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Old Bailey Proceedings - Trial Accounts
London's Central Criminal Court

14th January 1743
John Deacon, Thomas Blair
Sexual Offences - sodomy

104, 105. John Deacon and Thomas Blair were indicted, John Deacon for unlawfully and wickedly laying Hands on Thomas Blair, with an Intent to commit the detestable Crime of Sodomy; and Thomas Blair, for unlawfully, voluntarily, and wickedly permitting and suffering the said John Deacon to lay Hands on him the said Thomas, with an Intent to commit the said detestable Crime of Sodomy, Oct. 18th.

Robert Pert. I am one of the Constables of the Ward of Farringdon within ; there is a Court behind the Chapter-House in St Paul's Church Yard, which is suspected as a Place which People of this Sort frequent. On the 18th of October, between twelve and one in the Morning, I was going my Rounds with my Partner; when I came to this Court, I heard a Whispering:

I went softly into the Court, imagining something of this Kind was transacting; to Appearance, at first, I only saw the youngest, whose Name is Deacon, for he was full against the other, and seemed to hug round him; his Breeches were down, and his Shirt appeared: I then thought it was a Man and a Woman, for the youngest was in the same Motion as a Man is when he is embracing a Woman; they were so close, that if I had had the Presence of Mind to put my Hand between them, I could not have done it.

I called out, and said, In the Name of God, what are you doing? Who, or what are you? They seemed to jostle before they could get from one another; and, seeing they were two Men, I called out for Assistance: They were both of them with their Breeches down.

When my Partner came, I told him they were a Couple of Sodomites, and he laid hold of them: Then I went and called the Watchman, and carried them to the Watch-house. I asked them, what they did there?

Blair said, he went to ease Nature. I think, said I, it is in a very odd Way . D--n you, Sir, said he, if I must tell you, I was at S-----te . [The Witness went up to the Prisoner to look at him]. I am sure he is the Person, he has a long Beard on now; I suppose that is to disguise himself; he was well dressed and genteel then.

As he said he went to ease Nature, I order'd a Watchman to take a Lanthorn to see, and I went myself, and there was no such Thing. I asked him what he had to say for himself? he said, he was a Gentleman, and Master of Languages, and I used him ill: He sent for some People to come to his Character, but no body came; and the other had but an indifferent Character: So I committed one to one Compter, and the other to the other.

I carried them before Alderman Calvert, and he examined them separate: I was present at their Examination, and they did not agree in their Accounts; Deacon said he went to piss, and Blair said he went to sh-te. Blair said he never saw Deacon, but Deacon said he saw Blair, and that he went to piss, and said he would piss there; and that Blair said to Deacon, he might, if he would.

Blair begged of me, as he was going before the Alderman, that he might speak to me in private: Says he, It is in your Power to ruin me for ever, or to save me: Says I, I will say nothing but what I saw, and that I will upon Oath.

Blair. What Posture was I in? Was I not easing Nature?

Pert. He did make a Motion of squatting two or three Times when I first saw him. - He was not sitting down, he was standing up, shuffling to put up his Breeches. - I could see them perfectly by the Lamp, though they got to the darkest Corner of the Court.

Blair. I will speak as modestly as I can. Ask him whether he saw the Flesh standing to this Abomination.

Pert. I cannot say any thing to that - I had no Light of my own, there was a sufficient Light of the Lamp - I was within a Quarter of a Yard of them when I called out, and then I drew back.

Blair. I did not move from the Place where I squatted down, till he took me by the Collar.

Pert. I did not touch him by the Collar.

Blair. This one Question will be found material: I do not know whether that honourable Gentleman is upon the Bench that I was before; I told him the same Story, that I was easing Nature, and this Gentleman made the same Objection then as he does now, that he could not see it: I said, Mr Alderman, what I am going to propose is not cleanly or decent, but if you will please to order any Servant to go along with me into some back Place, I will convince them that I put that into my Breeches, by his pulling me away in a Hurry, that I should have left behind me: Ask him whether I did not say so?

Pert. He did propose that; but he might easily have done that in the Night-time, I should have smelt him in the Watch-House, if any such Thing as that had been then, for he sat close to me a great while. As he was going from the Compter to Guild-Hall , he said he hoped the young Man had not confessed any thing; I told him I should not trouble myself with what he had said, he would hear that when he came there.

Peter Line. The 17th of Oct. last was my Watch-Night ; Mr Pert and I watch together, and we usually go two or three Times round the Ward of a Night; as we were going our Rounds, Mr Pert went into the Court behind the Chapter-House; after he had been there some Time, he called out, Hip, Partner; What's the Matter, said I; he said he had caught these two Chaps, so and so;

that this young Fellow, Deacon, was next to him, and his Shirt was out of his Breeches, they were so close together that he could not draw his Stick between them; that he stood over them the best Part of a Minute, and then he called out, and asked them what they were about, and they said they came there to ease themselves.

I took Blair hold by the Collar, and Deacon by the Arm; Deacon was buttoning his Breeches at that Time; Blair's Breeches were down , and he said, D--n your Soul Mon, let me put up my Breeches; but I would not let him, and brought him half way to the Toy-Shop with his Breeches down; Blair would fain have got away, and if the young Man had endeavoured as much to get away as he did, I believe we could not have held them; he sent to several Persons to his Character, one in particular was his Landlord, a Baker, in St Martin's le Grand , but none came.

Blair. Did not I say what I was doing of, and that you hindered me from doing a particular Thing?

Line. You did not then say so, you did afterwards in the Watch-House, and I went with six or seven Watchmen, and we looked all the Way we came, and you said, It is not there, it is on the other Side; but there was nothing - we were all going to the Compter then - He did tell the Alderman, the next Day, that I had occasioned him to soil his Breeches - When he came to the Watch-House, he said he had been doing so and so, but he did not say any thing of that when we took him.

Richard Wright, Watchman. On the 17th of October, as I was going my Rounds, about Ten o'Clock, I saw the Prisoner, Blair, in the Place where he was taken; at half an Hour after 10 he was there, at 11 he was there, and at half an Hour after 11, alone all the Times, and just after the Clock struck 12, as I was calling the Hour, the Constables called out, and I run to their Assistance, and found this Blair with his Breeches about his Heels;

Oh, said I, you are the Man I have seen so often to Night; he had a Handkerchief about his Head to tie his Hat and Wig on; says I, I know you by your Handkerchief.

Blair. It is impossible for me to disprove this now; but as sure as God is in Heaven, I was not on this Side of St Clement's Church at half an Hour after Ten.

My Lord, that Sunday in the Afternoon, I went to the other End of the Town, to wait on some Gentlemen, and was in Company with several of them from between Three and Four till nigh Eight at Night, and after that had been in two or three Companies between Eight and Nine; I was thinking of coming Home, and it was a pretty heavy Rain then, which obliged me to stay longer than I did design, and I went into a House in the Strand, called the Moor-Cock, to drink a Tankard of Beer in that Time;

with drinking Beer after other Liquors, Wine and Punch, it gave me a Looseness, which has occasioned all this Trouble and Ignominy, and I was obliged to go into a Lane in the Strand to ease myself; as for the Watchman's saying I was there at Ten, he is mistaken above an Hour; when I came by St Bride's Church it rained again;

I went into the Sugar-Loaf, and it was past Eleven before I got out of that House; I had a Friend with me, who would have kept me longer; said I, It is Sunday Night , and my Landlord is an honest, sober Man, and I keep him from Prayers; and if there is a God Above, I speak sincerely; and it is in the Presence of my great God, who sees me, I declare I had no more Thought of committing that accursed Abomination, than I have of blowing up this House;

and as to that Man, I did not speak to him, and I do not know, as I hope for Mercy from God, whether he is a Man or not: I was obliged to squat down in that Place , and had done it two Times by the Way before. Besides, I solemnly declare, that if I was one of the greatest Villains, or most profligate Wretches upon Earth , and had any Inclination that Way , I could not have committed that Abomination, I was so much in Liquor; Do not you think I was too much in Liquor to have committed that Ahomination?

Mr. Pert. He was in high Spirits, not any ways drunk; he talked very well .

Blair. This Imprisonment has almost cost me my Life; I have almost lost my Limbs, my Legs are swelled, and my Feet almost numbed and dead; so that if I was to lie as much longer I should be dead; as to being disguised, I have lost my Clothes and Linnen, or I would not have presumed to have waited on your Lordshipin this Pickle.

Deacon. I went that Night as far as the Cross-Keys on Snow-Hill; the Gates were shut up, so I made the best of my way Home again; and coming through this Place, I stopped to make Water, and a Person came close to me, and said, By my Leave he must sh-t by me, and while he was there, I heard somebody coming very softly; somebody cried out,

What are you doing here? I said, No Ill: Said he presently, What, you are two Buggerers here, I suppose. Said I, There is no such Thing; and presently there came another Person; I was so surprized, that I could not tell who laid hold of me - but they laid hold of me, and said I should go to the Watch-house, and I went very willingly.

Mary Appleby. The Prisoner lived Fellow-Servant with me 22 Years ago, at Mr Reve's, at the Bank-side, Southwark; he ever was accounted a very honest young Fellow: He lived lately, five or six Months, as a Porter to a Druggist at the Swan, in Bishopsgate-street.

Deacon Guilty. Blair Guilty.

[Punishment: imprisonment; pillory]



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