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


20th October 1779

Charles Atwell

Sexual Offences - sodomy


477. CHARLES ATWELL, Gentleman, was indicted for that he feloniously, wickedly, diabolically, and against the order of nature, had a venereal affair with Thomas Read an infant of the age of ten years or thereabouts, and with him the said Thomas Read did feloniously commit and perpetrate the detestable and abominable crime (among Christians not to be named) called Buggery, August 12.

2d. Count for the like crime with the said Thomas Read, August 15.

3d. Count for the like crime with the said Thomas Read, August 22d.

THOMAS READ, called.

O How old are you?

O I am eleven.

O Have you ever been at school?

O Yes,

O Can you read or write?

O Yes,

O Can you say the Lord's Prayer?

O Yes

O Do you know that it is your duty to speak the truth?

O Yes.

Court. Administer the oath to him.


O Where do you live?

O At Lisson Green, Marybone.

O Have you a father?

O Yes.

O What is your father?

O My papa is clerk to the skylight and fanlight manufactory.

O Where is that carried on?

O In Winchester-row Marybone.

O Where does your father live?

O Just by Lisson Green.

O Do you know the prisoner at the bar?

O Yes.

O What is he?

O He was a cutter and drawer to a callico printer.

O How old is he?

O About nineteen.

O How long have you been acquainted with him?

O Ever since he came to lodge there.

O Did he lodge at the same house you did?

O No, he lodged at Mrs. Devine's house.

O How far is Mrs. Devine's from your father's?

O Her house is nine doors round the corner.

O How long have you known the prisoner?

O Ever since he came there.

O How long is that?

O I cannot tell, I believe it is about two or three months. Mrs. Devine did lodge at our-house, then she took a house upon Lisson Green; she came to our house once, a lady and a gentleman came to take lodgings at her house; a gardener, who was at work in her garden, came to tell Mrs. Devine that they were come to her house; I ran before to open the door to let them in; Miss Devine said to me there was a young gentleman that would be a pretty companion for me to play about with; I knew him from that.

O So you first saw him there?

O Yes; and that night, or two or three nights after, he came to our house and looked at our garden.

O How long was it after you was first acquainted with him before any thing passed between him and you that you have now to complain of?

O I believe it was a month or six weeks.

O What was the first thing that passed?

O He asked me whether I had ever seen the king go to chapel, I said no; he told me if I would come some Sunday, he would take me to chapel to see the king; so sometimes on a Sunday I used to go there to see if he would go or not; he used to say he could not, and then I used sometimes to be invited to dinner, or Mrs. Devine invited me to come there in the afternoon; I went there on Sunday; Mr. Atwell was up stairs; I went up to him.

O Was that the morning or the afternoon?

O I cannot tell which it was, but I think it was in the morning before sermon time; I went there in the afternoon; Mrs. Ryder and Mrs. Devine came to our house to know it Mr. Atwell was there; he was not there; Mrs. Ryder persuaded my papa and my mama to go and see their place.

O Was Mrs. Ryder the person that lodged at Mrs. Devine's?

O Yes; she took the lodgings at Mrs. Devine's, Mr. Ryder was gone to be a surgeon in the Glamorgamshire Militia, and Mr. Atwell was with his lady the while; she persuaded me to go and see their pig; they had a pig and some fowls in the garden; after a great while my mama and papa consented for all of us to go.

O What day of the week was that?

O On the Sunday; my mama was not very well, she had not been out all day, she did not want to go, but Mrs. Ryder persuaded her to come and see the pig; so they went at last and my sister I think went, and I went too, and Mrs. Ryder ran up and laid the cloth for supper, and persuaded us to stay supper. I was taken with a pain in the stomach, Mrs. Devine persuaded me to have some castor oil, which I had; when it was time for my papa and my mama and all to come home, Mrs. Devine and Mr. Atwell said it was better for me not to go out that night because it might make me worse.

O When you came to Mrs. Devine's who was there?

O Mrs. Ryder, Mr. Devine, Mrs. Devine, and Mr. Atwell; Mrs. Ryder said I might stay, and Mr. Atwell and Mrs. Devine persuaded my mama to let me stay, and so my papa and mama let me stay as. I had taken the castor oil; I was to sleep with Mr. Atwell; we had not been in bed long before he wanted to put his c--k into my backside, he tried to do it but he could not get it in, then we went to sleep.

In the morning I wanted to go down into the garden, I just put my clothes on, I did not button them: I went down the garden and then I came back again, it was pretty soon in the morning, I had done nothing to my clothes but just slipped them on; then I pulled them off and got into bed again. We got up about seven o'clock, breakfast was ready, when we had done our breakfast it was past nine o'clock a good while, I always go to school at ten in the morning, I went to school; Mr. Atwell was going out he went round with me to my school door, there I left him; I did not see him till Tuesday or Wednesday following.

O Then nothing more passed that first night than what you have now related?

O No. On Tuesday or Wednesday I went there and Mr. Atwell was up stairs.

O What time of day was that?

O I cannot tell what time of day.

O Was it morning or afternoon?

O Afternoon I think it was.

O Before school or after?

O I think it was after school; he was up stairs; I went up to see how he did, he was very well.

O To see how he did! did any body say he was not well?

O No, I went up to see him; he laid me on the bed and unbuttoned my breeches, then he unbuttoned his own and laid himself by me, and put his c--k into my backside. He got it in that time. I told him it hurt me the first time, he said it would not hurt me long.

O Do you mean that he said so on the first night or then?

O The first night.

O So you did not tell him it hurt you then?

O No.

O What more passed?

O Nothing; we came down stairs.

O How long did he lie with you in this manner?

O About five minutes.

O You made no complaint then?

O No. On the next Sunday following my sister went to Mrs. Ryder's to dinner; as I was coming from church in the morning, Mrs. Ryder was looking out at the window; she said my mama and papa would come in the afternoon, and then we should go to Kilburn. When we had got our dinner we went there, and went up to Kilburn. As we were all coming along from Kilburn, Mrs. Ryder said we should go home and sup there; my mama and papa said very well; Mr. Atwell persuaded me to run on before, and lay the cloth, so we ran on before.

O Was the prisoner at Kilburn?

O Yes, and Mrs. Ryder and my papa and mama and sister. It was very hot weather; we went up into the dining room; I unbuttoned my waistcoat and pulled my handkerchief off to wipe my face; I sat down on the sofa; Mr. Atwell pushed me down, unbuttoned my breeches, and then unbuttoned his own, and put his c--k into my backside.

There were some ladies came to our house, who told me that Mr. Atwell was not well, but was exceeding ill. In the afternoon I went to see him, to see whether he was so ill; I found he was not ill at all; he said he had hit his head but he was got a good deal better of it. Mrs. Ryder and I went to Tyburn turnpike to see if we could meet Mrs. Atwell, because she was coming there.

O Who is Mrs. Atwell?

O The prisoner's mother; she is matron to St. George's hospital.

O Who did you walk with?

O Mrs. Ryder; we met her just at Tyburn turnpike; so we turned back and came home and Mrs. Ryder and Mrs. Atwell when we came home, went to a lady's somewhere in Paddington, and left Mr. Atwell and me by ourselves; we went up into his bedchamber because he was doing something up stairs as he had nothing but his waistcoat, breeches and great coat on; we went up stairs he threw me down on the bed, unbuttonned my breeches, then unbuttoned his own, and he did the same to me, he thrust his c--k into my backside then; and all these times but the first time, he made me do the same to him.

When Mrs. Ryder and Mrs. Atwell knocked at the door, we came down stairs. and Mrs. Ryder, my mama and papa, came to Mr. Divine's to see how they did; my mama gave me leave to go along with Mrs. Ryder to see Mrs. Atwell, up to Tyburn turnpike, because it rained; Mrs. Ryder and we went; Mrs. Ryder and I came back together; by that time my mama and papa were gone home. We got our suppers up in the dining room; I wished them good night and then went home.

The next Sunday following I went there again; Mr. Atwell wanted to do the same; I told him no, I had got some disorder and did not know what it was for my linen was all stained; he asked me to let him look at me because there might be some bad consequences; he looked at me and said I had got some disorder in my body; he told me I must tell my mama.

I went home, but I did not tell my mama. The next morning I saw Mr. Atwell again; he asked me whether I had told my mama; I said no; he asked me how I was; I said much the same; I saw him then as I was coming home from school in the street where I live; he said I must tell my mama, because she must find it but by my linen; it was on the Monday he told me this.

My mama found it out. I believe in the week. On the next Wednesday or Thursday my mama put on clean sheets on my bed, but when she came to make my bed in the morning; the sheets were coloured; she told my papa of it, and he said -

O You cannot tell what your papa said to your mama. What was done? you say clean sheets were put on your bed?

O Yes.

O Did your mama say any thing to you before she put clean sheets on?

O No.

O When did your father or mother say any thing to you?

O My mama put me on a clean night shirt on Saturday night. I lie in a night shirt every night. My mama put me on a clean one that night; on Monday morning my papa asked me about it; I told him all about it, and he sent for Surgeon Webb.

O What did your father say to you on Monday morning?

O He asked me what was the matter with me, and said I had better tell him whatever was the matter with me because I might have something that might rot me all away or might swell me up as big as a tub, that I might not be able to walk.

O What did you tell your papa?

O I told him all that had happened.

O Every thing that you have now told me?

O Yes. He sent for Mr. Webb and told him the same; Mr. Webb said he was to have a physician at his house in the afternoon, and he was then going to, I forget the name of the place, to St. John's Wood I believe it was; but the physician would be there and he would come and fetch me and shew me to him.

O Mr. Webb did not come home at night, and the physician was gone. The next morning my papa, Mr. Webb, and I went to Mr. Wyatt's, which is, I think, in Newport-street, and he told Mr. Wyatt all about it, and Mr. Wyatt examined me; after that my papa, Mr. Webb, and I went to some attorney; they all advised us, a nd we did what they advised us.

O What was that?

O To take him up.

O This is the whole is it?

O Yes.

O Did you find any thing the matter with you at these three times that this was done to you?

O Yes.

O What was the matter with you?

O My shirt was all stained.

O What made your shirt stained?

O Something out of my c--k .

O Have you told me every thing that passed that you took notice of at these different times that he threw you down and behaved in this manner?

O I cannot say any thing that I took notice of.

O You said he lay upon you in this manner about five minutes?

O Yes.

O Did he do any thing more than you have said?

O No. I knew he was not well for he took physick. I used to see his physick on the mantlepiece.

O Describe more particularly what he did to you; the second time, for instance, that he meddled with you?

O I do not understand what you mean.

O Give me a more particular account of what he did the second time that he unbuttoned your breeches and threw you down. What did he then do to you?

O He unbuttoned his own breeches and put his c--k into my backside.

O What did he do then?

O When he had done it he made me do the same.

O Did he lie quiet in your body, or was there any motion?

O He used to shove himself backwards and forwards.

O Was there any thing else observable at the time?

O No, not that I know of.

O You speak of his shoving himself about?

O Yes.

O How long did he continue shoving himself about?

O All the time he did it, about five minutes.

O Then he left you?

O Then he took it out and made me do the same to him.

O Did you observe any thing more at that time?

O No.

O Your linen was not at that time stained with any thing?

O No.

O When did you first observe any thing of this stain upon your linen?

O About a fortnight after the first time.

O Was you sore when you first observed the stain?

O I was sore before that; I had a little blister raised up.

O Upon what part was that?

O Where the water comes out.

O You could not very well help what he did the first time because you then was in his bed to sleep with him; but how came you to go to bed with him again?

O I did not go to bed any more with him.

O But to lie down with him?

O He threw me down; I did not know that it was any harm; I thought he would not do any harm to me, or I would have told my mama and papa.

O You observed nothing about your linen till after you was sore?

O Not till after I was sore.

O Can you recollect whether there was any thing more passed that you took notice of at the time?

O No; I do not recollect any thing.

O I suppose when you found your linen stained you found it wet?

O Yes, it was like as if one had poured water upon it only thicker; when it was dry it turned quite yellow.

O You did not observe any thing of that sort before you was ill?

O No, only when he used to take his c--k out of my backside, I found it very wet.

O And did you find the same thing happen when you did so to him?

O No.

O You say he found some difficulty at first to force himself into you?

O Yes.

O And could you force yourself into him?

O Yes, as far as it would go.

O Was you acquainted with any other boys besides him?

O No.

O Did any body else ever serve you so?

O I was not acquainted with any body but my school-follows besides.

O Did you ever play any of these tricks amongst your school-fellows?

O No.

O Did you ever tell any of your school-fellows what had passed between Atwell and you?

O No.

O How came you not to tell any of your school-fellows what a strange thing he had done to you and made you do with him?

O I did not tell them.

O Then it looks as if you thought it was to be kept a secret?

O I did not think it any harm.

O Before he offered to force himself into you the first time; had he used to play or toy with you and take notice of you?

O Yes he used to take notice of me.

O And kiss you?

O No.

O How did he toy with you?

O He used to play with me.

O At what?

O Sometimes he used to go to the back of the house and play at trap-ball.

O Then before he forced himself into you he did not kiss you or any thing of that sort?

O No.

O Nor fondle you?

O He used to play with my c--k .

O Had he done that before you was ever in bed with him?

O No.

O Did he use to play with your private parts before he entered your body or after?

O Before and after both.

Cross Examination.

O You said he made you do to him what he did to you?

O Yes.  

O Exactly the same?

O Yes.

O Have you been examined by some surgeons?

O Yes.

O Do you know Mr. Wyatt?

O Yes.

O Do you remember Mr. Wyatt's putting that question to you, whether you found any wet?

O He asked me if I felt any wet while he was in me.

O Did he ask you if you felt any wet from him afterwards?

O Not that I understood.

O You said you had never any connexion with any boys?

O No.

O Had you never any connexion with any woman?

O No.

O Nor played with them in any indecent way?

O No.

O The first time you say was upon the bed, the second time upon a sofa?

O Yes.

O What room was that in?

O In the dining room.

O Did you never say it was up stairs upon the bed?

O That what was up stairs upon the bed. The second time he attempted to do any thing to you, you said the third time was upon the sofa;

O did you never say that was upon a bed which you now say was upon a sofa?

O At Mr. Triquet's I said it was upon a bed; I could not think of the sofa then, but when my papa asked me where he did it, and how he did it, when we went to Kilburn, then I recollected it.

O Did you say that the third time, the Sunday, was before or after church?

O After church.

O Did not you say before the magistrate that it was in the morning before church?

O No.

O Recollect yourself.

O No, I did not.

O Recollect if the account you gave of the second time was not that you went there in the morning before church service, and that he laid you upon a bed?

O No, I said so to the gentlemen there, and then I contradicted it again.

O You told the court it was on the Sunday afternoon, upon your coming home, that this was done upon the sofa?

O When we went up to Kilburn it was.

O Then you do not recollect what you said positively before the magistrate?

O I think I said it was after service time.

O Then you did not say it was before service time?

O When we came from Kilburn it was after service time, it was supper time.

O The moment you complained of the sore you found and of the running, the prisoner immediately in company with some other gentlemen, desired you would tell your mother of it, and pressed it, did he not?

O Yes.

O Who was by then?

O Nobody.

O Was not a French gentleman there?

O Not then, but there was a French gentleman up in the room; when Mrs. Ryder was gone out he told the French gentleman in French, and the French gentleman said he was very sorry for it.

O Then they both desired you to tell your mother of it?

O Mr. Atwell did; he said my mama would certainly find it out by my linen if I did not tell her.

O You was examined before the justice?

O Yes.

O What you said was taken down in writing?

O Yes.

O And I suppose it was read over to you?

O Yes.

O Do you remember what day of the month it was?

O No.

O Was it not the 21st of September?

O I cannot recollect.

O Then cannot you recollect whether you swore that this was done in the morning before service, and up stairs upon the bed instead of upon the sofa in the dining room?

O I cannot recollect.

O Is the account you gave before the justice which was taken down in writing the same you have given now?

O Yes.

O Then I want to know whether you did not say then that it was on Sunday before service, upon the sofa?

O I said so the first time; at the last hearing before the justice when my papa came to ask me how it happened and where it was done, when we came from Kilburn, it came into my head that it was done upon the bed; and then when we came before the justice I contradicted that; I said it was done at night on the sofa.

O Before you said you had laid down on one side and he on his side beside you upon the bed?

O Yes.

O And the two other times were in that manner?

O Yes.

O You lying your full length and he lying his full length?

O No, we could not lie our full length for my knees were up.

O Did not you lie your full length on your side?

O No, I cannot when I lie upon my side.

O Why do not you?

O No, my knees are always so (bending them) I was obliged to put up my legs when he put his c--k into me.

O Did you say that, till the surgeon made the observation that it was impossible for him to commit this crime if you lay in the manner you described, now I want to know whether you did not say before the justice that you lay side by side with this young man and that you laid quite straight; did you or not say that before the justice?

O Yes, I did and I contradicted it at the same time.

O Did not the surgeon then observe to the magistrate, that it was impossible for the crime to be committed if, you lay in that attitude?

O I do not remember that.

O There were some capital surgeons there, Mr. Wyatt and Mr. Hunter?

O Yes.

O Do not you remember Mr. Hunter saying it was impossible to commit the crime in that attitude?

O I do not remember that.

O How came you to alter it afterwards by saying you did not lie straight?

O I said I lay straight, my legs were down straight but my knees were bent in this manner ( bending his knees a little).

O Will you say you bent them as much as that?

O I dare say I did.

O Why cannot you lie straighter than that in bed?

O Yes, but he could no get it in when I lay any otherwise.

O Who told you so?

O He did; he said I must bend my knees or else he could not get it in.

O Who told you so?

O Mr. Atwell himself said so.

O You did not take that hint from either of the surgeons that were present?

O No.

O But you still continued lying on your side?

O Yes.

O Before Mr. Hunter made any observation had you described the situation of your legs to the justice or to any body?

O I do not remember that Mr. Hunter did make the observation.

O You say you never touched any woman at all in play or any thing else?

O No.

O I understood you complained to nobody till after this running when your mother found it out?

O No, only to Mr. Atwell.


O Are you father of the last witness that was examined?

O I believe so.

O Have you heard the boy's evidence in court?

O Yes.

O Did he tell this story to you

O He did;

O Is the evidence he has given now in substance the same with what he told you?

O Yes it is.

Cross Examination.

O Was you present at the examination before the magistrate?

O Yes.

O The surgeons were there too and examined?

O Yes.

O You remember their asking some questions do you not?

O I do.

Court. How long had your boy been acquainted with Atwell?

O I believe about three months, between two and three months.

O When did you first hear of there being any thing the matter with the boy?

O On the 13th of September which was a Monday.

O Who mentioned that first to you?

O My wife.

O What was it she had taken notice of?

O She told me she did not know what was the matter with Tommy for his linen was stained, I made light of it and said how could it be; she said she was sure it was stained: I was in a hurry, I said put him a clean-shirt on and to-morrow morning I will examine him and let Mr. Webb see him on the next morning; which was Tuesday, I looked at the linen and was greatly astonished, I said, God bless me! the child is injured by somebody; I was at breakfast, he was at school, I said, when the child comes from school; do not let him go again till I have seen him;

I returned from the factory about ten o'clock, the child was at home, I took him into the parlour, I said, my dear I must look at your linen, what is the matter with you? I looked at it, I said, you have been meddling with some girls or somebody has been playing with you, tell me who it is and I will not be angry; he did not seem to be willing to tell, I urged it a second and a third time; I went out of the parlour and went down stairs with a pretence of taking a bit of a twig, but as I came up stairs his mother cried out to me he has told me all about it; it is Charles Atwell.

Charles Atwell, said I, how can that be? Well, said she, he says it is him. I directly went away and fetched Mr. Webb the surgeon who is here in court, and desired him to ask the child the particulars which he accordingly did. I do not know of any other circumstance that I asked him at that time, but Mr. Webb said I have a gentleman a doctor who will come to me about a patient this afternoon, and I will let him see the child; I said, we will omit it till the gentleman sees him; the gentleman did not come. I went in the morning again to Mr. Webb, and we then took the child down to Mr. Wyatt to let him see him; he examined him, and I believe will let your lordship know what he found upon the child.

O What part of his linen was it that was so discoloured?

O The forepart of his shirt.

O Was he a reserved or a bold forward boy?

O A very reserved boy. I always endeavoured to keep him at good schools; I never suffered him to go out to play with ordinary boys.

O Was he a good boy?

O A very good boy; I never knew him along with any vagabond or any bad children.

O Was he a boy that told the truth, that could be depended upon, or was he apt to fib?

O He was often like other boys unwilling to speak, but I always got the truth out of him.

O How often did he change his linen?

O One shirt every three days, a night shirt and a day shirt.

O How often do you wash him, had he five or six shirts in wear or how?

O I believe he had ten.

O Did he use to wear them all round or how?

O I believe so.

O Did you look back to examine any of the rest of his linen that he had worn for a week or fortnight before?

O I did not, his mother perhaps might.

O The boy mentioned something of going to an attorney?

O Yes.

O Did you go to an attorney?

O Yes.

O Did you demand any terms of the prisoner or his friends?

O I went to an attorney to know what was the proper step to take in this matter; I was not desirous of doing any thing rashly without consulting.

O Did you after you had received advice from your attorney make any proposal to the prisoner or his friends?

O None.

O Or make any demand?

O No; never in my life. I only wanted my child righted.

Mr. THOMAS WEBB sworn.

O You are a surgeon?

O Yes.

O You examined the boy?

O I did.

O Did he he give you an account of what had passed between the prisoner and him or any other persons?

O He related in my presence just the same as he has now stated.

O In your judgement as a surgeon, whether in such a case as that, penetration might or not be without laceration?

O It might undoubtedly be without laceration if his knees were bent as he has now described.

O Did you examine the boy?

O I did.

O Had he any disease in his anus?

O None at all there.

O Then his disease was in his privy parts?

O In his penis chiefly.

O How could he receive that from the anus?

O That I cannot say; I do not know how the prisoner was.

O If the prisoner had the venereal disorder how could that affect the anus?

O The boy upon relating the affair, says the prisoner obliged him to do the same to him; if the prisoner had been affected the boy might have been affected in the penis , but what the prisoner did to the boy, could not injure him in his penis .

O But could the boy receive any injury in the penis from any disorder the prisoner might have?

O No; he would have received it in his fundament.

O In the first place do you know what the nature of the complaint was you discovered he had?

O It had all the appearance to me of a venereal complaint; and from the symptoms the boy had, and what he complained of, there was every reason to suspect it was so.

O Are you able accurately to distinguish especially in such a young subject between weaknesses and the appearances which are sometimes seen in venereal cases?

O In slight venereal cases there might be some similar symptoms, but the appearances here were with excessive heat of water, and other attendants that rather determined it to be a venereal complaint.

O But suppose it had happened that such a boy had been prevailed upon to attempt carnal knowledge of a woman as far as he was able from his age; whether it might produce a weakness that might have this appearance?

O It might produce a weakness, but it would not have the appearance that this had.

O Then your judgement is that the boy's case was venereal?

O That is my opinion; I do not take upon me absolutely to say that it is a venereal complaint.

O Could any such appearances happen from his pushing against the prisoner's fundament?

O I cannot say as to that.

O Was the discharge of a yellow colour or a white colour, like a gleet or weakness?

O At the beginning it was of a yellow nature.

O Did he complain of much heat of urine?

O Yes; in the scrotum and in the groin.

O Did you give him any antivenereal medicine?

O No; he is grown almost well, he has something of a running.

O Do I understand you right, that no antivenereal medicines had been administered in this complaint?

O None in the least.

O Does it ordinarily occur to you in your practice to know of real venereal taints going off without medicines?

O It sometimes does occur that a clap or gonorrhoea will go off without medicine, nature will sometimes remove that complaint without any kind of assistance.

O Was you present when the prisoner was before the magistrate?

O I was.

O Was there any proposition made that he should submit to an examination by surgeons?

O It was proposed, and Mr. Hunter, Mr. Wyatt, and myself examined the prisoner in the justice's parlour or closet.

O In what state did you find him?

O Perfectly clear from all kind of venereal complaints whatever.

O Perfectly well from any appearance?

O Yes.

O Clear from any weakness or gleet or any thing of that sort?

O Perfectly so both in the penis and the fundament.

Cross Examination.

O You called in I believe another gentleman of skill, you being a young man?

O Yes; Mr. Wyatt, a gentleman of great skill. When the father of the child applied to me, I that afternoon expected a physician to call at my house to attend a patient with me; I told him afterwards I would take him to a gentleman of experience whose judgement I would rely upon rather than my own; and I took the child to Mr. Wyatt.

Court. Prisoner, your counsel are not at liberty to speak for you, they can only examine your witnesses, if therefore you have any thing to say to the jury in your defence, this is the proper time for you to say it.

PRISONER's DEFENCE. In the situation I am now in, I do not know any means to extricate myself. I do not see any reason why my counsel should not plead for me. I can say nothing further than that I deny the crime alledged to my charge with horrour. The boy has said we ran from Kilburn-wells in order to lay the cloth; that is certainly true; it was proposed by us both; but when we came to the house I had the key given me by Mrs. Devine at the street door; I went in, and struck a light, in order to lay the cloth, as we had discharged the maid a day or two before.

I struck a light to go up into the dining-room to lay the cloth; I recollected Mrs. Ryder had got the key: When we went out, she sent me after a little dog of her's, to go up to Kilburn-wells; I brought the key and gave it to her before two or three witnesses. The boy says that we came back that very evening, and perpetrated the deed on the sofa, which is exceeding false. As to any thing more corroborating the circumstances, I can say nothing to it.

He has alledged many things to my charge, for which, if I did, I shall die with the greatest resignation and consolation to my own mind. I had not got the key of the dining room where the sofa was when I returned I from Kilburn-wells, but only the key of the street door; Mrs. Ryder had the key and kept it till she came home. As soon as I struck a light in the bottom part of the house in the kitchen, I went up; Thomas Read was looking out at the window. When they came in, I asked Mrs. Ryder for the key to lay the cloth; I said if we had had the key I should have laid the cloth; and we had some few words upon it; Miss Devine knows very well that I gave Mrs. Ryder the key when she went out.

For the Prisoner.

Mr. WYATT sworn.

O You are a surgeon?

O I am.

O I believe you was desired by Mr. Webb or the boy's friends to attend before a magistrate?

O They called at my house before I was desired to attend a magistrate; I examined the boy at my own house.

O Do you recollect what day that was?

O No, I do not. Mr. Webb and the boy's father were present; I do not recollect whether they told me what had happened to the boy before I saw his complaint or not, but the moment I saw his complaint I suspected it to be venereal; and when I asked him a few questions, I was convinced it was so; he had every symptom of a recent gonorrhoea. I asked how he had contracted it, and they told me this story.

I do not know whether they told it me in the same manner exactly as now, for I did not wish to hear it. I heard no more of it for a week, I think, or more; it was after they had been once before the magistrate. The father then called upon me and told me that the prisoner was committed for a further examination, and asked me if I would be kind enough to attend; I enquired into the necessity of my attendance; he told me there would be some difficulty as to the possibility of the commission of the fact; I told him I had no objection to attend; accordingly I did attend the magistrate.

Before the magistrate heard the business at all I asked Mr. Hunter if he thought the prisoner would submit to an examination; I did not wish to put the question to the prisoner, for fear he might decline it, therefore I asked Mr. Hunter, who came on behalf of the prisoner; Mr. Hunter said he dared say he would do it; he said he should do it or he would take no further notice of him, or to that effect.

Mr. Hunter had him into a room, and told him to let us see his private parts; I examined his penis , and it was perfectly clean, I never saw a cleaner in my life. I then desired him to turn round and let us see his anus, which I examined very carefully, and he was perfectly clean there, and so clean that I do not believe he had had any complaint.

O You looked upon his linen at the same time I suppose?

O I do not know whether I did or not, but I am sure if there had been any thing there I must have seen it.

O I suppose that circumstance struck you as material?

O Very material, and therefore when before the magistrate I desired to ask the boy a few questions before I gave my evidence. I asked him how long it was after he had been connected with the man before he perceived this complaint; I do not know whether I can recollect precisely the time, but I think it was a month within a day or two, after he had been connected with the prisoner, to the time of his perceiving this upon him.

Then I asked him in what manner he lay, for I had not been at the Justice's the first time; I asked him how he lay when they were together; he said then he he lay with his knees bent.

O Upon finding the prisoner was clean did you then say any thing of examining the boy again?

O I had examined him again that very morning, and I suggested before the magistrate that I thought it very improbable that the disease which the boy had, supposing, it to be venereal, which I did suppose, and do now suppose, I said it was very improbable that the man should have given a disease which he had not himself; and it was not very probable that the disease should have subsisted a month without shewing itself.

I do not know that I have ever seen that happen; I know there are surgeons who say they have seen it more than a month; it is possible it may be so, but I always suspect patients when they tell me it has been so long.

O Upon this occasion, after you and Mr. Hunter had examined the prisoner, did you when you were together before the magistrate examine the boy, to have your united judgement upon it?

O I do not recollect whether we did then or not; I recollect now from what the father has sworn, it was on the 13th of September he came to my house; it was the 23 d when I was before the magistrate, which was the second examination.

O From the formation and strength of the boy's parts, you see what a stripling he is, do you think he was capable of having any carnal communication with a woman?

O Yes, I have no doubt but he was.

O Now might the appearances upon the boy's private parts be occasioned by the circumstance of his having entered the prisoner's fundament?

O I think not; there might have been appearances; the urethra might have been inflamed, but not such an appearance as that.

O Did you examine the boy's anus to see whether any penetration had been made there?

O I did; it is not very easy to tell that.

O Did it appear to you upon your examination that the parts were wider than they naturally might be?

O No.

O Did there appear to be any irritation?

O No; but it was a month after when I examined him. When the father brought the boy to my house, I asked him if he perceived any wet after the fact had been committed; he then said no, but he qualified that; I did not ask him, any wet while the man was in him, for then he could not; I must have asked the question, whether he found any wet after the man was withdrawn. I think I put that question; he said then no, and it is very possible he might not.

Mr. HUNTER sworn.

O You are a surgeon at St. George's Hospital?

O I am.

O Was you present at the first examination before Mr. Wyatt?

O I was present at the second examination before the justice. I was at the two last examinations. It was upon my first examination that Mr. Wyatt was called in, but before that the mother of the prisoner told me the story of the accusation against her son, and desired me to go to Paddington and see the boy; I went there; Mr. Read admitted me, and shewed me his son; I examined the boy, and he had to me all the appearance of a venereal gonorrhoea, and upon questioning him he had all the symptoms;

I was asked to go before the justice which I did, and heard the examination of the boy; from the easy manner in which he told the story and also from being called in upon many occasions that are somewhat similar; (rapes upon girls under age I have been called in upon many in Harry Fielding 's time and in Sir John's time, not one of them true) I had a doubt and I therefore asked the boy several questions;

one question I asked him was, Was you lying in bed straight when he performed the operation? he said he was; which drew from me this observation, that I looked upon it as impossible in such a position; I observed at the time that I knew it was with difficulty we could introduce a finger into the anus of a person when we were obliged to examine for some disease without the finger being particularly oiled, therefore I looked upon this operation as no easy matter.

O Did you mention this?

O I did mention it then.

O You saw the boy describe here how he lay with his knees a little bent, do you think it possible in that attitude?

O I think it hardly possible in the manner he has described now. I was before the justice a second time, and he then said, upon talking about the position, that his legs were bent; I own it struck me then that he took that from me, he then said that the prisoner spit upon his c--k , I then suspected that he took the hint from what I mentioned with regard to oiling the finger.

O You was present with Mr. Wyatt when the prisoner was examined, both before and behind?

O I was.

O What state did you find him in?

O Perfectly found.

Court. Did you examine his linen?

O No; but a man can put on a clean shirt when he cannot put on a clean penis .

Court. Did you examine the boy's anus?

O I am pretty clear I did at the justice's.

O I need not ask you whether it is possible for a man to communicate a disease he has not?

O He could not communicate that disease to him.

O Could such a boy as that be capable of an erection sufficient to lie with a woman?

O If a woman chooses to lie with a boy, if she takes a rub, whether his penis is erect or not, if she is tainted it would give it him.

O Do you think it possible for such a boy to commit the crime as he has described with a man?

O I think it impossible for a boy of that age to have a permanent erection, so as to perform it upon a man.

Court. Could he upon a woman?

O I think he might for half a second of time upon a woman, but I look upon the two operations to be very different.

Mr. WATSON sworn.

O You saw the boy in the manner in which he stood just now?

O O I did.

Do you think it possible for this fact to have been committed upon him in that position?

O I should think not.

O Did you see either of the parties?

O The boy and his father came to me near a month ago, and wanted me to examine this boy; the father began telling me the case the same as he has related to this court; I desired to know what the boy's complaints were; I was shewn the state of his penis; he appeared to me to have a great discharge, and had all the symptoms that attend a gonorrhoea; a heat of urine, and the part was inflamed; the fore part of his shirt was covered with matter, and there was a very foul appearance;

I examined the boy's fundament, and could see no appearance of any lacetation having happened there; the part was strongly contracted, was small, and in a healthy state as it should be; if any thing had happened there, it must have been a long time before, for there was no appearance of such a thing, or of any laceration. I said I fancy your son has been playing with some girl or other; or some girl has got hold of him and been playing with him; this he denied; I advised them to have the person examined that they said the boy had been connected with; that I found was done afterwards; I did not see the prisoner at all.

Court to Mr. Webb. You attended this boy as a surgeon?

O I did.

O Did you attend him for a venereal disease?

O The day after we had called at Mr. Wyatt's, Mr. Wyatt said you should have kept his body cool, that would be quite sufficient; I gave him only salts and manna.

O Is he well now?

Mr. Watson. He is not quite well now; it is gone off in a great measure.

O Judging of it now if you had not seen it before, from the present appearance should you judge it to be venereal?

O I should suppose it a venereal infection going off.

O Does it often occur to you that these venereal complaints in the state you saw that at first go off without medicines?

O Keeping the part clean, and giving cooling medicines will sometimes cure.

BASTON sworn.

O Mr. Atwell's mother called upon me, and informed me what had happened to her son; Mrs. Ryder informed me -

Court. You must not mention what Mrs. Ryder said to you?

O I know nothing else.


O You are one of the parties that went to Kilburn Wells on the Sunday that has been mentioned?

O I did.

O Do you remember the boy's coming home with the prisoner to lay the cloth?

O Yes; the prisoner got home first with Tom Read, and had struck a light; when he came to the door, Mrs. Ryder asked him if he had laid the cloth; he answered no, he had not the key of the dining room; that is the room where the sofa was.

O Do you recollect his giving her the key?

O He gave Mrs. Ryder the key.

Court. Did you only hear him say he had not got the key, or did you see Mrs. Ryder give him the key after she came home?

O She went on directly, and whether she or Mrs. Atwell opened the door I cannot say.

Cross Examination.

O What is your name?

O Mary Devine.

O That is your name?

O Yes it is.

O Here is an enquiry made with respect to the going up into the dining room on a Sunday; do you remember that boy's being at your house a week or a fortnight before that and taking castor oil?

O Yes; that was on the 8th of August the Sunday night.

O Did he or not sleep with the prisoner that night?

O Yes; he did as he was ill.

O Was he with the prisoner on the Tuesday or Wednesday after that night?

O I cannot positively say.

O But you remember he was there on the Sunday night.

O Yes.

O And they had been at Kilburn Wells before?

O Yes.

O Do you remember the boy's being afterwards at your house?

O Yes, frequently.

O Was he or not with Atwell in his room?

O Not that I know.

O You cannot tell?

O I cannot tell.

Court. Is there any circumstance which makes you recollect it to be the 8th of August that he took the castor oil?

O I recollect the day, the servant went away the Wednesday following; and we looked back to her receipt to see what day it was.

Miss DEVINE sworn.

O Do you recollect the prisoner's asking for the key after coming from Kilburn Wells?

O The prisoner came back and gave the key of the street door to my mother.

Court. Do you remember when they came home his taking the key from her?

O No; I do not; I knocked at the door, the prisoner opened it; I asked, is the cloth laid? he said no I had not the key.

Mrs. RYDER sworn.

O Do you recollect the prisoner giving you the key on the Sunday you went to Kilburn Wells?

O No; I had a little dog; when we got a little way he made a noise; Mr. Atwell said he would fetch the dog; I said I don't want him to be fetched; I remember I gave the key to Mr. Atwell, but whether he gave it me or not I cannot tell.

O Do you recollect his asking for the key when you came home?

O No.

O Do you recollect any thing being said about laying the cloth?

O No.


O I have known Mr. Atwell a month.

O You washed his linen?

O Yes; I washed three shirts the day after he was taken up.

PARSONS sworn.

O I am a Pattern-drawer; I have known the prisoner nine years, he has an exceeding good character.

O Did you ever hear of any charge of this kind against him?

O Never.


O I was a pupil of Mr. Hunter at St. George's Hospital; I knew Mr. Atwell and his mother.

O I believe you sometimes slept with him?

O He slept with me and several of the pupils at different times; he slept in the same bed with me near a month.

O Had you any reason to suspect him addicted to this crime?

O Not in the least.

The Rev. JAMES CLARK sworn.

O I have known the prisoner four years and upwards; I have heard a great deal of good of him, but never heard a word of ill of him before this.


O I am a clerk to Mr. Button; I have known Mr. Atwell between ten and eleven years; he was an apprentice to Mr. Button; he always bore a very fair character.


O I am a mercer; I have known the prisoner ever since his return to England, which is about fifteen or sixteen months; I never heard any imputation upon his character,

MATHERS sworn.

O I am a mercer; I have known him a good while, he always bore a good character; he is a sober honest young man.

MARCH sworn.

O I am a school master; I have known him twelve months, I never heard any imputation upon his character.

[Verdict: Not Guilty]

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron EYRE.



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