62 Nicholas Eales, alias Thomas Rogers, was indicted for a Misdemeanor in sending a malicious Letter to John Reby, threatning to charge him with sodomitical Practices, except he would supply him with one Guinea.
John Lindot. I am Drawer at the Fountain in Bartholomew-Lane, This Letter directed to John Reby, was deliver'd to me by a Man whom I don't know, and I deliver'd it to Mr. Reby.
Mr. Tidmarsh. I keep the Fountain. Mr. Waldo, with whom John Reby lives, shew'd me this Letter, and appear'd very much provok'd at it; for he said, he had a very good Opinion of his Servant John Reby, and was resolv'd to prosecute the Fellow who sent the Letter, if he could meet with him, and therefore desir'd me to secure any Person that came about it
- The Prisoner came next Day, and enquired for Mr. Reby. I ask'd him if he came about the Letter that was sent the Day before; he said, Yes? I came from the Person who sent it. Do you know him? says I. Yes, says he, very well. Then pray sit down, says I, and I'll send for Reby and his Master.
The Prisoner upon that appear'd uneasy, and wanted to withdraw. No, says I, you must stay now. Sure you won't seize me, says he. Indeed but I will, says I. Then he began to turn his Tale, and said, that he did not come directly from the Person who sent the Letter. That he knew him to be a very wicked Fellow, and knew several others of the Gang who had threatned to swear Sodomy against Reby, and therefore he came purely to save the Young Man's Reputation.
I told him, if that was the Case, he would do a very commendable thing to discover them. Then Mr. Waldo and Reby came in with my Lord-Mayor's Warrant, and I quitted the Room.
Prisoner. I had receiv'd an Injury from the Person who sent the Letter, and therefore was resolv'd to render Reby all the Service I could. And Mr. Tidmarsh told me, that I should be well rewarded.
Mr. Tidmarsh Yes if you discover'd the Person who sent the Letter; and you said you were well acquainted with him.
Prisoner. But some of you prevented me, by putting it in the News; and then the Fellow ran away - when you ask'd me to sit down, I only said I was going to Leaden hall Market.
Court. Is there any Body can prove, that the Prisoner wrote or sent this Letter?
Mr. Tidmarsh. No, we were a little too hasty in seizing him, before we had made a full Discovery.
Court. 'T is undoubtedly a very heinous Offence, and deserves a severe Punishment. But the greater the Crime is, the clearer the Proof ought to be - If the Letter is not prov'd, it cannot be read in Court.
The Jury acquitted the Prisoner.
[Verdict: Not Guilty]