William Hone.

Hone's interesting history of the memorable Blood Conspiracy online

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scamp him.

Q. What reason did you give Kelly and Ellis for your going after
Salmon ?

A. I said, we will take a walk till it is time to steal the linen.

Q. Was it light or dark?

A. The moon shone. Kelly said, when he came up to Salmon,
G d d n you, what have you got there? Salmon said, Gentle-
men, take what I have got, don't use me ill. He had the breeches
under his arm, and he gave them to me ; they were in a blue-and-
white handkerchief, and I gave them to Kelly. I said to Kelly,
what money have you got ? Salmon said, here, Gentlemen, what
money I have got is in my left-hand waistcoat pocket, in a tobacco,
box ; (he had told me before, what money lie had got would be
there.) Kelly put his hand into his pocket, and took the tobacco.
box out, and a clasp-knife and fork ; then away we walked on for
London, and came into Kent-street as fast as we could, and lodged
there all night, at a house where I paid the money at going down,
by Berry's order, to induce the lads to come there again.

Q. What time did you get to Kent-street after the robbery ?

A. I believe we got there about eleven o'clock; the people had
no clock in the house.

Q. What money did you take from Salmon ?

A. We looked at that coming along; 1 knew what was in it be.
fore ; there were two shillings and sixpence, and a pocket-piece
with Skilion on it, or some such name, and a punch'd mark in the
middle of it.

Court. Look at this tobacco-box.

A. This is the very same, it is rivetted within-side ; I have had
this box a hundred times in my hand before.

Court. Look at this pocket-piece.

A. This is the same piece which I mentioned before.

Court, Look at the two pair of breeches and handkerchief,

A. These are live same breeches and handkerchief.


Court. Look at this knife.

A. It is the same knife.

Q. What was done the next morning, when you lay in Kent-

A. VVe got up the next morning about seveu o'clock, and went
over the way to the sign of the Black Spread Eagle, (the house that
Berry ordered me to go to.) I called for some beer, and said to
Kelly and Ellis, sit down, and I will fetch you something for
breakfast. I went out with that pretence, and went to the White
Bear in the same street, where Berry ordered me to come to let
him know. There sat Berry, Egan, and Salmon at the door, on
the bench. Berry said, Mac Daniel is not come yet; now we must
wait for him. Go you back, and Egan shall come after you di-
rectly. Egan and I walked up the street a little way together. I
said, stop there a bit, while I go over to that shop to buy a lamb's
liver for breakfast; he said he would go on. He went on before,
and called for a pint of beer ; I came after with the liver. I said to
Ellis and Kelly, as I was going to cut the liver, that man deals in
rag-fair, (meaning Egan,) at the same time I knew he did not, but I
was to say so when he came hi. I said, he will buy the
breeches ? Shall I ask him ? Yes, said they, with all our hearts. I
said to him, master, will you buy some leather breeches ; he said,
let me look at them ; if you and I can agree, I will buy them.
After he had looked at them, he said, what will you have for
them ? I said six shillings. He said, I will give you five. He
put his hand into his pocket, and gave Kelly a shilling earnest, and
said, he had not so much money about him, but he would come in an
hour or two, and pay the rest of the money, and he would leave
the breeches in our care till he came back. I said, my friend, will
you eat a bit of liver and bacon before you go t He said, I don't
care if I do. He sat down by the fire side, and said, landlord, let
us have a halfpenny.worth of tobacco, and said, God bless me, I
don't know what I shall do ; I have lost my tobacco-box, (this he
was to say to get the tobacco-box of them.) I said to Kelly, let
us sell him the box, may be be will buy it. Kelly said, no, let us
ding it ; it is such a remarkable one, may be it may be known.
Q. What did he mean by dinging it ?

A. He meant to fling it away ; I said, No, let us sell it ; then
Kelly said, master, I will sell you a tobacco-box, if you'll buy it:
he said, let me look at it; he looked at it, and asked what he
xvould have for it? Kelly asked sixpence for it; he said, no, he
would not give it; I said, we will not have dry money, we'll have
some beer ; then Egan said, he would give a full pot of twopenny
for it; then Kelly said, he should have it; after he had eat his
breakfast, he went out, and goes to Berry and Salmon; I went
backwards with the two boys, to play at skittles to detain them, but
the ground was so wet we could not play, so we found another
pastime called the devil and taylors. I kept them there an hour
and half; then I said, if the man don't come, let us sell the



fcreeches ; I said, I will go and be shaved, and I left my great coat
and went to the White Bear ; but, when they came there, they did
sot like the people of the house, because when Mac Daniel came
they did not like him. I went out of the house, and saw Berry
come out of the Elephant and Castle ; they beckoned me over ; I
went and called for a pint of beer ; Berry said to me, you may

drink with us, and said, d n you, where is your great coat ?

(which is the same I have now,) he bid me turn back and fetch it,
and said, Mac Daniel and Egan shall go.
Q. Who were there ?

A. There were all the four prisoners there, sitting in the box
going in on the left-hand side, drinking ; I went back again to Ellis
and Kelly, and said, the barber is busy, and can't shave me, I
must come again in live or six minutes ; 1 said, the weather is cold,
I must put my great coat on ; I put it on, and went to the Elephant
and Castle to them again. Berry bid me go to the Bell in the Bo-
rough, and stay there till he came, and to get shaved. I went
away, and, as I was going, Egan and Mac Daniel went out ; I got
shaved ; and went to the Bell in the Borough, and called for a
pint of beer and drank it ; about an hour after, Berry came in, and.
we had another pint ; then he and \ went homewards together; we;
went as far as Ludgate Hill, there we saw one Mr. Rogers coming
along, so he said, leave me, don't be seen with me, and I left him.
At night, when Berry came home, I said to him, master, be so good
as to lend me some money to go to the fair to-morrow ; he said,
that is right, Uxbridge fair is to-morrow the 31st; he lent me
eighteen pence, saying, it was to go to Billingsgate to buy shrimps
\vith ; I went to the fair, and came back again on the 1st of August.
Berry bid me not be afraid, saying, he would always keep a good
look-out, and they always said, if I was taken up, Salmon should,
never appear against me.*

Q. Was you at the trial of Kelly and Ellis in Kent!
A. No, I was not.

Q. Where was you at the time of the trial ?
A. 1 was taken up on the Friday before, being the 8th day of the
, month.

Q. What day was the robbery committed?
A. It was on the 29th of July.

This circumstantial deposition of Blee, was substantially corro,
borated by that of a drummer, w,ho saw the lads taken in the con-
certed way described by Blee.

The next evidence details the fortunate apprehension of Blee, and
of the means by which these villains were caught in their own snare.

Joseph Cox sworn.

Joseph Coy;. I have known Mac Daniel two or three years ; I
never saw the other till I saw them all together at Maidstone as.

* The miserable manner in which this wretched tool was rewarded by,
the gang, proves that he was rather the slave of terror than of lucre.

. 22

Sizes ; I went down on the 14tli of August ; I am chief constable of
the lower half hundred of Blackheath ; I had an information, about
the beginning of August, that a breeches-maker had been robbed in
the parish of Deptford, where I live, by three footpads, and that
two of them were taken by Mac Daniel and others, and sent to-
Maidstone gaol ; and the third person, whose name was Thomas
Blee, I was informed, kept company with Mac Daniel ; and, after
two or three day's searching, I very fortunately took the person,
with the help of a constable, at Greenwich, on Friday, the 9th of
August, in Newgate-street, very early in the morning. I took him
directly to the water-side, in order to carry him to Greenwich;
when we got him into the boat, he said he would discover all he
could concerning the robbery of the breeches. maker; I bid him not
do it then, because of the watermen, till we came to a magistrate ;
we took him before Justice Bell ; there he made information, and
signed it ; it contained the substance of the evidence he has now
given against Mac Daniel, Berry, Salmon, and Egan, and therefore
need not be repeated.

As soon as this information was taken, (says Mr. Cox,) I obtained
separate warrants against Mac Daniel, Berry, Salmon, and Egan. I
was advised to attend the trial of Ellis and Kelly, and not to dis.
cover I had Blee in custody till after the trial; and, in order that he
might not escape, Thomas Warren went to assist me. When I
came to Maidstone, I informed myself who were on the back of the
bill of indictment against Ellis and Kelly ; their trial came on the
15th of August, at night; I came into court soon after the trial be-
gan ; Blee was then in my custody, but nabody knew it at Maidstone;
he was brought down in the night, and stopped short of the town.
When I came in, I heard Salmon giving evidence against Kelly and
Ellis; he said, he went in at the Ship at Deptford, and had a pint
of beer ; that he saw three men drinking in a box, and Ellis and
Kelly, the then two prisoners at the bar, were two of the three per.
sons, and the other was a carroty bearded fellow ; that after having
drank his pint of beer, in the dusk of the evening, he set out iu
order to go to London ; and having got as far as the four mile stone,
lie stopped at a gate to make water. In the mean time the three
men came up, and one of them d n'd him, and asked him where
Le was going I he said, he desired him not to swear, and said, he
was going to London ; upon that the carroty bearded fellow snatched^
the bundle from under his arm, and punched him on the breast.
The judge asked him, if it was light enough to see their faces, and
whether he was sure that the prisoners were two of the men ? he
said, it was light enough to see their faces, and was sure they were
the men that robbed him. Then he said, that Kelly, one of the
prisoners, drew a knife, and said, d n him, let us search him, and
took out of his pocket an iron tobacco-box, in which was a guinea
in gold, two shillings and sixpence in silver, and a silver pocket-
piece, and a clasp knife and fork: he said, the bundle contained two
pair of leather.breeches, marked with J. S. and a figure of 4 under

the right pocket, and that the handkerchief had an oilet.hole at each
corner, all which were produced in court ; he looked at them, and
said, they were the goods he was robbed of, and were his property ;
and they are the same here produced ; they were delivered into my
care, and have been ever since. The Judge asked him, how he
knew the pocket-piece ? he said, by a particular mark it had in the
middle. His Lordship asked to see it, and it was handed to him.

Q. Were the other prisoners there ?

A. I saw Mac Daniel, Salmon, and Egan, who all gave their
evidence ; but did not see Berry in Court. Egan next gave his evi.
dence, and said, he dealt in old cloaths ; that on the 30th of July
lie went into Kent-street, to the Lock Hospital, to see if they had
any cloaths to sell, but, they not being up, he went to the Black
Spread Eagle, to get him a pint of beer ; that he observed three
men there drinking, and as he was telling the landlady his business,
one of them, a carroty-bearded fellow, not taken, (for they did not
know he was taken then,) asked him if he would buy two pair of
breeches? he said, Yes, if they could agree for the price; and they
did agree for 5s. and gave Kelly Is. earnest, till his wife should
come with more money, or something of that sort ; and, as he was
asking the landlady for a halfpenny-worth of tobacco, and saying
he had lost his tobacco-box, one of the men offered to sell him
one, and he bought it of him for a pot of twopenny. He said, as
he was looking at the breeches, he knew them to be Salmon's pro-
perty, having heard he had been robbed over night ; he went out
pnder pretence of getting the rest of the money, but, meeting with
Mr. Mac Daniel, an acquaintance of his, and knowing him to be
an officer, he told him the story ; and Mac Daniel said, he need
not trouble himself about an officer, for he could do as well as a
constable ; and so he returned back with him, and took Ellis and
Kelly ; and, upon searching them, took out of Kelly's pocket a sil.
ver pocket-piece, Is. and a clasp-knife. He knew the breeches be-
longed to Salmon by a particular mark. He said, he had bought
breeches of him for himself and for his sou twelve years, and knew
his mark. Mac Daniel was the next witness : he said, he met Egan,
an acquaintance ; and Egan told him the story, and he went with
him, and took Ellis and Kelly, and found upon Kelly a silver pocket,
piece, a shilling, and a clasp-knife.

I had fixed my eye pretty steadily on Mr. Berry, whom I asked
to go with me to drink a glass of wine, which he did, and I se-
cured him at the Bell ; then I went to secure the others according
to my warrant. As soon as they had given their evidence, the crier
ordered them to go out. We secured them; upon searching Mac
Daniel,' I found this knifed upon him ; I was told of it before. As
soon as they were secured, I was forced to get leave to put them in
$he mayor's gaol. I asked Salmon, if he knew one Thomas Blee ?

* Mac Daniel carried the knife as a weapon, lie is represented with
it in the scarce original portrait, of which the print before the title is $n
accurate copy.

He said, he knew no such man : I replied, I am sure you musi
know him ; he as positively denied it again. The next day, when,
he was carried before the Justices, Blee was brought face to face
to him : he looked at him, and declared he had never seeu that man
in his life before. I asked Mac Daniel, if he knew Tom Blee ?
He denied he knew any such person. I asked Egan, and he as
positively denied it as the rest. As Berry and I were going to the
Bell, he asked me what I thought would be the fate of Ellis and
Kelly, and who was to pay the expence of the prosecution, for it
was very considerable ; I told him, if they were convicted, there
woujd be sufficient to pay the expences very handsomely ; and, if
they were acquitted, the prosecutors, I believed, must bear the ex.
pences themselves : he said, he knew that, and for that reason, if
this affair was well over, he never would be concerned again. When
I came to the Bell, I topk him into custody ; and, when I had se.
cured the others in the Mayor's gaol, I carried him to them, and
then asked him if he knew Tom Blee : He said, he did not know
any such person. The next day, when Berry had been carried
before the Justice, and was committed, he and I walked together
from the Bell to the gaol , in going along he said, he hoped the
gentlemen would not admit Mac Daniel as an evidence, because he
had saved himself once before by the same means ; but, said he, if
the gentlemen will admit me an evidence, I can do for Mac Daniel
and another man, meaning Ralph Mitchel. I asked him, if he,
would tell me any particulars he could alledge against them ? He
said, he would write to me in a few days, but hp never did. As to
Mac Daniel, the next morning after he was apprehended, he desired
to speak with me in the room where he was confined. He then
cried a good deal, and begged of me to be his friend, and get him
committed for farther examination ; for, he said, he could make a
very great discovery relating to the public, and could put g500. in
my pocket. I told him, I would acquaint the gentlemen with what
he said, and accordingly I did, and used my endeavours to prevent
his being committed for farther examination : he was afterwards
Committed on the warrant.*

The trial lasted nine hours, and the Jury found them all four
guilty of the facts charged in the indictment; but, whether the facts

* When the compiler of the "History" stated, that nothing so mon-
strous had been heard of in savage nations, not even in the annals of th^
OLD BAILEY, he was correct in his gradation j for corrupted civiliza-
tion is infinitely more deadly than ignorant barbarity. Regard the conduct
of these wretches, Berry and Mac Daniel, each eager to betray the other
on the first alarm of danger, and one of them the murderous miscreant I,
warm from prosecution unto death, crying at his own misfortune. When
the manner in which the conviction of Ellis and Kelly was arranged is con-
sidered, and the calm deliberation with which each villain took up his part,
what a field is open to the imagination, with respect to the consequences
of many years' perseverance in the same course of murder and treachery.
But more of this in the sequel.


charged were within the Statutes of the 4th and 5th of Philip and!
Mary, and the 3d and 4th of William and Mary, they knew not ;
and therefore prayed the assistance of the Court ; so it was made a
special verdict.*

It appears that the apprehensions of the miscreants were now
great, for in November sessions they prayed the Court to be trans,
ported for fourteen years; but on the 26th of June, 1755, the
special verdict which the Jury gave upon the trial was argued by
counsel before the twelve Judges, at Serjeant's-inn-hall, in Chan,
cery.lane ; but the Court deferred hearing the whole then ; and, ia
September following, their lordships being of opinion, that the
facts charged were not within the Statutes of the 4th and 5th of
Philip and Alary, and the 3d and 4th of William and Mary, an
order was given, that they should be indicted for a conspiracy, in
which the facts, with which the prisoners were charged, might be
more clearly explained, and they to receive such punishment, as
might be justly inflicted on them by law.

Accordingly, on the 28th of February, 1756, they were again
arraigned at the sessions at the Old Bailey, upon an indictment for
combining and conspiring together, that one Thomas Blee should
procure two persons, namely, Peter Kelly and John Ellis, to go to
Deptford in Kent, and to take divers goods and money from the
person of the said Salmon on the King's highway, who should be
waiting there for that purpose ; with intent that they should cause
the said two persons to be apprehended and convicted for robbing
him, the said Salmon, on the King's highway, and so unjustly and
wickedly procure to themselves the rewards mentioned in the Act
of Parliament, proclamation, and other parochial rewards, for the
apprehending of highwaymen, July 24, 1754.

Blee was the principal witness against the prisoners in this, as he
was upon the former, trial. One particular he swore in this, which
he had omitted in his first evidence ; namely, that Berry told him,
that, when he, Kelly and Ellis, robbed Salmon on the Deptford
road, he, Berry, laid behind the four-milc.stone, and saw the rob.
bery committed.

The prisoners haying nothing material to say in their defence,

* It is highly important to remark, that Mr. Cox, the constable who
took these villains, suggested a plan to obtain tiieir capital conviction, hut
which the powers that were did not think proper to adopt, and they
escaped. There being statutes in force, by which comforting, aiding,
abetting, hiring, commanding, or counselling the commission of a felonious
act is made felony,, the thief-takers were indicted for thus aiding, hiring,
and counselling ivclly and Ellis to rub Salmon ; but, because it did not
appear that they did immediately and in person apply to Kelly and Ellis,
the verdict was brought spedial. Mr. Cox therefore proposed to get Blee
Convicted for robbing Salmon, and then, by obtaining a pardon for him,
make him a legal evidence against the rest, for counselling, abetting, and
hiring him to rob Salmon, which would have been within the Statute, as
their application to Blee was immediate ; but this, though Blee consented,
was not done, because the pardon of Blee could not be ensured.

ihe Jury found them guilty. The sentence pronounced against
them by the Court was, To be severally imprisoned in Newgate
for the term of seven years ; and in that time to be each of them
set in the pillory twice, in manner following ; Mac Daniel and
Berry in Holborn, near Hatton-garden ; Egarrand Salmon in the
middle of Smithfield ; afterwards, Mac Daniel and Berry at the
end of King-street, Cheapside; and Egan and Salmon again in;
Fleet-street, near Fetter-lane end ; and at the end of that time to
find sureties for their good behaviour for three years, and to pay a
fine of one mark each.

Pursuant to their sentence, Mac Daniel and Berry, on the 5th of
March, stood on the pillory in Holborn, near
Mac Daniel, shortly after he was in, received a terrible wound in
the forehead ; and Berry, who was weak before, could scarcely
endure the vengeance of the populace. It was with the utmost
difficulty that one of the sheriffs and the keeper of Newgate, who
stood in a balcony just by, prevented their being utterly destroyed ;
and so great was the mob, that the peace-officers found it impos.
sible to protect the prisoners from their fury.

March 8, Egan and Salmon stood in the pillory in the middle of
Smithfield rounds ; they were instantly assaulted with showers of
oyster-shells, stones, &c. and had not stood above half an hour
before Egan was struck dead ; and Salmon was so dangerously
wounded in the head, that it was thought impossible he should
recover. A coroner's inquest was held on Egan, who brought in,
a verdict of wilful murder against persons unknown. Thus,
though the law could not find a punishment adequate to the horrid
nature of their crimes, they met with their deserts from the rage of,
the people.

Mary Jones, the vile prosecutrix of the unfortunate Joshua
Kiuden, had secreted herself at a gentleman's house at Twicken-
ham, who had married one of her step.daughters. A warrant
being obtained from Justice Spurling for apprehending her, on
Sunday, February the 1st, Mr. Cox, the head constable of the
Eastern Division of Blackheath, in Kent, and one Paterson and
Thomas Blee went to Twickenham, whereat first, on enquiry, they
were told there was no Mary Jones there ; but on enquiry at the
house for a wrong person, Blee saw her coming down a walk in the
garden, at a distance, (he being the only one that knew her) ; but
she made her escape through the hedge into the next yard, and so
into the cellar of the next house, where after a short search they
found her under a beer-stand, rolled up like a hedge-hog. As
soon as she was discovered, she held out her hand, and desired she
might be helped up, which done, she was confronted with Blee,
and absolutely persisted in having no knowledge of him, protesting
she had never seen Blee before. However, they forthwith brought
her to London in a coach, to the Jerusalem tavern on Clerkenwell
Green ; and on hearing that Justice Spurling was not to be in town
till the uext morning, they carried her for that night to the Flying


Horse In Bartholomew-close, where they secured her till the next
day, and then carried her before Justice Spurlirig, who came to
town on purpose.

This wretch, while before the Justice, stiffly denied knowing
Blee, who was present, or Mac Daniel, or Berry, or any thing
concerning Kidden ; but Blee swearing positively to her, she waa
that day, February 2d, committed to Newgate for the wilful
murder of Joshua Kidden ; the commitment charging her, that she
caused the said Joshua Kidden to be apprehended, and, by perjury,
to be prosecuted and convicted of a robbery, pretended to have
been committed by him, the said Kidden, on her the said Mary
Jones, and for which he was unjustly executed.

On Thursday the 29th of April, 1756, a bill of indictment was
found against the three notorious miscreants, at Hicks's Hall, for
the said wilful murder; and another indictment the same day was
found by the same Grand Jury, charging them all three for a con.
spiracy against the life of the said Kidden.

On Friday the 30th of the same month, another bill of indict,
ment was found by the ("i rand Jury of London, at the Old Bailey,
against John Berry and Mary Jones, for wilful and corrupt per.
jury on the trial of the said Joshua Kidden, (Mac Daniel was not
on the trial), at the Sessions-house in the Old Bailey, when he was

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Online LibraryWilliam HoneHone's interesting history of the memorable Blood Conspiracy → online text (page 3 of 4)