Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A3 Robert Jillett/Gillett/Thomas Elston - Trials in England and Transportation

We may never discover the real Robert Jillett.  From the records in England, he may have been born Thomas Elston, then used the name Robert Gillett as an alias.

Or he may have been Robert Elston, or any other variance imaginable.

Over time the spelling of Gillett changed, to Gilet, Jilet, Jillett.  It is the spelling Jillett that his descendants have adopted throughout the past 220 years.

His crimes are well recorded in the criminal records of the day.    He broke open the house at Addington.

Note in Newgate records ,"Is an old offender escaped lately out of Ilchester Goal where he was committed for a burglary - he broke open the house of Mr Trecothie at Addington in Surrey [AJCP (PRO HO 26/5) Reel 2731]  res24FEB1797 to Life [AJCP PRO 420] , held Newgate Goal, transferred to Prudentia Hulk, Woolwich, Lower Thames  27SEP1797 em20OCT1798 Hillsborough Lower Thames, 


A search the area of Addington in Surrey, not far from London, reveals that in 1794 there were several Thomas Elston's living in Addington.

  Addington Anglican Church and cemetery, the graves cannot be read, it is a very small town

[ASSI 35/235/7]  Lent Assizes, Surrey 1795, Robert Gillett s conviction

"Calendar of Prisoners:  Robert Gillett and John Markam, brought from Kingston Goal, committed by Joseph Mackrill and Francis Searle, Gentlemen, charged on the oaths of David Feltham and others on suspicion of feloniously stealing one pair of Window Curtains, bed furniture, several Blankets, and other things his property in the County of Surrey.

Indictment:  Robert Jillett late of the Parish of Clapham, Surrey, labourer, and John Markam, late of the same, labourer, on 17 March 1795 at Clapham did steal: nine woolen blankets value £3, one muslin toilet value 5/-, one woolen stuff petticoat for a toilet table value 2/-, one muslin cover for a toilet table value 1/-, one bed coverlid of wool and linen value 5/- one woolen rug value 1/-, one woollen coverlid for a bed value 2/-, two cotton window curtains value 10/-, one set of furniture for a tent bedstead of linen and wool value 15/-, all the goods of David Feltham.
                Gillet and Markam were sentenced to seven years of transportation each".
[PRO HO 26/5 Reel 2371]
January Sessions, Old Bailey, London
1797, Jan 7
GILLETT, Robt., vide  ELSTON,  Thos.
Jan 7                                      Elston, Thomas alias Robert Gillett aged 36,
                                                5f 6in, dark complxn., brown hair, grey eyes, Kingston-upon-Thames, a   Shoemaker
                                                Place Committed             Newgate, tried before Williams, Old Bailey
                          for                Returning from transportation before his time had expired
                           on                Jan 11,
                  Before                Chf Baron
             Sentence                Death.  Respd. (=respited) on the Report and pardoned 24 Febry 1797, to be
                                                transported for life.
                                                Transferred        28 Sept 1797 (to Prudentia?)
Note Is an old offender escaped lately out of Ilchester Goal where he was  committed for a burglary - he broke open the house of Mr Trecothie at       Addington in Surrey


[Also The Times, 12JAN1797], as follows:
                      The Sessions commenced this day, before the LORD CHIEF BARON, the Justices ROOKE and LAW-RENCE, and the RECORDER.

Robert Gillett was charged with being feloniously at large before the expiration of the term for which he had been ordered at Surry Assizes.  The Prisoner did not deny the fact, but stated his having worked all last winter with a shoemaker in Plymouth; and the Goaler testified to his good behaviour while in prison.---- Guilty, but recommended to mercy.]


          ROBERT GILLET, otherwise ELSTON, was indicted for returning from transportation before the expiration of the term for which he was ordered to be transported.
           THOMAS CAVE, sworn.--  I am a Police-officer;  I remember the prisoner being tried at the Lent assizes at Kingston, and convicted, (produces the certificate of the conviction) ;  I am sure he is the same man; on the 12th of April I took him down to Langston Harbour, and on the 13th I delivered him on board the Fortunée hulk, Captain Bunn, and I had a receipt for him; (the certificate read).
          Q.  You have not the least doubt that this is the same man ? ----  A. None in the world.
          EDWARD SMITH, sworn.-- I apprehended the prisoner on the 26th of December last, in East Smithfield; I took him to the Public-office, Lambeth-street, Whitechapel; he was committed on suspicion of having returned from transportation, and I got Mr Cave to come forward, and he identified him.
          DANIEL WEBB, sworn.-- I was in company with Smith at the apprehending of the prisoner in East Smithfield; I went with him to the office in Lambeth-street, and he was committed for re-examination.
          Prisoner s defence. I acknowledge that I am the person, and hope your Lordship will forgive me.
          Q. (To Cave).  Do you know any of the circumstances under which this man got away ? ---
          A.--- No.
          Prisoner.  I did not know that I should be tried till Thursday or Friday, and I have no friends here; I have got a wife and five children; I am a shoemaker; I was at Plymouth, and worked with Mr. Wake all last winter.
          Smith.  He has behaved extremely well since he has been in custody.     Prisoner.  There was a ship came in, and a man there that knew me, and I was drove away for fear of being taken.
                                              GUILTY. Death. (Aged 36)
              Tried before the first Middlesex Jury, before The  LORD CHIEF BARON

His grandson tried to get inside the Old Bailey!  Just to help his grandfather, but the gates were locked

TRANSCRIPT OF ROYAL PARDON [AJCP HO PRO 420], death sentence respited to transportation for life.
                 "George R (signature)
                 William Smith & oths
                             Whereas William Smith Robert Gillett alias Thomas Elston Nathan Jacklin Thomas Smith Tate Corbett and Thomas Bales were at a session held at the Old Bailey in January last tried and Convicted of divers felonies and had severally sentences of Death passed upon them for the same We in Consideration of some favorable Circumstances humbly represented unto us in their Behalf are graciously pleased to Extend our Grace and Mercy unto them and to Grant them our pardon for the Crimes of which they severally stand Convicted on Condition of their being respectively Transported to the Eastern Coast of New South Wales or some and or other of the Islands for and during the terms of their respective natural lives.  Our will and pleasure therefore is that you give the necessary directions accordingly and that they be inserted(?) for their Crimes on the said Condition in our first and next General pardon that shall come out for the poor convicts in Newgate and for doing this shall be your warrant given at our Court of  St James s the twenty fourth day of February 1797 in the thirty seventh year of our Reign

                To our Trusty and wellbeloved Sir
                John-William Rose  Kirk(?) recorder
                 of our City of London. The Sheriff of our   By His Majesty's   P. City and County of Middlesex & all others      Command
                whom it may concern                                                                    George R

                                                                                                                (Signature)        "

                [AONSW 4/4003  COD 133 REEL 392]
                                    Name recorded as : Robert Gillet  (alias Elston)

Note :        Spelling left as it was in the original documents*


                [AONSW 4/4003  COD 133 REEL 392]
                                    Name recorded as : Robert Gillet  (alias Elsto


                Hillsboro - Rob. Gillett al. Thomas Elston, Middlesex, 11 Jan 1797, Life.
[On another Hillsborough list, Rob. Jillit, alias Thos Elston, shoemaker].
- Thomas Bradshaw, convicted Warwick Assizes, 31 March  1798, for life. 
[Arr. NSW Hillsborough 1798. (HO 11/1, Reel 87, p.255)]

NOAH, William, 1978.  Voyage to Sydney in the Ship Hillsborough 1798-99, and a Description of the Colony. [Ms. in Dixon Library], Library of Australian History.    
   Gives a vivid description of the voyage and conditions endured by the convicts.  It also notes that six women were given permission to accompany  convict husbands to "the Bay"[Port Jackson=Botany Bay], though not Noah s own wife. A Thomas Bradshaw is listed amongst the convicts, transported for life.  

While Elizabeth Bradshaw does not appear on formal lists for the Hillsborough, confirmation that she was indeed aboard comes from Noah's diary entry for Saturday 15th June, 1799, "a Mrs Bradshaw caught the Fever by Attending her Husband & it spread among the Women that several of them was very poorly". 

Thomas Bradshaw apparently survived to be landed alive, but there is no further reference to him in musters and lists for NSW.  

At least 95 out of 300 convicts died of goal fever (typhoid in the course of the eight month voyage.

p.63  Thomas Bradshaw, tried at Warwick, listed amongst convicts sent from the Stanishlaws Hulk, Woolwich, Oct. 20th 1798.
p.64  Robert Jillit {sic, no alias), tried at Newgate, Shoemaker,listed amongst those convicts sent from the Prudentia Hulk, Woolwich, Oct. 20th 1798.
October 1798
p.11       Thurs 18th inst  "......Arrived alongside the Hilsborough laying at the Upper Hope Gravesend ........"
p.12       Frid 19th inst     ".....only a few of the Ship s Company on board besides 6 Convicts Wives going out with there Husbands ....."
                "Saturday ye 20 inst  Received on board from the Prudentia Hulk 72 Convicts & from the Stanislaws 56 of Woolwich from a Lighter guarded by a Party of Soldiers &c these Men were truly Deplorable so Rag d & Altered that the several [who] went from Newgate I hardly knew them for Vermin they was Eat up with these to us was no very Agreable Companions having never experienced the Hardships of the Hulks which by Account is very Miserable.  But kind Hope Paints in our mind a Better Day & leads us thro the Most Disagreable Pangs and Misfortunes of Life which Death would Otherways be a Happy Relief  "

November 1798

p.15      having left the upper Thames, now lying off Deal (Downs of the Town of Deal)
                Mon 12th inst  "...... Departed this Life and Infant belong g to one Holderness a Convt who was at Langston but his Wife had with 6 other women got permission to go to the Bay with there Husbands and Came Onboard the Day we Came and Allowd a place a purpose on the Gun Deck ...."
                17th inst  [arrived off the Mother Bank, Portsmouth, opposite Rye

December 1798
p.19       one wife was charged 150 guineas for the voyage.
p.20       Thurs 20th   sailed from Portsmouth
                Frid 21st  anchored off Portland Roads
p.21       Sun 23rd  sailed from Portland,  by this time Robert Jillett  would have spent 8 months in Newgate Goal, 13 months on the Hulk Prudentia at Woolwich and just over 2 months on the Hillsborough while she was engaged in loading convicts and stores, tending the sick and preparing for sea.
                Immediately sailed into a gale which resulted in saturated clothes and bedding
                Called at Funchal (Madiera) taking on provisions - wine and produce - sailed past Tenerife - Called at Island of Mayo, Cape Verde Islands - lengthy time at Cape Town tending sick.
Contains details of food and issue of clothes, discipline, potential mutiny, convict discipline of fellows, etc. etc
p.51       Sat 15th June, 1799, "a Mrs Bradshaw caught the Fever by Attending her Husband & it spread among the Women that several of them was very poorly".

July 1799
                Friday ye 26th inst  "at 4 in the Morning Hove to off the Harbour Mouth till Daylight at 7 made Sail & turned up the River which is 7 miles from the Town the appearance is Wild and uncultivated but it made our Hearts glad to think we would now be releast from our unhappy & Miserable Situation in Every Countenance it was Easy to see the Happiness it Created this Voyage was one Continual seen of Harrucan Winds that is seldom meet with in any part of the Globe being here the Depth of Winter & a Voyage the Wind set this Way .........    the following Ship laying in the Harbour the Buffalo & Reliance Kings Sloop of War the Supply a Hulk the Albion and Britannia whaler .............  we were now visited by the Gentlemen of the Town & our Irons Knockd Off"

                "Monday ye 29 Inst    ............. We had now got to the End of a Long and Painfull tedious Voyage where Every Distress was to be meet with Heat Cold Hunger Thirst want of Remant Air &ca witch Created in us poor Convicts filth, Verming & all kind of Diseases wich caus d a Hundred poor Souls to be Buried in the Bowels of the Deph"

Historical Records of Australia

Series 1, Volume2, 1797 - 1800, p. 376- 77
Governor Hunter to the Duke of Portland {Extract}
Sydney New South Wales 27th July 1799

My Lord Duke,
The Albion, south whaler, anchored here on the 29th of June, and deliver d nine hundred tuns of salt pork, and the Hilsborough, transport, arriv d yesterday, in which had been embark d three hundred convicts, but I am sorry to say that such had been the mortality on board that ship two hundr d and five only were landed here, and of that number six are since dead; most of them must for a time be placed in the hospitals.

Here again my Lord, I am compell d, much against my inclination, to recur to my former representations of the want of cloathing and blankets. These people have been put on board this ship with a miserable matrass, and one blanket, and the cloaths only in which they embark d, not a supply of any kind to land them here in, and those worne on board the ship are not fit to be taken on shore; yet, ragged as they are, I cannot suffer even those things which are liable to carry infection to be destroy d, because I have nothing to supply in lieu, the whole colony being naked.

I will direct every means to be used for preventing the goal fever (which I understand to be the principal malady) from being introduced into our hospitals. Permit me, my Lord, to solicite most earnestly that your Grace may issue such directions on the subject of cloathing for the people in this colony as may serve to furnish us with an early supply.


The Church in Addington

There are several reference for Elston in and around the Shere area near where he robbed the house.  There is evidence that the Elston’s were in fact shoemakers!

14 Oct., 1730. Robert Elston of Shere, shoemaker, bachelor,
30, and Jane Storer of Rygate, spinster, 21 ; at Hedly. John Goddard
of W. Horsley, " paganus." Both sign.

29 Dec, 1759. David May of Sheere, abode 4 weeks, butcher,
bachelor, 24, and Elizabeth Bignold of Sheere, alrode 4 weeks, spinster,
25 ; at Sheere. James Elston of Sheere, cordwainer, 2nd s. Both

Robert Gillett was charged with being feloniously at large before the expiration of the term for which he had been ordered at Surrey Assizes.  The Prisoner did not deny the fact, but stated his having worked all last winter with a shoemaker in Plymouth; and the Gaoler testified to his good behaviour while in prison.---- Guilty, but recommended to mercy.]

There are several reference for Elston in and around the Shere area near where he robbed the house.  There is evidence that the Elston’s were in fact shoemakers!

14 Oct., 1730. Robert Elston of Shere, shoemaker, bachelor,
30, and Jane Storer of Rygate, spinster, 21 ; at Hedly. John Goddard
of W. Horsley, " paganus." Both sign.

29 Dec, 1759. David May of Sheere, abode 4 weeks, butcher,
bachelor, 24, and Elizabeth Bignold of Sheere, alrode 4 weeks, spinster,
25 ; at Sheere. James Elston of Sheere, cordwainer, 2nd s. Both

Shere is a village in the Guildford district of Surrey, England about 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Guildford and 4 m  (6.4 km) west of Dorking, bypassed by the A25. 


St Peter and St Paul’s Church West Clandon Surrey has a grave for a James Elston, also a Thomas Elston       

A cordwainer is a shoemaker!

The following is the research from previous Jillett researchers:

In 1760 (the year of birth of Robert Jillett) George 111 was crowned King of England.  Times were very hard and many people were starving.

By the 1760's England had lost her American Colonies - she had been sending the overflow from her gaols to America and now she had to find somewhere else to send them.  In many cases it was STEAL OR STARVE.  Penalties for stealing were:

Stealing goods up to 1/-   Gaol
Stealing goods up to 5/-   Transportation
Stealing goods over 5/-     Death.

Australia had been discovered by Captain James Cook in 1774 and a settlement was made at Port Jackson (Sydney) in 1788.  Also in 1788, Lieutenant King was ordered by Captain Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales to occupy Norfolk Island, about 1,000 miles north east of Sydney, in anticipation of a French settlement there.  This was done and free settlers and convicts went there.     

In 1795 (or earlier) Robert Jillett was arrested for burglary at Addington in Surry at the house of Mr Trecothie.  He was sentenced at the Surry Assizes to Transportation.

While waiting in Ilchester Gaol, Somerset, for a ship he escaped.

* In 1795-96 he spent the winter at Plymouth working with a shoemaker,
he had changed his name to Thomas Elston (his mother's maiden name was Elston).

On 26th December 1796 at East Smithfield, Robert was apprehended.  At the time he
stated he had a wife and 5 children.  (Nothing can be found of this family).

1797 he was retaken and committed for trial on January 7,1797, at Newgate Prison by
Magistrate Williams for being feloniously at large before expiration of the term for which
he had been ordered to be transported.

On January 11, 1797, he was tried at the Old Bailey, Middlesex, before the Chief Baron.
Found Guilty, but recommended to Mercy, but he was sentenced to death. 

When convicted on January 11, 1797 he was aged 36 years, he was 5 foot 6 inches in height,
a dark complexion, brown hair and grey eyes.  His Criminal Register said the above, but
also stated he was from Kingston on Thames and was a shoemaker.

His Indictment reads:  Robert Gillett late of the Parish of Clapham, Surrey, labourer, and
John Markham late of the same, labourer on 17th March 1795 at Clapham did
steal: 9 woolen blankets value £3, one muslin toilet value 5 shillings, one woolen stuff petticoat
for a toilet table,
value 2/- one muslin cover for a toilet table value 1/0- one woolen coverlid for a bed value 2/-,
two cotton window curtains value 10/-, one set of furniture for a tent bedstead of linen and wool value 15/-, all belonging to David Feltham.


(Reprieves (he had one in England and one in New South Wales) were apparently not automatic, intervention must have come from someone with either influence or money.

He was then sentenced to Life Transportation.

On September 28th 1797 he was transferred to the Prison Hulk Prudentia, at Woolwich.  Hulks were old ships no longer good for taking to sea and were tied up in Harbours.  Men were usually sent to Hulks for two years, but Robert Jillett's time was less.

It appears that prisoners on Hulks did outside work, such as roads, bridges, etc, and were returned each night to the Hulks where they were chained and guarded.  The Hulks were apparently so dreadful that prisoners tried to get transported as quickly as possible.
On 26th July 1799, Robert Jillett arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales from Portsmouth on the vessel Hillsborough                  

This was the worst Transport Ship to arrive in New South Wales in terms of lives lost on the journey.

There was typhoid on board.  Men had been taken from other Hulks as well as the Prudentia, and there were quite a few fever-ridden convicts.  On the journey to New South Wales, out of 300 prisoners, 95 died.

The convict's quarters were deluged and their bedding soaked.  At one stage a youthful informant told the Captain that many convicts were out of irons and intended to murder the Officers.  Those out of irons were flogged, receiving from one to six dozen lashes each were then doubled ironed, (shackled to someone else and handcuffed - or hands and legs both shackled).  Some had iron collars around their necks and were kept closely confined."

Author Frank Mc Clune writes a very interesting book about the trip on the Hillsborough and the early days of the settlement at Port Jackson

* At this stage no proof exists of the origin of the name Thomas Elston

What kind of criminal came to Australia?

The First Fleet carried 736 criminals. They were all thieves. Over a hundred had used violence in carrying out their crimes (there were 31 muggers and 71 highway robbers on board), but none was transported for a violent crime, like murder. These first convicts were not naturally dangerous or violent. There was no Social Security in England at this time, and unemployment was even more of a problem than it is today. They were mostly hungry people who could not support themselves without stealing.

First Fleet by Jonathan King
The Original Fleet 1787-88

The original First Fleet of convicts left England just before first light on 13 May 1787,
in the seventeenth year of the reign of King George III. The fleet of eleven small wooden
sailing vessels weighed anchor off Portsmouth and sailed down the Solent Water heading
for New South Wales, discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770.

Criticised and condemned by the few who knew about them, 1,350 seamen, marines and
convicts set sail for an utterly unknown continent on the other side of the world, to found
a new nation in which no European had ever before lived. By midday all the ships had
passed the Needles and the afternoon saw them in the English Channel sailing before a
moderate south easterly breeze.

They sailed to New South Wales via Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Cape Town, South Africa. The voyage took eight months and one week after which they anchored in Port Jackson, where they founded a settlement they called Sydney.

The First Fleet of 1787 was the greatest migratory voyage attempted by man. It travelled further than any other migratory passage, it carried more people, and it went to a land about which the voyagers  ignorance was total. What is more, it was successful.

The ships were also very small with the smallest just a little over 21 metres. The flagship, HMS Sirius, was only half the size of an average merchant ship of the East India Company-and not one of them had been designed to transport convicts or stores on a voyage of this length-yet they all arrived at Botany Bay within three days of each other after eight months at sea.

Yet only 48 people died during the voyage, an amazing achievement in an age of malnutrition, appalling living conditions, medical ignorance, and low value on human life (the expression "may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb" comes from these times when theft of livestock was a capital offence).

The Old Bailey is the Central Criminal Court of London, and here the last scenes of most of the great criminal tragedies of the capital are enacted. In the close atmosphere of a small, inconvenient, and utterly inadequate chamber the most famous advocates of the past and of the present have contended for the life of a fellow creature.

    Passing the grim, forbidding prison of Newgate, with its allegorical chains, and its black memories of the days when a public execution brought together a ribald mob composed of the dregs of the populace, we find immediately adjoining it the Old Bailey. Outside a large crowd is already assembled, for this, it is anticipated, will be the last day of the trial of a young murderer, whose cool, calculating crime has sent a thrill of horror through the kingdom.

    We are early, but if we attempt to enter at the principal doorway we shall have to return. For the trial at which we wish to assist every place has been allotted and admission is by the Under-Sheriff's signed order only. To reach the Court comfortably we shall therefore enter by the side gate. We are provided with the necessary card, and, showing this, the police on duty step aside and permit us to pass. We find ourselves in the courtyard. Here already stands the prison van known as "Black Maria." From it the prisoners who have been brought from another gaol are alighting to be led to the cells in which they will be detained until it is time for them to be placed in the dock.

    In the covered yard, in which we wait until the officer at the foot of the stairs leading to the Court has time to inspect our card of admission, there is a wooden bench. On this are seated two pale-faced, nervous looking women, and an old, grey-hair man. One of the women, the younger, is the sweet-heart of the man at whose trial we are to assist. The old gentleman is his grandfather. Close by, talking together in a low tone, are a group of witnesses.

    Presently the Sheriff's servant in livery
[-108-] comes to the top of the stairs, and we send our card to him. He reads it, and beckons us to follow him. We pass through a glass door at the top of the stairs, and find ourselves in a narrow passage filled with barristers and officials.

A wooden barrier near the entrance of the court is raised for us, and the door-keeper ushers us into a seat in the well. We have only time to glance round the crowded chamber when the cry of the Usher is heard, and everybody starts to his feet. Preceded by the City officials and the Lord Mayor, the Lord Chief Justice enters and takes his seat.

    The prisoner comes up the stairs accompanied by two warders, and steps down to the front of the dock. One of the warders puts a chair for him, and he sits down. His face is pale, and though throughout the week the trial has lasted he has borne himself with considerable bravado, he shows nervousness to-day. For it is Saturday, and he has heard the Judge say that he will sit to any hour in order that the verdict may be reached without the intervention of a Sunday. To-day is, therefore, to seal the prisoner's fate, and he knows that before many hours are over he will leave the Court a free man or be taken to the condemned cell, there to wait until he is led out to die a shameful death.

    The Counsel for the defence, before making his speech, which it is understood will be a short one, has promised to call a witness who was not able to be present before. In the course of the evidence it is necessary that a large photograph of the murdered woman should be handed to the witness and to the Jury. This photograph is held by the Counsel in such a way that the prisoner in the dock cannot help seeing it. He looks at it almost carelessly. There is not a soul in Court who doubts the man's guilt, and this careless look makes people turn to each other and whisper. How can a man standing in the shadow of death look upon the face of his victim without a flushing of the cheeks, without a tremor of the lips? A moment later, and the jacket that the poor woman wore on the night of the crime is held up. The prisoners looks at it for a moment, then glances out of the window, and becomes apparently interested in two sparrows who are chirruping on the wall. The nervousness he betrayed when he stepped into the dock he has apparently conquered.

    Counsel makes his speech. It is a clear impassioned effort to belittle the evidence as purely circumstantial, and to build up a theory that the murder was committed by a man unknown who has been vaguely hinted at as having been seen in the neighbourhood of the crime. In the course of the speech there is a strong attack made upon the police who have had "the getting up of the case." The detectives to whom unpleasant reference is made are seated near the solicitors' table. One of them holds on his knee the black bag which contains the direct evidence that connects the prisoner with the deed. Counsel points a denunciatory finger at him, and refers to him in terms of withering scorn. But the detective sits unmoved, with the blank expression on his face of a deaf man in church during sermon time.
The Judge makes an occasional note or two, then sits back in his seat and folds his hands in his lap. But the prisoner's face relaxes into a grim smile when the police who have hunted him down are abused, and in the glance he darts at the victim of his Counsel's scathing eloquence there is a world of malignity.

    It is a brilliant speech, and the rumour that it is stirring and dramatic has spread to the other Courts. Barristers look in, and occupy a tightly packed space between the press box and the public seats. From the gallery above the spectators lean over, listening intently. On the bench a well-known peer, a famous general, and a clergyman have taken their places and are deeply interested. Packed tightly together in the limited space allotted to the public are politicians, literary men, dramatists, actors, men of fashion and of finance. The Jury listen attentively, but with impassive faces. The foreman, half turned towards the Counsel, leans his elbow on the edge of the jury box and rests his head upon his hand.

    The speech as it progresses and becomes more and more dramatic and impassioned  has a distinct effect upon the prisoner. It is raising his hopes. The same thought has come into his mind that has come into the minds of the large audience - Will the Jury seize the loophole offered them by the advocate and give the prisoner the benefit
[-110-] of the doubt. The advocate finishes with a magnificent burst of eloquence. As he utters the last word and sinks into his seat one is almost tempted to applaud him. It seems a drop from the clouds to the earth when the Judge, glancing at the clock, says, "I think this will be a convenient time to adjourn."

    Everybody rises. The Lord Mayor, the Aldermen and others on the bench, stand back as the Lord Chief Justice walks with quiet dignity to the door where Mr. Under-Sheriff is waiting to conduct him to the luncheon room. The warders turn to the prisoner, who rises, glances at the clock, and then goes down the little staircase that leads to the cell below, in which his mid-day meal will be served.

    The prisoner can order practically what he likes, with certain restrictions as regards liquor. His lunch is sent in from a neighbouring hostelry, and he eats it under fairly comfortable circumstances.

    The Court now rapidly empties. The barristers go to their luncheon room, and the spectators file out into the street to take their refreshment. There is a luncheon bar at the public house opposite the Old Bailey, and her the prospects of the verdict are eagerly discussed.

    In response to the courteous invitation of the Under-Sheriff, we are privileged to be his guests. We find ourselves in a comfortable dining room in which a big table is laid for luncheon. The Lord Chief in his robes sits at the head of it. Here and there along the table are barristers and distinguished visitors to whom the Under-Sheriff has extended his hospitality. Liveried servants wait upon the guests, who speak together in a low tone. In the presence of the Lord Chief no reference is made aloud to the case that is being tried.

    After luncheon the Lord Chief retires, and coffee is served in an adjoining apartment. Here one meets barristers and visitors who have been lunching in other rooms. Here is the clergyman who has been sitting quietly on the bench all the morning. It is only when we learn who he is that the significance of his presence is understood. He is the Sheriff's Chaplain. In the event of the verdict being against the prisoner he will be called upon to take an active part in the later proceedings.
  Suddenly there is a general murmur. The
  word has gone round that the Lord Chief is ready to resume. The Under-Sheriff is quickly in attendance, and precedes his Lordship to the Court. There is a moment's pause while barristers and spectators settle down, and then the prisoner is brought up and the trial proceeds.
    The Counsel for the prosecution rises. He is about to reply on the whole case. The prisoner leans forward and listens attentively to the opening. Slowly, but with masterly precision, the eminent King's Counsel, who is acting for the Treasury, sweeps away point after point made by the defence. With perfect fairness, but with deadly effect, he reweaves the evidence, twisting the separate strands into a hangman's rope. The prisoner shifts uneasily in his chair. He can no longer conceal his nervous apprehension. His lips twitch. There is a flushing of the neck and cheeks. Again and again he passes his handkerchief over his face. For the first time a warder has seated himself close behind him, and another warder has taken the vacant corner.
As Counsel drives nail after nail into the coffin of a living man, the prisoner, whose head has been bending down, sways slightly, and the warder nearest him catches his arm. But for that grasp he would probably have fainted. He recovers himself, but the warders' shoulders now almost touch his.

    For two hours the Counsel for the Crown speaks, always in the same calm but convincing manner. When at last the speech is ended, there is but one opinion in Court. The prisoner is doomed. Only were and there men whisper to each other there is a rumour that one Juryman is against capital punishment. He may hold out and delay the verdict.

    But the Lord Chief has yet to sum up. As he begins to speak the prisoner revives a little. For the summing up is to the speech of Cousel as a gentle, purling brook after the remorseless flood. The Judge brings before the Jury all that should weigh with them in the prisoner's favour, all that should tell against him. It is a quiet, almost a soothing summing up, but it disposes of all possible doubt in the minds of the audience. Nothing but an obstinate Juryman can save the prisoner now.

    It is past six o'clock when the Judge withdraws, and the Clerk, giving the Jury into custody of the Usher, bids them retire and consider their verdict.

    Again the Judge leaves the bench, and the prisoner is led below. The Jury file out, and the spectators eagerly scan their faces as they go. Which is the Juryman who is expected to be obstinate and to keep us all in a state of suspense for hours?

    With the departure of the Jury a buzz of
conversation begins. Counsel come forward and chat with the spectators whom they know. Journalists who have to get their "special" accounts done for the Sunday papers look anxiously at their watches. It is past six - it may be eight before the Jury returns, it may be nine. Will there be time for dinner? Will it be safe to go to a restaurant? It is impossible to say. The Jury may agree in a few minutes if the verdict is to be guilty; they may remain deliberating for hours if only one of their number is in favour of an acquittal.

    The atmosphere of the Court has become almost unbearable with the night. The gas jets have all been lighted long ago, and the air of the small chamber, which has been breathed for more than ten hours by a packed audience, has become heavy and vitiated. The faces of the audience are anxious and flushed. The excitement and suspense are intensified by the sense of the impending doom of a fellow-creature. Outside in the corridor they tell us that the young man's sweetheart is in a room waiting for the verdict. His father and mother have left the building, unable to bear the strain.

    The clock ticks on - the Jury have been gone half an hour. Have they disagreed? Must we remain in this terrible Court to hear sentence pronounced at midnight, as happened years ago in the trial of two men and two women for the Penge murder?

    Just as the spectators have made up their mind that the verdict may be delayed for hours, there is a sudden excitement near the door by which the Jury retired. The Usher has come to say they are agreed upon their verdict. Instantly a dead silence falls upon the Court. Everyone returns to his seat. Counsel take their places. The Judge enters slowly and solemnly.

    Now for the first time we can see that the prisoner is in readiness. We catch sight of him half way up the steps that lead to the dock. There are two warders with him, and an officer in plain clothes stands behind him. The Judge takes his seat. A warder touches the prisoner on the shoulder, he mounts the remaining steps and comes down to the front of the dock. Two warders stand by him on each side.

    The Jury re-enter. The Clerk calls out their names one by one, and they answer to them. Then he says to them:
    "Gentlemen of the Jury, have you agreed upon your verdict?"
    The Foreman answers, "Yes."                                                                                                               
    "Do you find the prisoner at the bar guilty or not guilty?"
    There is a moment's hush, a general catching of the breath.
    The warders' hands almost join behind the prisoner's back.
    But he has only given a little start. For a moment his jaw has fallen, but he closes it again with a snap and stands pale - almost defiant.
    He is asked the usual question - Has he anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon him?
    In a husky voice he replies,
    "Only that I am innocent, sir."
    The Judge's Clerk has risen from his desk. He has something in his hand. It is a square piece of cloth. It is the Black Cap. He lays it on the Judge's wig, and then for the first time we realise that the clergyman who has
[-113-] been present all day on the bench has put on a black gown and stands near the Judge.
    The Lord Chief addresses the prisoner by name. Only a few words he speaks to him, saying that he will not harrow his feelings. Then he pronounces the dread sentence of the law. When he says "And may the Lord have mercy on your soul," over the solemn silence that follows rings the deep voice of the chaplain -

    No one  moves for a second, everyone is watching the condemned man. He lingers for a second, his lips moving as though he wanted to speak. Then the warders take his arms. He turns, and, with a last look around the Court as though in search of someone, he disappears from view.
    The Court rises. The spectators come into the corridors. There is a hum of conversation, a hurried exchange of good nights, and we pour out into the welcome air of the street.

    Outside there is a crowd. They heard the news some minutes ago. The Judge had barely passed the sentence when we caught a fair cheer. Now, as we get outside, where the police are busy keep a pathway for us, we are questioned on all sides as to how the prisoner behaved at the finish.
    Before we have reached the end of the street of doom the newsboys are rushing up. One of them stands in front of the Old Bailey with papers on his arm and a contents bill open in front of him. On it we see, in large letters,
    The boy begins to shout the news. The gates of court-yard open and a four-wheeled cab comes slowly out.
    In it are two women. One is lying with her head upon the other's shoulder. The fainting woman is the sweetheart of the man who death sentence is being shouted almost in her ears as the cab passes down Newgate Street.

For so many prisoners a trial such as this was the precluder to their leaving for Australia. 

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