As if Ontario marriage registries weren’t enough, now I learn from Nancy Holmes that the Proceedings of the Old Bailey are on line, too! Here are some from 1700:
“Elizabeth Hemsford , of the Parish of St. Mary Hill , was indicted for Feloniously stealing six Codling Fish, value 9 s. from Christopher Parsons , on the 5th of January last. But the Evidence against her could not prove she stole them, the Jury thereupon acquitted her.”
“John Smith , of London Labourer , was Indicted for a Misdemeanour for Kidnapping and Trepaning one Joseph Portall a Jew , on Board of Ship, and causing him to be conveyed to Mary-land, in parts beyond the Seas into Slavery . And he was likewise Indicted for Spiritting and Treppaning of Samuel Cooper a Christian Youth , of the Age of 16 Years, who he also sent into Slavery . The Evidence for the King, on the First Indictment, proved very fully, that the said Portall who came from Ceuta in Africa, to see his Friends in England, and had been here but Two Days, was enticed off from the Exchange to an Office by St. Mary-hill, and there bound to serve Smith the Prisoner, and that from that time he was sent on Board, and seen in England no more; and the Evidence for the King to the second Indictment, was Coopers Parents, who had sent their Child on a Sunday Morning to Church, and never saw him more, nor heard of him till they found at the said Office that he also was bound to Smith the Prisoner, and sent away with the Jew: It was also affirmed that the said John Smith had lately bound several Hundreds of young People at the said Office, who are all sent for Slaves as aforesaid. The Prisoner had Council learned in the Law, allowed him for his Defence; as for the Facts charged in the two Indictments, they owned them both, and pretended to justify the Action by a Patent for binding all manner of Persons that were willing to serve in the Plantations; which Patent was produced and read in Court, where it did appear the intent and meaning of the said Patent and Office was to prevent any unfair practices of this Nature, and to hinder any Person being sent away contrary to his own Freewill and the Consent of his Parents or Friends, which Consent the Prisoner could not Prove; one of the Prisoner’s Friends who appeared in his Behalf, did Affirm that he had Spoke to Samuel Cooper in Irish before he was Bound, who declared himself willing to go, but on Examination of that matter it appeared that Cooper had alwayes Lived with his Parents about London, and had never been in Ireland, or ever could Speak Irish; which Witness was ordered by the Court to be Secured, then the Prisoner pretended he was only a Servant, and had 10 s. per. Week allowed him for what he did, and would have shifted the Fact from himself; he called no Body to his Reputation, but on the other hand several bad things were fixed on him, particularly that after he was Committed, he said he vallued not what they could do to him, for ’twas but to look through a pair of Nutcracks. He was so enraged against one Mr. Jacob Kysor who had caused him to be Apprehended and Prosecuted, that he wisht he had his Heart Broyled on Coals, for he would Eat it, and Drink his Blood after it: After the Evidence was Summed up, the Jury, brought Smith in Guilty of both the Indictments.”
Gotta love the summary:
“The Trials being over, the Court proceeded to give Judgment as followeth, viz.
Recieved Sentence of Death 11.
Jane Biggs, Nicholas Bennet, Philip Clark, Richard Gash, Anne Graham, Elizabeth Greene, John Hall, John Jones, Cecilia Labree [counterfeiting], Brian Sullivan, Edmond Tooll.
Burnt in the left Cheeck 12.
Andrew Andrews [stole some shirts], John Adams, Peter Browne, Francis Coleman, Robert Collins, John Handly, William Lyddalt Catherine Lewis, George Oxford, Walter Terrey, James, Wood, Hannah Walker.
Burnt in the Hand 3.
Cornelius Fort, James Hewit and Charles Newey.
To be Whipt 8.
John Browne, Thomas Lee, James Morris, Henry Merchant, William Netherwood, Thomas Richmond, Elizabeth Spellman and John Willis.
Edmond Tool is to be Executed and Hang’d in Chains a near the place, as conveniently may be, there he committed the said Murther.
Reprieved after Judgment, Nicholas Bennet and John Jones.
Ann Graham, Jane Biggs, and Elizabeth Green, pleaded their Bellies, and a Jury of Matrons being Impannelled, found Anne Graham and Elizabeth Biggs to be with quick Child, and Elizabeth Green not with quick Child
John Littlehales Fined 50 l. a piece for his 5 Misdedmeanors, and to remain in Prison till he pay the same, and find Surties for Twelve Months.
Henry Waldron Fined 100 l. and to stand three time in the Pillory.
John Smith Fined 80 l. and to stand three times in the Pillory.”