Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 June 2023), October 1783, trial of WILLIAM WARREN JOHN HODGE JOHN HARRIS EDWARD HUDSON (t17831029-5).

WILLIAM WARREN, JOHN HODGE, JOHN HARRIS, EDWARD HUDSON, Theft > theft from a specified place, 29th October 1783.

724. WILLIAM WARREN , JOHN HODGE , JOHN HARRIS , and EDWARD HUDSON were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 6th day of September last, nine hundred pounds weight of raw coffee, value 20 l. the property of Samuel Scott , John Wilson , John Morris and Isaac Blackburne , from a certain ship on his Majesty's navigable river of Thames .

A second count for feloniously stealing the same coffee, the property of persons unknown.

Mr. Silvester of council for the prosecution opened the case as follows:

May it please your Lordship, and you Gentlemen of the Jury,

This is an indictment against the four prisoners at the bar, William Warren , John Hodge , John Harris , and Edward Hudson, for stealing on the 6th of September last, a quantity of coffee from on board the Arend op Zee which was a Dutch prize to his Majesty's ships, Hercules, Leander, Dolphin, and Nemesis, and which was then laying on the river of Thames , of the value of 20 l.

[The remainder of this Trial in the next Part, which will be published in a few days.]

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 June 2023), October 1783 (t17831029-5).

Old Bailey Proceedings advertisements, 29th October 1783.

Trials at Law, Arguments of Counsel, &c. carefully taken in Short-Hand, and copied with Dispatch by E. HODGSON, Writer of these Proceedings, No. 35, Chancery Lane.

This Day is Published, Price only Half a Crown, the Second Edition, with Additions, of SHORT-HAND on an IMPROVED PLAN; The Alphabet consisting of Sixteen Characters only, by E. HODGSON;

Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, S. BLADON, Pater-noster Row, and J. CLARKE, Portugal Street.

N. B. Although this Book, which contains an Explanatory Copper-plate is a sufficient Instructor of itself, yet if any Doubts should arise, they shall be removed on Application to the Author without any additional Expence.

Short-hand taught at Home and Abroad in FOUR LESSONS, if required.

The Trial of LIEUTENANT COLONEL COCKBURNE, at the Horse Guards, for the loss of St. Eustatius, Price 3 s. published from Mr. Hodgson's Short Hand Notes.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 June 2023), October 1783 (t17831029-5).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 29th October 1783.

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON; AND ALSO, The Gaol Delivery for the County of Middlesex; HELD AT JUSTICE HALL in the OLD BAILEY, On Wednesday the 29th of OCTOBER, 1783, and the following Days;

Being the EIGHTH SESSION in the Mayoralty of The Right Hon. Nathaniel Newnham , Esq; LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON.

TAKEN IN SHORT HAND BY E. HODGSON, And Published by Authority.



Printed for E. HODGSON (the Proprietor) And Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, and S. BLADON, No. 13, Pater-noster Row.




KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON, &c.

Continuation of the Trial of William Warren , &c.

This is laid in the first charge of the indictment to be the property of the consignees, and in the second charge to be the property of persons unknown, that was because as this ship was a prize to his Majesty's ships which I have named; it was impossible to state in the indictment the name of every commander and every mariner who had a right to some of the property. Gentlemen, this is one of those instances which we too often have of the property of poor sailors being plundered when they come into this country, by which means they are deprived of part of their prize money. The vessel in question was taken and condemned in the West-Indies, at Barbadoes: In the voyage to England no less a quantity than thirty thousand weight of coffee has been taken out of this vessel, that is known by the invoice and by the King's bill, comparing one with the other there is upwards of thirty thousand weight deficient in the cargo. Gentlemen, these depredations are so often committed, and committed with impunity, that they are now grown to an alarming height; it is an offence that requires examination, and if it is brought home to the prisoners at the bar, it is an offence which ought to be most severely and exemplarily punished.

The facts to bring this charge home to the prisoners are these; the vessel sailed into England under the care of the Prize-master Mr. Warren, he was the commander of the ship and had the care of the goods; Hodge was the Mate, Harris was the excise officer put on board by government, and Hudson and Waterman employed by these very people in bringing the goods on shore; and when I describe the characters of the three first, the Master, Mate, and Excise Officer, it makes one shudder to think that men intrusted with the property of hundreds, should forfeit the confidence reposed in them. The owners, the consignees in London, when the ship came, thought it right and proper to employ a man of known honesty and integrity to watch over the persons in that ship, upon which a man of the name of Jeffreys was employed by the agents here, and put into the ship by way of spy and guard of the property, to see that no soul transaction was carried on; and it turned out that that caution was necessary, that it was right and proper, for by the event it seems that if he had not been on board, much larger depredations would have taken place, it might and would have been larger if it had not been detected: On Saturday the 6th of September last, as this man of the name of Jeffreys was walking the quarter deck, he observed the Captain and the Mate in close conference in the cabbin, at last Warren the commander, knowing very well the situation of Jeffreys, came up to him and said, Jeffreys, I want to ask a favour of you: what is that? why, says he, as commanders we are intitled to some sweepings, you will have no objection to my going down to the hold to take those sweepings, we have had a great deal of trouble in working the ship: Jeffreys said, I can have no objection to any prequisite; the name conveys an idea of very little value; and they went down, but instead of taking sweepings they were employed in taking and cutting the bags of coffee, and they took out of eight new bags six pounds of each; these were taken out of the bags in the vessel and put into new bags which they had for the purpose, the persons who went down were the Commander, Mate, and Excise-officer; Jeffreys was alarmed at this, and convinced at the time and at the moment that this could not be sweepings, but was afraid at that instant to examine, because he was single in the ship, and here were three men who were actually committing this theft; this was in the dead of night, and all the terrors which night carried with it certainly invaded the poor man's mind at that instant. Hudson had brought to the vessel one or two boats, into which this coffee was put from the ship and was carried to shore, what became of it afterwards we cannot tell. On the next day Jeffreys went on shore but Mr. Scott was not at home; on Monday he applied to see the Clerk of the Brokers, he was not at home; he left word that he wished to see them on very material and particular business, and desired that they would come on board the vessel for he had something very particular to tell them; upon which they went on board, and he then discovered to them the whole of the transaction, he then opened that scene of wickedness that these men had been guilty of, in going to the hold, taking out the coffee, and sending it on shore: Jeffreys being then brought on shore for the purpose of bringing these men to Justice, one Jonathan Beyer immediately supplied the place of Jeffreys, and when he came on board there was jealousy and suspicion; for people who commit bad deeds are always suspicious, and there was a consultation between themselves, Harris said, we must take care to be all in one story; this was a sufficient clue to Beyer to know that that story meant something more than he was then well acquainted with. Gentlemen, these are the facts which will be produced to you in evidence: It will be in proof to you that this vessel has been robbed to a large amount; it will be in proof to you, that a man of trust, a man of character, who was put on board that ship to protect that property, has withstood temptation, and has done justice to his employers; on his evidence you will hear that the property was sent on board by these men; what defence they can suggest I cannot tell: I hope and wish they had a good one, I wish that every man who has a good cause may make it appear; but if they are guilty it is as soul and as bad a case as can come before a Court of Judicature; if on the other hand it is not made out fully, you will be happy in an opportunity of clearing them; but it is our duty and the duty of the consignees to bring a question of this magnitude before you, for we are bound to protect the property of these seamen who are fighting and risking their lives for our defence. Gentlemen, I leave the case in your hands, if the facts appear as I am instructed, and the prisoners are proved to be guilty, you will say so by your verdict, and if they are not, I am sure your humanity will acquit them.

SAMUEL SCOTT Esq ; sworn.

(Prisoner's Council Mr. FIELDING.)

May I venture to ask you generally Mr. Scott before you are examined, what interest you have in the capture of this ship, or supposing that the goods and the cargo were all disposed of, how do your profits arise as Agent? - From our commission on the sale of the cargo.

How do you become authorized to dispose of the cargo? - By a power of attorney from the captors.

Who do you call the captors? - The crew of the different ships that capture the prize.

Who? - Captain Savage is one, Captain Sutton is another, and all the people on board.

Mr. Warren is one of the captors, and has an interest in this prize? - He has signed the power of attorney also.

Mr. Hodge the other mariner he is a captor too? - Yes, so I understand.

Has this cargo been disposed of? - It has.

Have the shares been estimated? - No, Sir, there is an appeal to the Lords of appeal for the cargo.

There is an appeal now depending for this cargo? - An appeal from the neutral powers, from the Danes I believe.

The property is determined to be in the captors, the Danes laying claim to it.

Court. To what does your previous examination of Mr. Scott tend?

Mr. Fielding. I want to come at the question, whether or no Mr. Scott is a competent witness.

Mr. Silvester. I do not suppose that a man standing up for the crown can be interested.

Court. If it appears that the witness has an interest in the conviction of the prisoners, that will render him incompetent as I conceive in all cases, but his interest in the property will not affect his testimony.

Mr. Fielding. I declare I do not make this objection from any consciousness of the badness of my case, for I am as confident of success in this trial, and of the innocence of the men, as I ever was of any cause in my life.

Mr. Silvester. Mr. Scott, you are an Agent to this prize? - Yes.

What do you call the vessel? - The Arend Op Zee; the other Agents are my partners, John Wilson , John Morris , and Isaac Blackburn ; the vessel laid in September off Stone-stairs, between that and Ratcliffe-cross.

When did you arrive in the river? - The latter end of August.

What was she loaden with? - Coffee, cocoa, and cotton, and some kind of wood.

What quantity from the invoice was there of coffee? - (Looks at the Invoice.) 399931 pound Dutch weight?

What was in the English weight? - (Looking at the Invoice.)

"439924 English."

N. B. These are Dutch weights, and they are ten per cent heavier than the English.

Mr. Fielding. My Lord, I should think it would be necessary in a criminal case, where Mr. Silvester has opened such a business as he has; to establish the fact clearly by occular proof, had of the cargo as it was on board; it does not appear that the coffee, as it is said to be loaded by the invoice, was, or was not loaded before the ship set sail in the West Indies, or whether part of it was lost; your Lordship knows if an action is brought upon a policy of insurance, they never attempt to account for the loss by the invoice.

Mr. Silvester. It can be proved no other way but by the invoice; if any is lost that the Captain can prove by people on board the vessel; it is prima facie evidence of the quantity on board.

Mr. Fielding. The invoice only proves this, that such a quantity was put on board.

Mr. Silvester. It is the best and the only evidence you can have.

Mr. Fielding. My Lord, Mr. Silvester wants to put it upon the defendants to supply the prosecutor with proof, because there has, says he, been a particular quantity according to the appearance of this invoice, it shall be incumbent upon the defendents to prove that that cargo is not so great; why that is the very point upon which your Lordship will determine this.

Mr. Runnington another of Prisoners Council. I believe about two years ago an objection of the same kind was taken, where Mr. Silvester would not support it.

Mr. Silvester. A man does not come with the invoice bill himself?

Court. No, but the Captain and the officers of the ship are capable of proving it.

Mr. Silvester. There would be a failure of justice if it is not evidence.

Court to Mr. Scott. What is the nature of the invoice that you produce? - It is an invoice I conceive taken from the paper from the bills of lading then found on board.

Court. It is clearly not evidence, had the ship been loaded under the direction of the Captain, the Captain being the prisoner, I should have been of opinion that as against him the invoice would be evidence, because he is the only person who would controul the invoice, who had the power of inspecting into the cargo; therefore, as against him, I should have thought it would have been good evidence; but the paper Mr. Scott produces is the Dutch invoice of the loading in Holland; therefore, it is no evidence whatever, that this cargo was on board the ship when this man was put on board her as Prize-master: for it was subject to all the consumption of the Dutch crew, therefore the Prize-master is not to be charged as answerable for the invoice in Holland, to which he was not privy.

Mr. Silvester. Then there never can be any evidence of the cargo of a Dutch or any other foreign ship?

Court. Yes there may, because an account may be taken at the time.

Court. I am clearly of opinion it is not evidence.

Mr. Silvester to Scott. Then we must not say to what amount? - I cannot say, the goods are not yet delivered.

Did you employ any person to superintend it? - On that ship beginning to unload, I desired the broker to send a person on board to take an account of the cargo and watch it, he sent William Jeffreys .

Mr. Fielding. This property being now under a course of appeal, I conceive is the property of no liege subject here.

Court to Mr. Fielding. Do you conceive then that a felony cannot be committed on the property of aliens or even of an enemy? But however, I think the Count laying it, the property of persons unknown, covers that sufficiently.

Mr. Silvester to Mr. Scott. You desired the brokers to send a trusty person on board? - Yes.

Who is that? - Hes name is Jeffreys, he was to watch the cargo and take an account of it as it went into the lighter.

Cross-examined by Mr. FIELDING.

Mr. Scott, I am sorry to mention that there have been disagreements between you and Mr. Warren, but the fact is so that there have? - We did disagree, we differed in sentiment in point of settling his accounts, but no other.

You know the officers that appointed Mr. Warren to this charge? - I knew some of them, Captain Savage I knew perfectly well.

You knew that his assent was at least necessary to the appointment of Mr. Warren? - I should have supposed so.

How came it that you should think of the broker's interference, by way of sending a man on board this ship? - It is a custom.

Therefore you trusted to the broker's knowledge of sending a proper person? - I did.

You knew the man so sent? - I did not.

Did not you know the man? - No, I did not even know his name, till my clerk informed me that the person had sent to inform him.

That is not evidence, did not you think it worth your while to ask the broker this man's name, that he had appointed to this species of trust? - No, I did not.

Lieutenant Welley , was he on board this prize? - He might go a visiting, he had no right there that I know of, I heard he was on board.

Did you never hear complaints of this very man who has made the information against these four people at the bar? - I heard some.

Did you never hear that this very fellow had taken four bags of coffee? - I never did.

Did you never hear he was one of the most drunken fellows that ever was put into the employ? - I heard when I was on board, Mr. Warren and the others say that he was the most drunken fellow.

Court. Was that before Jefferys had charged them? - I think it was.

Mr. Fielding. Then you must necessarily suppose there was no great good will; but you never was lucky enough to hear that this man was the very thief that had stolen bags of coffee? - They said he was a drunken fellow, I paid no attention to it.

Court. Speak of the fact. - I do not recollect that they charged him with theft, but with drunkenness they did, they charged him before the Justice.

You told me before you knew nothing of him? - I had an opinion of the man, by the people that sent him.

Did not it ever come to your knowledge that this man, this Jefferys, put false marks on the bags? - I cannot charge my memory with that circumstance.

Did you never hear that if he had not taken coffee, he had taken sweepings? - I do not recollect that.

Did Mr. Willey make complaints to you of this man? - He might, I cannot charge my memory, when I went on board he laid complaint against a waterman that I had sent on board.

Did not the complaint go the length of charging him with being drunk, and making the marks? - I do not recollect any think about the marks, the man complained very heavily of them, I never took him away.

Was not he turned on shore? - I do not know, I believe he was, he went on board again.

Did not you hear it was for making false marks on the bags? - I do not recollect any thing about the false marks.

Why do not you recollect? - I do not recollect.

Then that is all the answer I can get from you.

Mr. Runnington. I am council for Mr. Warren and Mr. Hodge. Is not that the report you made at the Custom-house. (Shewing him a paper). - It is one of them.

Mr. Sylvester. Did these men ever charge Jefferys with stealing the coffee, till they themselves were accused? - I do not recollect they did till they came before the Justice, then I believe Mr. Warren repeated it several times, that they had prevented him from taking handkerchiefs.

Court. What they said before the Justice is no evidence against him, though it would be against them, that is the case with every confession.

Mr. Sylvester. Then there was no complaints of that nature that made you doubt or enquire into the conduct of Jefferys? - None at all, I looked upon their complaints to arise from a little pique between me and Mr. Warren about his accompts.

- ASHTON sworn.

(Examined by Mr. Sylvester.)

I am clerk to Paulhan, Blache, and Co. with whom I have lived fifteen years.

I understand you was applied to by Mr. Scott to send some proper person on board this ship? - I was.

Who did you send? - I sent this Jeffreys, knowing him well to be as worthy respectable character as any I know, and knowing him to be a proper person to take care of the cargo, I have known him five or six and twenty years, in fact he is a distant relation of mine, a man to be trusted in every respect whatever.

Did he apply to you again, and give you any information about this?

Court. Jeffery's application to him is not evidence.

Mr. Fielding. You say he is a respectable man and a relation of your's? - Yes.


( Examined by Mr. Sylvester.)

When was you sent on board this ship? - I cannot tell exactly the day I was sent.

How soon afterwards did you observe any thing pass? - A fortnight.

Court. Fix the time as near as you can? - About a fortnight before the 6th of September.

What happened on the 6th of September? - On the 6th of September the lighter lay alongside the ship, I was on watch the fore part of the night till twelve, and between ten and eleven in the evening Mr. Harris, the Excise officer who had been on shore came on board, he came first before, and just asked me how I did, and then he went into the cabbin, and he walked round the cabbin; there stood a glass of liquor, and he drank and said, he would go on shore again, and lay on shore, and he went, and in about a quarter of an hour afterwards Mr. Warren and he came on board again, Mr. Warren had been on shore before; they went down to the cabbin, and staid there some time; Mr. Hodge I believe was in the cabbin before, Mr. Hodge is the Mate.

Court. Are you sure Hodge was with them? - Yes, after they had been in some time, they sent for me into the cabbin, and Mr. Warren said to me, I have a favor to ask of you; says he, give me leave to go down into the hold to take a bag or two of sweepings, loose coffee that lay about the ship, which I gave consent for him to do, they went down into the hold.

Court. Who went down? - Mr. Warren, Mr. Hodge, and Mr. Harris, I went along with them.

Any body else? - I cannot recollect any body else; when they got into the hold, instead of taking the loose coffee, they began to cut the whole bags of coffee, and shake them into new bags; they shook the value of half a hundred weight or upwards into each bag, to the number of eighteen bags; then they sent them on board the boats that lay alongside, to carry them away; Hudson was the waterman who took them away; they went towards London Bridge, and where they went I do not know.

Where were the other Excise officers? - They were asleep between decks; the other two Excise officers, and one of the Custom-house officers, heard a noise, and they got up, but it was all over then; this was on Saturday night, I came on shore the Sabbath day for a clean shirt, and I enquired for Mr. Ashton, or Mr. Cotton, and they were both in the country, I came on shore on the Monday night, and they were not at home; I then left word for them to send somebody to assist me, for there were underhand doings going forward; I had not been on board long before Mr. Harris and Hudson came to me, and asked me if they might go down again; Mr. Warren was then ill in bed, they blamed me a good deal, and said I was a simpleton, because I would not let them; they said I might as well put two or three guineas in my pocket as not, I told them if they would give me ten or twenty guineas they should not; then on Tuesday morning I wrote a letter to Mr. Ashton, to insist on somebody coming down to assist me, or else I would not stay any longer; on Wednesday Mr. Ashton and Mr. Scott's Clerk, came down, and I told them; they ordered me to come on shore that night, and to meet them, and I told them the whole story, the same as I do now, and Mr. Scott's Clerk took it down, and he wrote to Mr. Scott thereon.

Who was put in your place? - One Bear I went on board again on Thursday morning, then on Thursday afternoon Mr. Scott sent his Clerk down with this Bear, and I came away I never was on board the ship afterwards.

Cross examined by Mr. Fielding. Now Jeffreys you do not recollect exactly, you say, how long you had been on board this ship before the 6th? - About a fortnight.

During that time you was pretty drunk I believe? - I never was disguised in liquor but the first night that I went, then I was a little.

What did you and Mr. Willey disagree about? - Who do you mean.

A gentleman that was on board the ship? - We disagreed about nothing, he came to me after we gave over work, says he, you dog who sent you here.

Did not he complain of marking the bags in a particular way? - No, he did not.

Were not complaints made to Mr. Scott about you? - Not that I know of.

Was not you once turned out of the ship and sent on shore? - No, Sir, only that night as that gentleman swore at me, he said, he would throw me overboard, and I said, I would not give him the trouble, I would go without.

That night you was drunk? - No, I was not.

Mr. Warren and you disagreed? - No.

Now Jeffreys how many bags of coffee or handkerchiefs of coffee, have you carried out of the ship? - None.

Court. You cannot ask him that, it is not a legal question.

Mr. Fielding. My Lord, he says none;

To Jeffreys. Do you know Mr. Long? - No, I do not know that I do.

He keeps a public house nearly opposite where the ship lay? - Oh! where we had our victuals dressed, yes, I know that gentleman.

On the 6th you say that Warren came on board with Harris? - Yes, he did between ten and eleven.

How many officers were there either of excise or customs on board the the ship at time? - There were two Excise-officers and one Custom House Officer.

What became of them? - They were asleep.

Had either of these officers on that night said any thing to you upon deck? - No, only asked me to watch that night.

Did they give you any particular directions as to calling them up, or alarming them if any thing happened? - No, they did not.

Then Mr. Warren and his companions sent for you and asked a favour of you? ha! - Yes.

And you went with them? - Yes, I granted it, and went down with them.

You saw what was doing there? - Yes.

Did you tell the Excise and Custom House Officers of it? - No, I did not.

Why did not you? - Because I did not, I was afraid they would do me a mischief, they awoke just as the coffee was gone away.

Did you tell them of it that night? - Yes, they knew of it that night.

Did you tell them of it that night? - Yes, they asked and I told them.

Then the noise being made, they got up in consequence of that noise? - Yes, and the coffee was just gone over the ship's side.

What passed the next day between you and the officers? - Nothing, no more than common, I do not remember any thing material.

Recollect yourself, as you go along, next day nothing passed in particular, but you went on shore for your shirt? - Yes, and I came on board that night.

You was not at all afraid of coming on board that night? - No, I was not.

You went on shore again on Monday? - Yes, and came on board again on Monday night, I did not stay on shore an hour.

Did any conversation either on the Monday or Sunday, any thing at all about this business, take place between you and the Excise and Custom House Officers? - No.

On Wednesday you was up in a room with Mr. Scott? - Yes.

Did it fall to your lot to examine the men, or look over them when they were at work in the hold? - I took account of the bags as they were taken out of the hold to put over into the lighter.

Then you saw the men that were employed at work on the Saturday in the hold? - Yes.

What time did they leave the work? - About six.

What were their names? - I cannot tell their names.

Then the men that were employed in this hold must know the state of the hold as well as you? - They might know the state of the bags, the batches were put over, I do not know who had the key, there used to be about ten or a dozen men in the hold.

On Monday morning I take it for granted they went to work again? - Yes.

The same men that had finished the business in the hold on Saturday night, renewed their employ on the Monday morning in the hold? - Yes.

Then they must have known the condition of the hold? - Yes.

Did you say any thing to these men about the business? - No, not at all.

Not a word? - Not a word.

They went on their business as they had done before? - Yes.

How long might it take you up to inspect this employ that was carrying on in the hold on Saturday night? - It was an hour and half.

Were none of the other sailors on board the ship disturbed by this noise but the Custom House Officers? - There was only one sailor on board and he was asleep.

To which of these particular officers was it, that you told the business on Saturday night? - I cannot say particularly.

Shall I put you in mind of his name? - They were all together.

Do you remember Pearce coming on board that ship that night? - I do not know his name.

Had not you particular instructions from one of the men if any thing happened to call him out of his hammock? - No, I had not.

What became of you after the Thursday? - I was at home and we went before the Justice and took out a warrant against these Gentlemen, on Friday they were apprehended.

Then this business had slept from the Saturday night, all Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and on the Thursday you told this story, and they were taken up on Friday? - Yes.

What has become of you since that time? - I have been down in the country in Northamptonshire.

What has supported you in the country? - Hard labour, I am a poor labourer.

Have you had no other support while you was in the country? - No, I have not.

What do you call hard labour? - Going to plough.

That has been your employ? - Yes, and sowing.

How long ago is it since Mr. Scott sent for you up to town? - I came up last Thursday was se'nnight by Mr. Scott's desire by a letter from him.

Did Mr. Scott give you no money to go into the country? - No.

Not a halfpenny? - No, I had no more than my wages.

Were there any complaints made of you during this fortnight by any of the officers that were known to any of the men? - I do not know that there was.

Recollect, because there are many sailors here? - There never was any thing mentioned to me, I never quarrelled with any of them, nor they with me.

You were the man that went into the cabbin with Mr. Warren, and he asked a favour of you in this manner that you have mentioned? - Yes.

Mr. Runnington. Have you been accustomed to be put on board vessels of this sort? - No, I never was on board one before: Yes, I was sent on board the America by Captain Wallis.

Was not you turned away from that American prize? - No other way than this, I staid while Mr. Wallis wrote an answer and sent back, I suppose I was not there half an hour: He ordered me a little grog.

That was the first vessel and this was the second: Who had the keys of the hold? - Mr. Warren, when he was on board, had them in his care.

What was the name of the Custom-house Officer? - I cannot recollect his name.

Do you recollect the name of Mr. Pearce? - Yes, that was his name.

Was that the Custom-house Officer? - Yes.

Was he the gentleman to whom you communicated this intelligence on the Saturday night; I told him the whole transaction.

What is the name of the other Excise Officer? - I cannot recollect.

Did not Hudson immediately surrender himself? - I was not there.

When you was before the magistrate did not you give an information of this sort, that all the while you was upon the deck; that you was not in the hold of the ship but upon the deck of the ship? - I was in the hold.

Did not you there swear that you was upon the deck and not in the hold? - No, I did not.

Court. Are the informations returned? - Yes.

Court. In what situation was Hudson? He came as the waterman to take the coffee away, and was employed by the others.

That night? - Yes.

Was he in the cabbin with the other three? - I cannot say he was.

Court to Mr. Silvester. Have you any other evidence than Jeffreys to charge Hudson? - No, my Lord.

Court. Then surely there is not the smallest pretence to charge him, a waterman employed by the commanding officer; how is he to know? If it is desired by the prisoner's council I shall take the verdict of the Jury upon Hudson now.

Gentlemen of the Jury,

There are four prisoners you see indicted in this case, the Prize Master, the Mate of the ship, the Excise Officer, and Hudson, who it now appears in the evidence, was in no capacity or trust whatsoever on board the ship, had no knowledge of what passed, and was only a waterman employed that evening to bring some boats to carry away the coffee that was brought to him by the others: The Waterman being thus employed by the persons who had the apparent and rightful authority on board the ship and the direction of her cargo; it was impossible that he should know whether they were doing a justisiable or unjustifiable act, unless Jeffreys had objected before Hudson, therefore, without anticipating at all your consideration of the other prisoners, the council for the prisoner Hudson now desire your verdict.

Mr. Fielding. My Lord, we do not press it.

Court to Jury. They do not it seems now press your verdict, till the whole comes under your consideration.


Examined by Mr. Silvester.

You was put on board this ship I understand, on the Thursday that Jeffreys went away? - Yes, on the 11th.

Did any thing particular pass? - Nothing passed only I went with Mr. Scott's clerk with a letter, and delivered that letter to Mr. Warren; Mr. Warren read that letter, and told this man that was here that he was to go on shore; I took the pen out of this man's hand, and took an account of what went out of the ship, I staid and delivered the ship; Mr. Harris told me he was glad the fellow was gone, for he had detected him of robbing the ship of coffee several times, likewise he said to Mr. Warren, you know it, and we must all be in one story.

Court. How did you understand that? - I took it as meaning only to make a regular complaint of Jefferys.

Court to Mr. Warren. Do you wish Sir, to say any thing yourself? - My Lord I leave it to the council.

Mr. Hodge and Harris. We leave it to our council.

Mr. Fielding. My Lord, I beg to observe that Jefferys stands in the situation of an accomplice, and there is no other evidence to corroborate his testimony; the felony itself, if committed, depends upon his evidence; the whole charge stands on his single evidence, no goods are found, nor is there a single tittle of evidence in corroboration of what the accomplice has so deposed; I take the liberty of saying in confidence that there is not.

Court. You beg the question, that this man stands as an accomplice.

Mr. Fielding. My Lord, if a felony has been at all committed, as he has related it, he makes himself an accomplice by being present, going there, aiding and abetting, consenting to it.

Court. How do you make him aiding and abetting?

Mr. Fielding. My Lord he was there, and he states that a favour was asked of him, as if his assent was a necessary ingredient before they could get to the hold.

Court. If they had asked him to go with them to steal the coffee out of the bags, and he had so gone down, I should have been of opinion with you, but if they asked him to go down for a different purpose, for a matter of favour at least, if not of perquisite and right, to go down to take the sweepings; and as he says, that they then immediately proceeded to do quite a different thing, and to commit a felony in his presence, he being a single man, and not daring to call on the officers, that does by no means make him an accomplice.

Mr. Fielding. He says they asked him the favor to go down to take some sweepings.

Court. You do not fix him with a felonious intention, it is certainly too much to charge a man who is present at a felony, and does not instantly oppose it, it is too much to make him an accomplice.

Mr. Fielding. Your Lordship sees he was by all the time, further than that, he does not attempt to prevent them, nor to dissuade them from it.

Court. Take the distinction with you, I agree, that a man who is present and permits a felony, is not an innocent man, but I do not know that he is an accomplice.

Prisoner's Council. He does not even dissuade them, he attends the boats, and observes them put it into the boat.

Court. Mr. Fielding, as you have not an opportunity, by the rules of the Court of making a defence for your clients, you have taken a very ingenious method of letting the Jury know your objections, but I am of opinion, that his conduct does not make him an accomplice, but that his is evidence to go to the Jury.

Mr. Fielding. All the observations I have now made, either in your Lordship's hearing, or the Jury's, have been drawn from me merely by the evidence that the man gave himself.

Court. As I have given my opinion that he does not appear in the light of an accomplice, and that there is evidence to be left to the Jury of this being the property of Scott and Co. or of persons unknown; any thing that you now say will be addressed to the Jury indeed, therefore I must stop you; and I am also of opinion, that although the Captain of a ship has a qualified property in the cargo of the ship, yet he certainly has no right to carry it away by night, that is certainly a felonious taking: A man may feloniously take away his own property in the night, his property being mixed with others, if he takes it away with a felonious purpose; if in a warehouse in the city where goods are kept, one of the partners was to come in the night, and take away part of these goods, it would be burglary.

Mr. Fielding. My Lord, that is a trespass committed upon the possession of another; but I beg my Lord, again to declare that I have not taken a single objection owing to my consciousness of any weakness of this cause.

Court. I think the objection a very fair and proper one, and by no means frivolous, though my opinion is against it.

Witnesses for the Prisoners.


(Examined by Mr. Fielding.)

You are a Custom-house Officer? - Yes.

Do you remember being on board this ship on the night of the 6th of September? - Yes.

How was you employed on board the ship that night? - I was employed in taking an account of the cargo.

Was Jefferys on board that night? - Yes all night.

What time of the night was it that you spoke to him on the deck? - About two o'clock in the morning.

Had you seen him before you went to bed? - Yes.

What time did you go to bed? - About ten, he said he was to take the watch upon deck.

Did you give him any directions? - I told him to call either of us up when he was tired of walking, either in one hour or two hours, whenever he thought proper to call, if he was sleepy or heavy or any thing to call another man up; there was a lighter laid alongside partly loaded with coffee, that we had been discharging that day, and I told him if any thing happened to call us.

Did he call you up? - No, I got up about two o'clock.

Did you see him when you came upon deck? - He was upon deck.

Did he say any thing to you? - He did not say any thing at all to me, he did not mention a word to me then, nor to the other officers in my hearing, not a word of this fort was mentioned to me, I did not hear any thing of their being taken into custody, till the latter end of the week: I had no apprehension at all of any misdemeanor being on board the ship.

What became of Jeffreys when you got up at two? - I do not know where he went, I left him upon deck when I went up, I did not stop there five minutes, all was quiet, I heard nothing of it till Mr. Bear came down in his room and Mr. Scott's Clerk with him.

How long had you been on board the ship before the 6th? - I cannot tell, a week or fortnight, I came on board her at Gravesend.

You may know something of the behaviour of Jeffreys for that week or fortnight that he was on board till the 6th of September? - He always behaved very well, he was always very quiet.

You did not know of Willey's objection? - No, I never heard of it.

Court. What are the names of the other officers on board? - The Custom-house Officer's name was Canham.

Who are the other persons? - Lloyd, Stevens, and Harris.

Cross-examined by Mr. Silvester.

What waked you that morning? - Nothing particular.

Did any thing particular wake you that night? - Nothing at all.

When you came on board did you observe nothing, no boats nor nothing? - No, I went down again.

How do you recollect the night? - By hearing of it afterwards.


What are you? - A Custom-house Officer.

Was you on board the prize you have heard of, the 6th of September? - Yes.

Did you see Jeffreys there that night? - Yes.

At what time? - I went on shore to order some beer towards dusk and staid a little longer than usual, I went on board about ten o'clock, I saw Jeffreys then, he was walking the deck, I says to him, are you keeping watch, he said, yes; says he, you may go into your hammock, very well says I, mind and do not leave the deck unguarded: And if any thing particular should happen call me or Mr. Pearce, I did not get up till morning.

Did you hear any disturbance? - No, I saw nothing at all of him till the morning, in the morning I saw him with his great coat as if he was going on shore, I had no conversation with him on this affair.

Was there a lighter laying along side? - There was, partly loaded.

Who had the care of it? - We had, there was no other watchman but himselfor us.

What was the lighter laden with? - Partly coffee in bags.

When did you come on board? - I came on board more than a fortnight before the 6th of September, I was on board when Jeffreys first came on board the first night; I saw him staggering up towards the cabbin door, he said, I am sent on board here by Mr. Scott, and I want to have a bed, says I, you must take the same bed as we do, we lay down there below; about five or six days afterwards I was walking the deck and he comes upon deck with his coat and wanted to go on shore, a lighter lay alongside the ship, he was so much in liquor that the two watermen there would not take him on shore; he fell into the lighter; Mr. Warren hearing a noise upon deck came to my assistance, and took him by the hand and led him on board; I never saw him in liquor any other time.

Mr. Runnington. You swear Jeffreys did not communicate this to you either that night or the next morning? - I never came upon deck till the morning.

What were the names of the watermen? - I do not know.

Council for Prosecution. Is it so uncommon to be drunk on board ship? - Yes, for officers.

Mr. Fielding. You know Harris? - He is an exciseman on board.

Where was he that evening? - He had liberty from the surveyors to lay on shore that night.

Did he lay on shore that night? - Yes, to the best of my knowledge, I did not see him on board that night, I will not be sure whether I saw him Sunday or Monday.

What was the latest hour that you saw him at? - It might be seven.

Not afterwards? - No, I went to bed at ten o'clock, I went on shore at seven, and came back between nine and ten; I did not see Mr. Harris there then.

Court to Pearce. Was Harris on board that night? - No, Sir, not to my knowledge, I saw him go on shore but I never saw him on board.

Mr. Silvester. You were not upon deck at ten o'clock? - No.

Who were the other officers on board? - There was one Joseph Lloyd and one Thomas Stevens .


Examined by Mr. Fielding.

You were a sailor on board this vessel? - Yes.

And you worked in the hold in unloading the coffee? - I worked on Saturday night till the batches were put down, and I went to work on the Monday morning, and to the best of my knowledge it was in the same situation in the morning; I went on shore about half after six o'clock.

Did you hear any thing on the Monday morning said about this? - I never heard a single word till the day that Mr. Warren was taken at his dinner from his own house.

Do you know Jeffreys? - Yes.

What sort of a fellow is he? - A short old genius something like myself.

He is an elderly man? - Yes, I was always employed in the hold, he used sometimes to come and pay us a visit down in the hold.

What sort of a ship was she? - She was a dreadful leaky ship, I can swear I have seen the coffee coming out of her sides, as thick as my arm, we were obliged to have two pumps often, and constantly one, the old bags were so rotten that we were obliged to shove them into the new bags directly, and preserve the marks how we could.

Court. The coffee by that means was separated about a good deal in the hold? - Yes.

When you went down on the Monday morning, did you observe any of the new bags cut open, that is between the Saturday night and the Monday morning? - No, I did not look particularly, I never suspected any thing of the kind.

Council for the Prosecution. You did not look particularly? - No.


I was on board this prize on the 6th of September, I came from Barbadoes in her, I was at work in the hold till six o'clock in the evening, the hatches were then shut up, and the keys given to Mr. Warren, on the Monday morning I perceived no difference at all in the state of the coffee, as I could find.

Did you perceive any good bags cut open? - No.

What sort of a ship was she? - We had two pumps almost always going, we pumped out a great deal of the coffee.

Do you know Jeffreys? - Yes.

When did you first hear that tale of the coffee? - Never till Mr. Warren was taken up.

How many days after? - Six or seven days.

How many days was Jeffreys there after the sixth? - I do not know exactly the day that he went from the ship, I saw him there one day or two.

What sort of a Captain did you fail under? - A very good one, as good a gentleman as ever I wish to cross salt water with.

Prisoner's Council to Gardner. What sort of a Captain had you? - A very good man as ever I knew.

Was he a good sailor? - Was he! aye; he is a sailor, or else I do not know how the ship would have been brought home, I believe the Dutch would have taken her, we had eleven of them to take care of.

If he had not been a good sailor, Mr. Scott would never have had any of the coffee, I believe? - No, that he would not, we pumped all day and night too; I wish Mr. Scott had the trouble I had.


I perceived no alteration in the state of the coffee, the Captain behaved very just to me, he gave me victuals and liquors when he had any; while we stood at the pump, there was more coffee came out than water; I laid on shore that night, there was some old bags there; there were some that if you took them up, the coffee would all fall out.

Council for Prosecution. On the Monday morning you did not examine particularly? - As we left the work on Saturday night, so we found it on Monday morning, no alteration at all that I saw.

Captain SAVAGE sworn.

I am Captain of a man of war, I know Mr. Warren, he was master of a man of war when the prize was taken: Hodge I am a stranger to.

Mr. Fielding. I will ask your opinion of your brother sailor? - He is a very good seaman, a very good officer, and a very brave man; I recommended him to navigate the ship, being one of the captors.

Court. You would not have recommended him, if you had not thought he was a person worthy to be trusted? - Most certainly not.


I believe you laid in the cabbin on the 6th? - On Saturday night when the men left work, the master asked me to go on shore to eat some oysters, and just as the town-clock struck ten, they came on board, the master turned into his cabbin, the mate staid some few minutes after he turned in, then the Dutch lad came on board, and he came into the cabbin to light his pipe, he said he had met with a friend, he pulled out his watch and said it was just turned of eleven, he smoaked his pipe almost an hour, and I heard the town-clock strike twelve, then they were both in their cots asleep, and it was near one before I closed my eyes, and they were asleep then.

Did any conversation take place in the cabbin more than what you have mentioned? - No, Sir.

Was Jefferys called into the cabbin? - He never came in after eight at all.

Mr. Runnington. You know Harris the officer? - Yes, I saw him the next day upon deck, I did not see him that evening at all.

Council for the Prosecution. Saturday evening the 6th of September, what made you remember it so well? - By the day of the month.

How came you to recollect it was the 6th day of September? - By the account I heard them talk afterwards that it was the 6th day of the month, I know it was the Saturday night; and I heard them talk of it since.

Did you go before the Justice? - Not the first time, I was the second; I always lay in the Captain's cabbin.

Who were the officers on board? - There were Mr. Pearce, Mr. Canham, and others, I went to bed at ten, and I did not fall asleep till one o'clock, the Captain and the mate turned in about a quarter after ten o'clock; I never saw them out of their cots till the next morning; I know Hudson.

Did you see him there that night? - No, Sir.

Did you get up that night? - No, I did not get up nor ever heard any stirring.

Lieutenant GOODSON sworn.

I am Lieutenant of a man of war, I know Mr. Hodge, he was with me two years, I look upon him to be a very honest man, I believe it was through my means he was sent in the ship, I said, I supposed they might put that trust in him which the ship deserved, and I looked upon him to be as valuable a man as any in the ship; he was a worthy good officer.

Court. The best proof of the characters of these people is the trust reposed in them by the officers.

Mr. Fielding. I have many more witnesses, but if I had a hundred I would not trouble your Lordship any further on this head.

Mr. Runnington. Will your Lordship give me leave to call a witness for Harris?


I am suryeyor of the excise.

Do you know Harris? - He was a tideman on board the Arend Op Zee; on the 6th day of September last, he applied to me for leave of absence, and I signed his book,

"leave from evening nine to morning six;" and in my book and my two initials, W. P. this book belongs to Harris; that is the stock that they take in the ship every day, and the delivery.

Court (looking at the book.) Gentlemen, this is very clear, the dates are regular.

Pearce. I have known Harris two years, he always bore a good character, in my opinion he is a very honest man.

Council for Prosecution. Where was he that day? - I cannot tell.


I belong the Custom House, I know Harris extremely well, I have known him twenty years, he was with me on the 6th day of September last, and slept at my house that night.

Court. How do you remember the day? - On the Friday he wrote to me that he was at Clerkenwell Bridewell, he often sleeps at my house, and has no other habitation.

Court. How came he in Clerkenwell Bridewell? - I do not know.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen of the Jury: This is a case which has taken up a great deal of time, and deserves great deal of your attention, for it is a charge against four men of exceeding good character, and some of them in respectable situations, and if the charge be true the crime is of a very aggravated nature, and public justice is greatly concerned in the punishment of offences of this fort, when clearly and satisfactorily proved: on the other hand if the charge is not a true one, it is a wicked and malicious prosecution and you will not grudge the time (though at this late hour) that may be necessarily taken up in investigating this business, or in my summing up the whole of the evidence to you with such observations as may occur to me there on. [ Here the learned Judge summed up the evidence on both sides and then added] I will just observe with respect to Jeffreys, that he does not stand in the light of an accomplice, if he did, the objection taken by Mr. Fielding would have been a good one; there being no other evidence against the prisoners: but the utmost that Jeffreys can be charged with, for his conduct from his own story, (if true) is that of culpable timidity, or easiness, in consenting to go down to the hold for a purpose, not a very proper one, at that time of night, though not a felonious one; and the credit of Jeffreys (if his own story be true) is undoubtedly affected by his conduct on that occasion: This prosecution rests on the single testimony of Jeffreys, who has positively sworn to a felony being committed by three of these prisoners: to be sure it is very unlikely that 3 men should chuse to commit a felony for an hour and an half, in the presence of a man that was set to watch over them, and this man not immediately interfering or alarming the Custom House Officers that were then on board: another circumstance is, he says they cut the bags, now you have heard what has been sworn as to the state of the bags you will weigh the whole case; it is peculiarly your province so to do: and if you are convinced in your consciences that a robbery was committed, and the evidence of Jeffreys is true, then you will find three of the prisoners guilty, (for there is no evidence of any kind against Hudson,) if you are of a contrary opinion or have any doubt upon the matter, in that case you will acquit them.



Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 June 2023), October 1783 (t17831029-5).

Old Bailey Proceedings advertisements, 29th October 1783.

Trials at Law, Arguments of Counsel, &c. carefully taken in Short-Hand, and copied with Dispatch by E. HODGSON, Writer of these Proceedings, No. 35, Chancery Lane.

This Day is Published, Price only Half a Crown, the Second Edition, with Additions, of SHORT-HAND on an IMPROVED PLAN; The Alphabet consisting of Sixteen Characters only, by E. HODGSON;

Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, S. BLADON, Pater-noster Row, and J. CLARKE, Portugal Street.

N. B. Although this Book, which contains an Explanatory Copper-plate is a sufficient Instructor of itself, yet if any Doubts should arise, they shall be removed on Application to the Author without any additional Expence.

Short-hand taught at Home and Abroad in FOUR LESSONS, if required.

The Trial of LIEUTENANT COLONEL COCKBURNE, at the Horse Guards, for the loss of St. Eustatius, Price 3 s. published from Mr. Hodgson's Short Hand Notes.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 June 2023), October 1783 (t17831029-5).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 29th October 1783.

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON; AND ALSO, The Gaol Delivery for the County of Middlesex; HELD AT JUSTICE HALL in the OLD BAILEY, On Wednesday the 29th of OCTOBER, 1783, and the following Days;

Being the EIGHTH SESSION in the Mayoralty of The Right Hon. Nathaniel Newnham , Esq; LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON.

TAKEN IN SHORT HAND BY E. HODGSON, And Published by Authority.



Printed for E. HODGSON (the Proprietor) And Sold by J. WALMSLAY, No. 35, Chancery Lane, and S. BLADON, No. 13, Pater-noster Row.




KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON, &c.