying down on his right side working with his left-hand, making for Tower-stairs.

Q. Did he seem to be hurt?

Davis. He seemed to me so: I believe the first shot struck him.

Q. Did you see any boats after him?

Davis. I did: I had not time to speak before the other gun fired.

John Uperton . I was upon deck, on board the Phenix, when this misfortune happen'd; I heard them cry, Stop the boat; Stop the boat; Stop the man.

Q. How far was the man from the ship's side.

Uperton. I believe about twenty yards; the man was a press'd man.

Q. Who cry'd, Fire?

Uperton. Several people did on the deck; when the peice was fired off, the man in the boat was about forty yards from the ship; the first piece I believe struck the man.

When the Coroner was about calling the evidences to prove how the prisoner died, the Counsel for all the prisoners admitted it, that the deceased died of the wound given him at that time.

Coroner. He died in the hospital four days after the wound given.

All Guilty of Manslaughter .

[Branding.]