Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 23 May 2018), May 1785, trial of THOMAS BAKER HOPKINS (t17850511-10).

THOMAS BAKER HOPKINS, Miscellaneous > returning from transportation, 11th May 1785.

526. THOMAS BAKER HOPKINS was indicted for feloniously returning from transportation, and being found at large on the 18th of April last.

(The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoner.)

The Case opened by Mr. Silvester.

JOSEPH HILL sworn.

I am clerk to Mr. Partis, solicitor to the Post-office; this is a copy of the record of the prisoner's conviction, in the year 1782, which I examined with the original record, and it is a true copy; this is Mr. Shelton's hand-writing.

(The record read and examined by the indictment.)

- LEE sworn.

I remember the prisoner; I lived ten years with Mr. Akerman; he was tried for robbing the mail upon Finchley Common; he was respited for the humanity he shewed the boy; he received sentence in September, 1782, of transportation for seven years.

Prisoner. Was you present when I was convicted for this? - No, I was not, but I know he was convicted, because I frequently locked him in the cells; he was delivered on board the Censor bulk on the 11th of January, 1783; I went down with him.

Court. It must be proved that the prisoner at the bar was the man that was convicted of this: how many more received the same sentence? - A great many more.

How came you to recollect that? - It was long vacation, and it is the usual time they receive them.

JOHN LUCY sworn.

I am a constable.

Was you in Court in the year 1782? - No, I was not, I apprehended the prisoner the 18th of April last, in Brick-lane, Old-street; I have known him some years.

Prisoner. In what situation did you find my apartment when you apprehended me? - He was in bed then, it was between nine and ten; it was a scene of industry, and there was the appearance of two trades going on.

HENRY LOGAN sworn.

I had the direction of one of the hulks; I know the prisoner very well, he was in my custody four months, from thence he was put on board the Swift, bound to Africa: I was not on board when he was brought, it appeared by the ship's books that he was on board the Censor the 12th of January, 1783.

Prisoner. Who delivered me to the Censor? - I was not on board the hulk when you came; I saw him on board the Swift.

Prisoner. I wish to call Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Owen.

JOHN OWEN sworn.

I am servant to Mr. Akerman; I delivered the prisoner on board, with Mr. Pitt, and some soldiers; but Mr. Lee was not there; but the prisoner is the man, it is impossible for a fellow servant of mine to be on board a brig with me, without my seeing him; he was not on board, Mr. Pitt knows the same.

Mr. Silvester. Lee and you are no longer fellow servants? - No.

How many boats full had you? - One barge; every one of us, excepting one, who staid to mind the gaol, accompanied him to the waterside, that one is dead; Lee went down with us to the waterside, and only Pitt and me went down to the hulks, besides soldiers; we went with eighty.

Was you present at his trial? - Yes, it was for robbing the mail, I cannot recollect the postboy's name.

Was you present when he received sentence? - I was.

ROBERT MATTHEWS sworn.

I have known him three years and an half; when the man came from on board the ship, he came to me; he has behaved very well; I employed him to learn my branch of business, which is in the watch way; he was with me six or seven months after I learnt him his business; here are my masters to prove that he has worked for them sievernce.

JOHN DALTON sworn.

I am a watch-maker; the prisoner has worked for me twelve months; a very industrious man, I never sent to him in my life that I found him out; and I always could depend on my work according to his promise.

JOHN LUCAS sworn.

I am a watch-movement maker; about this time twelvemonth his wife came in to ask for work at our house, and I gave him twelve or eighteen shillings worth of work, I always had the work when I sent for it; I never saw him but once before, the woman always came.

ADAM MARTIN sworn.

I am a mathematical instrument maker; I have known the prisoner upwards of fifteen months, and he has had ten or twenty pounds worth of work in his room; he was sober and industrious.

WILLIAM WOODCHAFE sworn.

He worked for me seven years before the unhappy affair; he sent for me after he was liberated, to know if I would have any thing to do with him; I heard that he worked very honest and industrious in the watch making branch; I sent him a parcel of work, which he had in his room at the time he was taken; I went into his room, and I never saw such a scene of industry in my life: I have that opinion of him, that if he was liberated, I would take him into my employ, as before; he was my foreman.

JOSEPH BUTLER sworn.

About twelve months ago the prisoner came to me, and asked me for a little work; I said, I am very sorry to see you now, but I will give you all my out-door work, and he has worked for me this twelvemonth, and he behaved my honest and just.

EDWARD BLUNT sworn.

I am a watch-maker; I have known the prisoner better than a twelve-month, a very hard-working industrious man; I have been frequently in his room.

ELIZABETH WEBB sworn.

I have known him five months, he lived at my house; I never saw anything but honesty and industry.

Court to Prisoner. Do you call anybody else? - Nobody else, my Lord; I return you many thanks for hearing these; I beg to speak before you deliver the charge. I own myself, my Lord, to be the person that was found at large; but through a good character, I hope you will take it into consideration, and shew me mercy: since I have made my escape, I applied to a friend, Mr. Matthews, and learned the business, and in the course of seven weeks I found I could earn a living; he recommended me to Mr. Dalton; when the watch business was slack, I applied to Mr. Woodchase, and I did at different times work at this business also; and through the mercy and favour that I hope the divine goodness will lead you to shew to me, I trust I shall find favour.

GUILTY, Death .

Jury. We humbly recommend him to mercy in the strongest manner that can be .

Mr. Recorder to Prisoner. In strict law you are guilty, but your conduct has been so different from that of others, that I shall particularly mention your case to the King.

Prisoner. My Lord, I have been in my room for eight or ten months, and never been out of doors.

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. ROSE.