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


4th June 1794

Thomas Steward

Theft - extortion


370. THOMAS STEWARD was indicted for a conspiracy, in falsely accusing Charles Butts of Sodomy.


O I am a servant to Mr. William Waddington, Broad-street, Blackfriars, a footman.

Q. Did you ever see the prisoner Steward before?

O Yes, I see him about a month before this affair happened, which was on Friday the 28th of February. I knew him for some years before that; he demanded the money the 28th of February, when I knew him first he was a soldier then, he has been for some years a soldier.

Q. How long have you lived with Mr. Waddington?

O Three years almost. On the 21st of February, between seven and eight at night, I was in the kitchen and somebody rung at the bell, and I went up and opened the door, and I saw the prisoner at the bar; I did not see any body with him at that time; I asked the prisoner what he wanted? - I thought I knew him in the dress he was in; it was quite dark, there was no light but the lamp; I asked him the reason why he called on me; he said he was going abroad, there was a draft of soldiers going abroad, and he called to know if I had any thing to send to one Hill, who went away the first time any soldiers went.

Q. Who did you understand by this Hill?

O The Hill that is mentioned in the indictment. He said he called to know if I had any thing to send to one Paul Hill that was abroad; I told him no, I had nothing at all to send, if he see him he might tell him that I was very well, if he happened to be alive and should see him there.

Q. How long had you known this Hill?

O I cannot recollect, I suppose about four or five years.

Q. Was he a soldier?

O Yes; he said if I had nothing to send him, he wanted something for himself; I asked him what he wanted, or what his demands were? he told me a guinea; I told him I should give him none on no account whatever, I had none to give away; I was going to shut the door, as he stood by the side of the door he put his foot against it, he told me he would not go away till he had some money of me, he said I was a bloody b-gg-r, and such things as that, and that he would not go away without money, and that he understood that there were connections between Hill and me, and therefore he would expose me if I did not give it him, he said, that I had been guilty of sodemy, he said that in plain terms;

while he was speaking to me a woman came up to the door, and she told me that she was the wife of Paul Hill, she comes while he was there, and I asked her what she wanted with me, if she was his wife I had nothing to do with her, I asked her what she had to demand of me? she told me what Steward had told me before, and she was going abroad the next morning to her husband, and she wanted money to prepare herself for going;

I told her she might go if she liked, I had no money for her, nor none I should give her on any account whatever, I told her I should give her no money at all; she told me that I had given her husband many pounds, and I should give some to her to carry her abroad to her husband? I told her she should have none of me, I should give her none at all.

Q. Had you ever given her husband any money?

O No, nor I never knew her husband; and then she gave me a good deal of bad language, and said that I had been intimate with her husband, and slept along with him, and all such as that, and been guilty of indecencies; while this was going forward, there was another woman came up to the door, and she began calling me a great many abusive names, as the other did, and made a very great noise, she called me b-gg-r, and a sodomite, the same as the other did, repeatedly, I suppose a hundred times, and got a great mob about the door.

Q. What was the other woman, did you know her?

O Her name is in the indictment, they call her Jane Hutchinson, she said that was her name when she was before the alderman at Guildhall.

Q. Do you know the name of the other that called herself Hill's wife?

O Her right name was Margaret Solomous. This Jane Hutchinson she did not do any thing more than being abusive in her language. When the mob came about the door, Steward said, I think it is the best way for you to make the matter up, give them half a guinea, they are all going in the morning and I am going too, and then there will be an end to it.

I told them I supposed they did not know what they were about, they were drunk or something or other; I would give them a shilling if that would satisfy them, and they should go, because my mistress was brought to bed, and I was afraid of the noise, the woman, Margaret, Solomons said, if I would give her five shillings she would go about her business and make no more noise; then I came down the steps of the door to see if the watch was set in the square; I left the door open and went to the bottom of the steps, I did not go from the door, but only to look at the corner if there was a watchman, and he was not set; I told them they had better go about their business, or I must have some assistance and have them taken up.

One of the maids, that were below stairs, came up and I asked her for my hat, I asked her several times before she would let me have it, then at last when the people made such a noise and riot she brought me my hat, I then went and turned to the left hand corner, where there is a public house, the man's name that keeps it, is Gerard, I went in and asked if there were any watchman in his house; the man saw that I was very much starried, and asked me what was the matter?

I told him that there was a man and woman at my master's door, and that they behaved in such a manner, that I wanted assistance, they were still remaining at my master's door; he told me he would come and bring some assistance, and in less than five minutes he came with the watchman, I got back before he came, and told them that there was assistance coming to take them, they said they did not care, there should be charge for charge, then when the assistance came, we walked down to the watch house, and went in there, when we left them there, the people belonging to Bridewell, sent for some assistance from the Compter, and the person that went with me, Mr. Gerard, bailed me that night, to answer for my appearance the next morning at Guildhall, they went to the Compter that night, and on Saturday morning they went before the Alderman; they insisted on the charge against me at the watch-house.

Q. Did you state the same charge against them as you have now, at Guildhall the next morning?

O As near as I can remember in every respect, and they were all committed.

Q. Now the indictment states that you never had any sodomitical connection with Paul Hill. Do you swear on your oath that you never had any connection of that kind with him?

O Yes.

Q. Where did you know Steward?

O In Westminster, he was a soldier, when I first knew him I lived in James's-street, Buckingham-gate, with a widow lady, whose name was Turner, at the time; I lived with her a twelvemonth.

Q. How long might you have known Steward?

O As much as I can guess four years and a half, I used to see him there almost every day, backwards and forwards.

Q. Were you acquaintances?

O No, not so much as to speak when we met, but I knew him by sight, I may have spoke to him accidentally at the public house when I have asked him a question. I knew his name to be Steward, I did not know his christian name till now, I find it is Thomas.

Q. Did you know his name was Steward when you was at Westminster?

O Yes, I knew his name by being used to go to a public house, the Bunch of Grapes, Queen-square, Westminster, to enquire for the man whose name is Paul Hill.

Q. How long might you have known Hill?

O About the same time as I knew this man.

Q. Who did you know first, Hill or this man?

O I knew Hill first, they were both together always in that public house.

Q. How did you get acquainted with Hill?

O When I lived with that Lady, Mrs. Turner, I had a lodging in Westminster myself.

Q. Had you that lodging when you lived with that lady?

O Yes.

Q. Where did you sleep then?

O Alway sat my mistress's house, never out of it.

Q. How long had you that lodging before you went to Mrs. Turner?

O About two years, I imagine. I keep it now, it is at Mr. Moore's, at the three Tuns, in the Abbey Church yard, it is a garret, I keep it on purpose to keep the things that I have got.

Q. Do you ever sleep there occasionally?

O I sleep there at times when I sleep with my wife, she was there, she did not live there but a very little while, she left that lodging to go to live at Mr. Cunningham's family, next door to where I live, the families knowed us both, she lives now in Charlotte street, with a Mr. Jobar, No. 59, Portland place, in a family where we both lived once before together. When I went to that place I had boxes to carry with my clothes, this Paul Hill was about there out of employ, and he carried them for me to Mrs. Turner's, to James's-street, Buckingham Gate.

Q. Did you ever sleep in a bed with Hill?

O Never, I never knew where he lodged.

Q. Did you know Mrs. Hill?

O No, I never saw her before that night she came to me, nor I never knowed whether Hill was married or single.

Q. Did Hill ever visit you in the house where you now live?

O Never, all that I know of Hill was at Westminster.


O I am a Coachman to Mr. -, in Lincoln's-inn-fields. When I waited at Mr. Waddington's last year, I was in Mr. Simpson's family, we used to go sometimes with one family and sometimes with another; our people were then there visiting, and I was waiting at the door with the carriage, I waited there a considerable time that evening, there came up a man in soldiers clothes and two women, and be asked me if there was not one Mr. Butts lived in the house?

I said I did not rightly recollect the name of Butts, there was a man servant lived there, but I did not rightly recollect his name, if he ringed the bell there would somebody come to the door, and he would know whether the person was there that be wanted or not, he rung the bell and Butts came to the door, when Butts opened the door, he asked Butts, how do you do? to the best of my remembrance; and I went down and walked by the side of the horses for a minute or two, or a short time, and I heard them at high words quarrelling as I thought, I then stepped up to the door to know what was the matter.

Butts said, I shall give you no money, I have no right to give you any money, and you have no business here to make a riot, if you do I shall charge a constable with you, or send for somebody or another to send you away from the door; they seemed to abuse him a good deal and called him some disagreeable names.

Q. Who was abusive?

O The man and woman in particular, they semed to signify that he promised or ought to send money to some man. I cannot take upon me particularly to say what they wanted the money for, but they wanted some money; I don't know what to say about the words, they said he was a sodomite, old I---r, or something of the kind; he said, if they would not quit the premises he must go and get somebody to take them away; he went to get a watchman or constable, or somebody, and I stood at the door while he was gone; the first time he could not get any body, and then he said, he most get somebody to take them away, and he went again and some came to his assistance to take them away, and they all went away together, I believe with the constable and all together, I was obliged to attend my horses and carriage, and there was a great mob in the street.


Q. How long have you been in Mr. Waddington's Family?

O Two years. This night I heard a noise at the door, and I came out to see what was the matter, and I saw a soldier standing there. I did not look particularly at him, I heard the woman say that he had been a friend to her husband, says she, give me some money to get my clothes out of pawn.

Q. Did you go before the magistrate?

O No, the women were very abusive to Mr. Butts, and said, that he deserved to be pilloried, and called him a great many abusive names.

Q. Did you stay till they all went together?

O I did not stop all the time, but I see him go away with the people when they went to the watch-house.

Q. Did Butts say any thing that you recollect?

O I don't recollect any thing more than when she said, that he had a right to give her money; he said, he would not give her any; and he told them to go about their business, or else he would fetch proper people to take them.

Prisoner. You never heard me ask for any money?

O No, I don't know that I heard you speak a word, only when the women would have gone away, you said they should not go away.

Court. This Charles Butts. has he been well respected in your family?

O Yes, he is very well respected in the house.

Prisoner. On the 29th of January I was coming from Westminster, and them two women were coming along with me, I was going abroad the next morning, and them two women were going abroad, this Paul Hill lodged along with one of the other women, Margaret Solomons ; this Mr. Butts used to come after this Paul Hill, at his lodgings, and this Margaret Solomon 's said, that this Mr. Butts used to pay for Paul Hill's washing;

I have seen him often coming after Paul Hill myself; so she asked if I would stop with her, and she would go along with me, so I was a little the worse for liquor, and it was too late for going to the Tower, so she went to Mr. Butts's there, and rang the bell, and Mr. Butts came to the door himself, and she asked him how he did? and I the same, as I had seen him before several times, coming after that Paul Hill, and she asked him if he would be so kind to pay her some of the money that Paul Hill owed her, he offered her a shilling, she refused it, and then they had words together, then he said that he would not give her any more then that, she might either take it or leave it alone, and he said you must call again, for my mistress is bad to night;

so she began scolding and making a piece of noise, and I stopped along with her, and he said he would step and get a constable, so she would not go, I asked her to come away, and Mr. Butts went for a constable, or patrol, and he gave charge of the woman; so I asked him what he was going to do with her? and then he gave charge of me. It was the woman asked him for the money, as he used to pay Paul Hill's debts, she asked him if he would be so kind to pay part of what he owed her, which was eleven shillings.

- The prisoner called his serjeant and corporal, and another witness to his character.

Court to Prosecutor. You have heard the defence made by this prisoner, and he says with regard to this money, that the woman only asked for some money that was owing by this Hill and nothing more?

O The story upon my oath is the same as I have told it.

Q. Did she ask you for any money that you owed Hill?

O She asked me for money, but not speaking that I owed Hill any.

Q. Was the prisoner drunk at the time?

O I don't think he was perfectly sober.

Q. What did you mean by saying that you did not know her husband?

O I meant I did not know that she was the wife of that Hill, I never knew that he had a wife.

Q. To Dunnington. Was your mistress brought to bed that day?

O Yes, that morning.

[Verdict: Guilty - Punishment: Imprisoned two years in Newgate, and fined 1s]

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.



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