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


23rd July 1783

Daniel Hickman

Violent Theft - robbery


474. DANIEL HICKMAN otherwise HICKINS was indicted for feloniously assaulting John Miller, on the 30th of June last, in a certain dwelling house of our Lord the King, called St. James's Palace, and putting him in fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person and against his will, two pieces of gold coin of this realm, called guineas, value 2 £. 2 s. the monies of the said John Miller.

A second Count, for making another assault on the said John Miller, on the 1st day of July last, in the said parish, in a certain open place called, the Board of Green Cloth Court, and taking from his person and against his will, one piece of gold coin of this realm called a guinea, value 1 £. 1 s. the monies of the said John Miller.


O I am servant to Mr. Lewis, table decker to the chaplain's room in the Palace; on the 16th, or 17th of June last, I came home about eleven o'clock, I went to light my candle on the adjoining stair case, close to the door, the prisoner was standing centry at the door; a conversation accidentally took place between him and me; I never saw him before to my knowledge; we talked about different families.

Court. Who began the conversation?

O I do not know, at last he mentioned a family that he pretended he had lived in, which I have a sister lives in; he said, he was dry, and wished I would give him something to drink, I told him, after he was relieved I would give him some thing to drink, I went in and put some sticks upon the fire and threw the cinders up, and out of pure good nature and respect to the family he said he had lived with, I asked him in;

Mr. Lewis has apartments in the same court, but across the court; I gave him some bread and cheese, and some ale, in a bottle that I had left at dinner; he drew the chair and sat down by the fire on one side, and I sat on the other; that is all that passed as I am upon my oath; he eat his bread and cheese and went away; I did not know his name, nor I did not expect to see or hear from him any more.

Court. How long did he stay with you?

O Three quarters of an hour.

O How came you to take in a man you never saw before?

O I asked him in, out of pure good nature.

O What between twelve and one in the morning, does anybody sleep in that appartment?

O Nobody but myself; On the last day of June, when I came home, I went to light my candle as usual upon the adjoining stair case, I found somebody stepping almost upon my heels, says he it is me, says I, what brought you here at this time of night, says he, I am come for satisfaction, says I, what do you mean, says he, you know what passed the other night; what passed, says I, says he, you are a sodomite, says I, it is a thing I abhor above all things on earth; he said it did not signify, he had been in the black hole ever-since, and if I did not give him satisfaction he swore he would go and fetch a serjeant and a file of men, and take me before a Justice, he said, he did not value his life a damn.

Court. What caused that expression?

O I do not know, I asked him what money he must have, he said he must have three or four guineas; I told him I had but two, but he should have another in the morning; the prisoner said he must have it early; I told him he might have it between seven and eight, I could not get it before; I went and brought it, and he came, and I gave it him at the door; I borrowed the the guinea of Catherine Broack, I told her a part of the story; she saw me in a great deal of trouble at the time I borrowed the guinea; he went away and I saw no more of him, and that morning by the advice of Mr. Lewis I made application to the magistrate.

Court. How soon after?

O Between eleven and twelve, my master was with me, I afterwards endeavoured to take him, and took all the pains I could in searching the ranks every morning; on the 11th of this month, he came to the Chaplain's room, and knocked at the door, there was one of his comrades with him, he gave me a note, and told me to look at that, I shewed it to Mr. Lewis,

(The note read)

"July instant, 1783, Sir, I am sorry to acquaint you, that the young man is not entirely satisfied with what you gave me, and if you do not make me ample satisfaction, I will certainly expose you; consider the crime you have committed is dangerous, therefore if you do not chuse to satisfy me in a handsomer manner than what you have done, I shall to-morrow take a further method.
I am yours."

(Directed to St. James's Palace without any name.)

I went to fetch my brother, and when we returned the prisoner was gone and his comrade, we could not find them, we searched every where; the next morning he came on guard, and I watched him where he was placed, and I went and took him up upon guard.

O Was you or was you not alarmed when he made this charge on you?

O The first time I was very much, I did not know what I did.

O Did you part with your money on account of that alarm?

O No, Sir, for the sake of my character, that he should not scandalize my character.

LEWIS sworn.

O I am master of this young man, he has lived with me between eleven and twelve years, and I always found him very honest.

Court. We do not ask you his character Sir, do you remember the prisoner at the bar?

O Perfectly well, I never saw him till the morning he was taken before the magistrate, I was in a little room adjoining the Chaplain's room, having my hair dressed; the prosecutor brought in that note to me, and desired me to look at it, I desired him to wait half an hour or so, as I was quite in a dishabille or else I would have flew out myself.


O The first time I ever saw that gentleman was one night; I was centry in the Engine court in the Park, that was in June; he came to me just as I had come on centry at ten; he asked me what it was o'clock, I told him, he said it was rather a wet night, and we began to discourse about one Mr. Plumbtree that he had known, and I was there about fourteen or fifteen months; he stopped with me till very nigh twelve, till the relief came in; he asked me to come in, as soon as I came off centry, and he would give me some ale, saying a soldier's pay was very little, and he thought it would be very acceptable;

I went in and sat with him till very near two; he made a fire, and gave me some ale and some bread and cheese; he said he must go to bed, he told me to call any time I came on guard, I was welcome to some ale, but to call between ten and eleven at night, for if I came there in day time there was somebody there; and he had generally the evenings to himself, I accordingly bid him a good night, and said I would call again as he had behaved so well to me, I thought it very good natured of the gentleman;

I called about three or four nights after, and knocked at the door, and he came to the door, and he said, ah! is it you, how do you do, you may walk in; he asked me to sit down, he brought out a bottle of ale; he put his hand in his pocket and gave me a breast buckle: after that, he said he would put a faggot on the fire-place, and make a fire; I sat with him till between one and two, and then I said I would go home, I told him where I lived; he said he would contrive for me to lay there all night; I said I was much obliged to him; he said, if you will undress yourself I will make the bed; but you must get up early in the morning;

I went to bed, and after I had been in bed a little while, he began to act as a Sodomite to me; the same as a man would, if he had a woman in bed with him: I immediately jumped up, I asked him if he gave me this breast buckle and this beer, and asked me to come in at this late hour of the night, to intice me in the same situation of life that he lived in himself; he said, no, he did not try to intice me at all; he begged and prayed he might not have his character exposed; I swore I would have him taken up; I said at last when he begged so very hard, I would not; he said, for my goodness he would make me a present;

he said, says he, I will give you three guineas, I will give you two to night, and at half past eight to-morrow morning, I will give you another guinea; he said he had no more than two in the house, and he took them out of a corner cupboard in a pretty large room; and, if I would come in the morning, he would give me the other; I said mind, I do not demand any thing of you: In about a month I came again, and brought that piece of paper with a young fellow that was with me; I have a man here that will shew the breast buckle that he gave me,

(The breast buckle produced by John Anderson, which he had from the prisoner on Tuesday fortnight.)

Jury to Miller. Was this buckle ever yours?

O No, Sir, I will be upon my oath.

The prisoner called his corporal, and two soldiers who gave him a very good character.

Prisoner. This witness John Bennett wrote that piece of paper?

O Yes, I wrote the note, that is all that I know.

Court. By whose directions?

O The prisoner's.

O Did you go with him to the palace the 11th of July?

O I do not recollect I was in liquor.

Court to Jury. Gentleman, there was a case of this kind tried before me some time since, and on that case it was the unanimous opinion of all the Judges of England, that that case as proved, amounted to a robbery: To constitute the crime of robbery, it is essential, that money should be taken from a person, in the presence of another, or against his will, and under such threats and circumstances, as may induce a reasonable man to part with his money through fear;

in the case I mentioned, there were different circumstances from the present, because it was there sworn by Mr. Fielding, that he apprehended danger to his person, if he had not delivered the money at the same time; there was another charge like this where the fear went only to loss of character, and in the discussion of that case, it was the opinion of the Judges, that any threat which induced a man to part with his money against his will, was such as would constitute the crime of robbery:

Now in this case you are to consider, that Miller, according to his own account has acted a very indiscreet part, for he says, that he never saw the prisoner before; and yet he is such a dupe, according to his own account, that from a conversation that happened in the course of a few minutes, while he was lighting his candle, he thought fit to ask this man into his master's apartment, and there to treat him with bread, cheese and ale.

(The learned Judge then stated the rest of the evidence, and the Prisoner's defence as before mentioned, observing there was a remarkable circumstance in the defence, for the prisoner says, when the prosecutor offered him a present; he told him, Mind I do not demand any thing of you.)

Gentlemen, upon the whole, the material question is, whether you are upon this evidence satisfied; first that Miller speaks truth; and then whether upon the facts he has stated, you are convinced that he parted with this money against his will, and through fear of an injury that he might receive to his character from the prisoner. If you are of that opinion, you will find him guilty; if you think otherwise, you will acquit him.

Jury to the Corporal. Was the prisoner ever in the black hole?

O Yes, a little before that time, I forget the day, I think he was kept there forty-eight hours.

[Verdict: Guilty - Punishment: Death]

His sentence was respited till next sessions.

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice BULLER.


21st April 1784

Old Bailey Proceedings supplementary material

Daniel Hickman, Joseph Harris, John Baker, George Molton, Thomas Jones, Ann Moore, Sarah Partridge, William Bell, William Clark, John Jacobs, Samuel Selshire, John Smith, Alexander Cullum, James Burne, William Hubbard, Joseph Dunnage


Daniel Hickman, alias Higgins, received his Majesty's pardon, on condition of being transported to Africa for fourteen years.

Joseph Harris, on condition of being transported to America for seven years.

And John Baker, George Molton, Thomas Jones, Ann Moore, Sarah Partridge, alias Roberts, William Bell, William Clark, John Jacobs, Samuel Selshire, John Smith, Alexander Cullum, James Burne, and William Hubbard, on condition of being transported for seven years.

Joseph Dunnage to be transported for natural life.

[Verdict: pardon - Punishment: Transportation]


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