Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 May 2021), June 1780, trial of SAMUEL SOLOMONS (t17800628-23).

SAMUEL SOLOMONS, Breaking Peace > riot, 28th June 1780.

312. SAMUEL SOLOMONS was indict for that he, with forty others and more, did, unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously, assemble, to the disturbance of the publick peace, and did begin to demolish and pull down the dwelling-house of Christopher Conner , against the form of the statute , June 8th .

CHRISTOPHER CONNER sworn.

What are you? - I was a publican once; I kept the sign of the Red-Lion, in the Parish of St. Mary's, Whitechapel .

Was you at your house on the 8th of June in the evening? - Yes.

Describe what happened? - On the 7th of June the first mob came to my house, they went away peaceable; I contented them with letting them have what they chose to drink; the mob returned again on the 8th; the prisoner was the third or fourth man that entered my house; he began pulling down the boxes as fast as he could. I ran after him up stairs; he and two or three more forced my chamber door open. I begged them for God's sake not to tear my place to pieces; they were breaking my drawers open then; that was up the one pair of stairs. I begged they would not spoil my property. The prisoner held me by the colar, and his comrade held a pistol to my head; the prisoner told me if I did not go down stairs he would send me down twice faster than I came up, and then I received a blow on my arm which fractured the bone. I went down stairs; I saw the prisoner no more till I saw him in the mob, which might be a quarter of an hour afterwards; I was struck by one of the mob.

What with? - I took it to be a small bar.

Had the prisoner any thing in his hand? - A bludgeon; and he had a lighted candle in his hand.

What was done to your house? - It was entirely demolished; the door, the wainscotting, the floorings, and the window frames, are all demolished.

What o'clock was it? - About ten or a quarter after; I believe the watch had gone ten.

Did you know him before? - I have seen him pass and repass through Whitechapel and Petticoat-lane two or three times.

You are not acquainted with him? - I never was acquainted with him in my life.

Did you make the discovery? - He was taken by some of the people at the Rotation-office in Whitechapel. I told the magistrates there was such a man; as soon as I saw him I owned him. I said he was the man; and after he was fully committed he acknowledged it himself.

When did you tell the magistrates? - The Sunday after the thing was done.

Was you present when he confessed the fact? - I was, and so was Mr. Dawson.

Where was the confession made? - He confessed it in the room, after he had been examined by the magistrates.

Was that confession reduced into writing? - I cannot say whether it was or not.

Did he confess of his own accord, or did any body tell him it would be better for him? - I heard neither promises nor threats.

What day was it that he confessed? - The Tuesday or Wednesday following the riot, I cannot positively say which.

How came he there? - He came with an intention of turning evidence against other people, I believe; I did not know of his being taken till I came there and saw him at the bar.

Cross Examination.

Which of the publick offices is it that you attend at? - I attend at none.

Would you have me understand that it is not the principal part of your business to attend at a publick office at the east end of the town? - I never did belong to a public office. I am an officer of his Majesty's palace court.

And did never attend an office upon cases of this kind? - No; I never did in my life; I detest a thing of this kind.

When did the proclamation come out offering a reward? - After the man was taken.

Recollect yourself? - I did not come here for the sake of the reward.

When did your house receive a damage? - The 7th.

Are you sure that on the Sunday after these things happened you spoke of this? - Yes. I told Justice Staples of it.

That was after the proclamation offering a reward? - That I cannot tell; I did not see it till the middle of the next week.

You did not see it, you might hear it? - I had trouble enough about something else.

You said this man came voluntarily, and that they took him? - I said he came voluntarily, and they took him into custody.

You came then not to enquire after him? - He secreted himself; it is not to be supposed a villain would not sneek out of the way.

This was at ten at night? - As near as I can charge my memory.

Were there any other lights than that candle in your house? - Some lights were sticking in my windows.

Was not you very much frightened? - Yes. I suppose if you had been in my circumstances you would have been frightened too.

I suppose so. But when people are so frightened they are not so likely to recollect? - When a man holds one by the collar with a candle in his hand, I think one may easily recollect him.

But can you be positive the prisoner is the person? - I am consident the prisoner is the person.

What clothes did the person wear that night? - I thought they were brown. He afterwards confessed they were not. But I am not positive to his clothes, I am positive to his person.

You swore before the magistrate that he had brown clothes on? - That I thought he had brown clothes on to the best of my knowledge.

The prisoner came voluntarily there? - He absconded some time; when he came the justice would not admit him on evidence he being one of the principals.

JOHN CLAWSON sworn.

I am a beadle of Whitechapel parish.

Do you remember the night of the 7th of June, when Conner's house was destroyed. - I saw the prisoner about a quarter after ten o'clock, coming from Conner's house with a blue flag, at the head of the mob, it was just as the watch was set.

Cross Examination.

Are you sure you are not mistaken in the man? - I am positively sure I am not mistaken.

What clothes had he on? - I did not observe his clothes at all.

Counsel for the Crown. Did you apprehend him? - No.

You have known him some time? - Yes.

What is his character? - I do not think it proper in the situation I stand to be asked about his character.

In any situation if you can give a man a good character you ought. What is the character of the prisoner? - It is urging a character out of my mouth which I would not wish to give of a man.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

On the 27th of May I pawned my clothes, and on the 30th of June, I fetched them outright. They were after me in Petticoat-lane. One Joe Barber , belonging to Whitechapel court, enquiring after me, I went up to Whitechapel court to see what they wanted of me, and they detained me on this Joe Barber 's information.

HENRY LAZARUS sworn.

I have known the prisoner eleven or twelve years. He is a pencil-maker. He works for me; during the time he has worked with me, I never knew any thing but good of him.

How long has he worked for you? - A principal part of the time since his father's death. Before that he worked for his father and family. He has worked for me about three years.

Who provides for his mother and her children now? - The prisoner, ever since his father's death.

Court. How long has he left working for you? - He works for me now if he was at home; he worked for me till the time he was taken.

- BARNARD sworn.

I have known the prisoner nine years. He is a pencil-maker. He bears a very honest character.

MOSES LEVI sworn.

I have known the prisoner about nine years. I live in the neighbourhood. Since his father has been dead he has maintained his mother and sisters and brothers He always bore a fair character as far as I know.

Prisoner. He saw me two or three days before he gave information at the Rotation-office.

GUILTY ( Death .)

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice NARES.