Tuesday, 10 July 1810
POLICE. Bow-Street, July 9. In consequence of its having been represented to the Magistrates of the above office, that a number of persons of a most detestable description, met at the house of James Cooke, the White Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market, particularly on a Sunday night, a privy search-warant was issued, and was put in execution on Sunday night last, when 23 persons, including the landlord of the house, were taken into custody, and lodged in St. Clement's watch-house, till yesterday, at eleven o-clock,w hen they were brought before Mr. Read for examination; but the circumstance having transpired, a great concourse of people had collected in Bow-street, and which was much increased by the mob that followed the prisoners when they were brought from the watch-house. It was with the greatest difficulty the officers could bring them to and from the Brown Bear to the Office; the mob, particularly the women, expressing their detestation of the offence of which the prisoners were charged. Tuesday 10 July 1810
Tuesday, 10 July 1810
POLICE. Bow-Street, July 9. In consequence of its having been represented to the Magistrates of the above office, that a number of persons of a most detestable description, met at the house of James Cooke, the White Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market, particularly on a Sunday night, a privy search-warant was issued, and was put in execution on Sunday night last, when 23 persons, including the landlord of the house, were taken into custody, and lodged in St. Clement's watch-house, till yesterday, at eleven o-clock,w hen they were brought before Mr. Read for examination; but the circumstance having transpired, a great concourse of people had collected in Bow-street, and which was much increased by the mob that followed the prisoners when they were brought from the watch-house. It was with the greatest difficulty the officers could bring them to and from the Brown Bear to the Office; the mob, particularly the women, expressing their detestation of the offence of which the prisoners were charged.
Tuesday 10 July 1810
Yesterday morning, at eleven, the Bow-street officers proceeded with three coaches to the watch-house to bring up the prisoners for examination; but the concourse of people was so great that the carriages could scarcely proceed. Bow-street, and all the avenues leading to it, were also immensely crowded, and so continued till past 5 in the afternoon.
The prisoners underwent a long examination. Several were discharged, the proofs against them not being sufficiently strong to warrant their detention for trial; but their liberation was instantaneously productive of the most dangerous consequences. The multitude, male and female, fell upon them as they came out. They were knocked down, kicked, and covered with mud through every street in their endeavours to escape. The women, particularly those of Russel-street and Covent-garden market, were most ferocious in the application of this discipline; but the lower order of the male spectators were by no means lax in their exertions to mark their detestations of these wretches.
Out of the whole number, eight were ordered to find bail for the misdemeanour, and in default were committed to prison. They were housed for a time at the Brown Bear, in Bow-street, until the crowd should disperse. The crowd, however, continued to block up the Street and its avenues. A coach was drawn up before the door of the Brown Bear, for the conveyance of a part of the Delinquents to prison. This afforded a fresh signal to whet the eagerness of the mob, who pressed close round the carrige, and could not be kept off by the constables. It was, therefore, seen that any attempt to convey the Prisoners that way, must have exposed them to extremely rough handling, if not to urder. It was in consequence deemed prudent to detain the coach there, and by that means to fix the attention of the multitude, while the Prisoners were taken, about half-past four, over a wall at the rear of the Brown Bear, and into a large yard behind, which has an avenue to Russell-street, through which, after some time, they were conducted, hand-cuffed three together, to coaches, and conveyed to prison.
One of those committed is a soldier; the reset of them flashy dressed fellows, in coloured clothes, with nankeen trowsers, silk stockings, &c. all hale robust fellows, the oldest not above 33.
The crowd was not dispersed from Bow-street and its vicinity till near six o-clock, and appeared to be extremely mortified at the escape of their intended victims. (The Times, Issue 8029)
Thursday 12 July 1810
&nsp; THOMAS HAYLETT.
Witness M. K. SUPPLE.
Monday, 16 July 1810
Henry Toogood, another of the persons who was apprehended at the same house with the same persons, was also brought from the prison, and was admitted to bail in 100l. and two sureties, Wm. Baker, of Silver-street, Clerkenwell-green, and Wm. Wye, of Bunhill-row, in 50l. each.
Application was made on Saturday night to bail Cook, the landlord of the public house, but it was put off till this day.
(Morning Chronicle. From this report we can see how risky it was for any friends to provide sureties for a suspected sodomite, for their names would be published in the newspapers. Incidentally, according to the Morning Chronicle for 17 July 1810, Mr Nares the Magistrate refused Cook's application for bail. Also incidentally, the Morning Chronicle for Thursday, 26 July 1810, reported the suicide "yesterday morning" of Mr Tranter, a footman in the service of the Prince of Wales, in Carlton House.)
17 July 1810
Barlowe, who is a young man, and had been a Gentleman's servant, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, and the same recognizances as Lyon.
THOMAS SINEY was indicted for an assault with the like intent upon a youth, named Nicholson, in Moorfields, on the 29th April. The assault was clearly proved. The prisoner, in a sanctified tone, made a long speech in his defence. said he was coming from a place of worship, and that it was the prosecutor who made the assault upon him. He said he had been but three weeks in London, and was going from the Tabernacle to his lodgings in Tash-street, Gray's-inn-lane, but he produced no witnesses even to character.
the Court sentenced him to two years imprisonment, and the like recognizance as in the preceding cases. (The Times, Issue 8036)
18 July 1810
At the Clerkenwell Sessions yesterday, four persons, of the names of Ramsey, Clarke, Goff, and Hill, were found guilty of an attempt to extort 10l. from T. Fitzhugh, a gentleman's servant, by threatening to charge him with an unnatural offence. (The Times, Issue 8037)
26 July 1810
&^nbsp; Barr asked Tranter what induced him to do the rash act? he replied "he had done it himself, and it was no business of his or any body else." Tranter lived about twenty minutes. The letter he was writing proved to be a letter addressed to his sister's husband, bequeathing all his property to his sister, amounting to about 500l. except 40l. to be given to a natural child.
&bbsp; He appeared to be in very good health and spirits on Tuesday. He neither assigned any cause for the rash act, nor can any conjecture be formed as to the cause, except a report of a disappointment in a love affair. He had lived with the PRINCE between seven and eight years. Previous to that he lived with the Duke of QUEENSBURY as a running footman. The body was taken to St. Martin's bonehouse. (The Times, Issue 8044)
Friday, 27 July 1810
Yesterday at Bow-street, the Ensign brought up by Revett, the officer, from the Isle of Wight, in consequence of a charge agaisnt him of an inhuman offence, at the Swan public house in Vere-street, underwent an examination before Mr. Justice Birnie. It is horrible to hear of the multiplied instances of this detestable crime; and in none have the circumstances been more atrocious, or the charge more distinctly proved. We, of course, abstain from all detail. The prisoner's name is Hepburn, an Ensign belonging to a West India Regiment. He was fully committed to Newgate to take his trial, on the oath of a drummer in the Guards. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 12859)
Wednesday 1 August 1810
Yesterday at Bow-street, the Ensign brought up by Rivett, the officer, from the Isle of Wight, in consequence of a charge against him of a detestable offence, at the Swan public-house, in Vere-street, underwent an examination before Mr. Justice Birnie. It is horrible to hear of the multiplied instances of this detestable crime; and in none have the circumstances been more atrocious or the charge more distinctly proved. We, of course, abstain from alldetail. The prisoner's name is Hepburn an Ensign belonging to a West India regiment. He was fullyi committed in Newgate to take his trial, on the oath of a drummer in the Guards. (Hereford Journal)
Saturday, 4 August 1810
Wednesday Dickinson, who was convicted at the last Westminster Sessions, of an assault upon a drum boy in the Guards, was exhibited, for an hour, on the pillory, at Charing-Cross; and received a most pitiless pelting from the indignant multitude, with mud, eggs, turnips, and other missiles. He is a well looking young man, about 22, and was a waiter at Hatchett's hotel, Piccadilly. In the course of the first 10 minutes he was so completely enveloped with mud and filth, that it was scarcely possible to distinguish his back from his front; and it was with the utmost difficulty that the peace officers could prevent him from being torn to pieces by the mob, on his return from the pillory to the prison. (Ipswich Journal, Issue 4013)
Saturday, 18 August 1810
20 September 1810
Saturday, 29 September 1810
On sentence being pronounced they were all handcuffed, and tied to one chain in Court, and ordered to Cold Bath-fields prison. On leaving the Court, a numerous crowd of people, which had collected at the door, assailed them with fists, sticks, adn stones, which the constables could not completely prevent, although they were about 40 in number. The prisoners perceiving their perilous situation, immediately ran in a body to the prison, which they reached in a few minutes, and the constables, by blockading the streets, prevented the most fleet of their assailants from molesting them during their inglorioius retreat. (Jackson's Oxford Journal, Issue 2996)
26 September 1810
An exhibition on the pillory of one of the wretches recently convicted at Clerkenwell took place yesterday, at 12 o'clock, opposite the Mansion-house when this human monster suffered all that could be inflicted by mud, rotten eggs, and potatoes.
Saturday, 29 September 1810
MIDDLESEX SESSIONS. Unnatural Crimes. Seven of the infamous club of Vere-street, viz. Wm. Amos, alias Fox, James Cooke, Philip Islet, William Thompson, Richard Francis, James Done, and Robert Aspinal, were tried on Saturday, and all found Guilty.
27 September 1810
Notices were yesterday issued by the Sheriffs of Middlesex to all their officers, to appear this morning with their javelins at Newgate, for the purpose of escorting the Vere-street squad to the Haymarket, where they are to exhibit their faces precisely at 12 o'clock. (The Times)
Friday, 28 September 1810
PILLORY. Yesterday William Amos, alias Fox, James Cook (the landlord), Philip Bell (the waiter), William Thomson, Richard Francis, and James Done, six of the Vere-street gang, stood in the Pillory, in the centre of the Hay-market, opposite Norris-street. They were conveyed from Newgate in the open caravan used for the purpose of taking the transports [i.e. those sentenced to transportation] to Portsmouth, in which they were no sooner placed, than the mob began to salute them with mud, rotten eggs, and filth, with which they continued to pelt them along Ludgate-hill, Fleet-street, the Strand, and Charing-cross. When they arrived at the Hay-market, it was found that the pillory would only accommodate four at once. At one o'clock, therefore, four of them were placed on the platform, and the two others were in the meantime taken to St. Martin's Watch-house. The concours of people assembled were immense, even the tops of the houses in the Hay-market were covered with spectators. As soon as a convenient ring was formed [i.e. a space around the pillory], a number of women were admitted within side, who vigorously expressed their abhorrence of the miscreants, by a perpetual shower of mud, egs, offal, and every kind of filth with which they had plentifully supplied themselves in baskets and buckets. When the criminals had stood their allotted time, they were conveyed to Coldbath-fields Prison. At two o'clock the remaining two were placed in the Pillory, and were pelted till it was scarcely possible to adistinguish the human shape. The caravan conveyed the two last through the Strand, then to Newgate, the mob continuing to pelt them all the way. Notwithstanding the immense concourse of people, we are happy to learn that no accident occurred.
28 September 1810
Yesterday [i.e. 27 Sept.], Cooke, the Publican of the Swan in Vere-street, Clare-market, and five others of the eleven miscreants convicted at Clerkenwell Sessions last Saturday, of detestable practices, were exhibitedin the Pillory in the Hay market, opposite to Panton-street. Such was the degree of popular indignation excited against these
wretches, and such the general eagerness to witness their
punishment, that, by ten in the morning, the chief avenues from
Clerkenwell Prison and Newgate to the place of punishment were
crowded with people; and the multitude assembled in the
Haymarket, and all its immediate vicinity, was so great as to
render the streets impassible. All the windows and eventhe very
roofs of the houses were crowded with persons of both sexes; and
every coach, waggon, hay-cart, dray, and other vehicles which
blocked up great part of the street, were crowded with
28 September 1810
The disgust felt by all ranks in Society at the detestable
conduct of these wretches occasioned many thousands to become
spectators of their punishment. At an early hour the Old Bailey
was completely blockaded, and the increase of the mob about 12
o'clock, put a stop to the business of the sessions. The shops
from Ludgate Hill to the Haymarket were shut up, and the streets
lined with people, waiting to see the offenders pass. Four of the
latter had been removed from the House of Correction to Newgate
on Wednesday evening, and being joined by Cook and Amos, they
were ready to proceed to the place of punishment.
29 September 1810
The Bow-Street officers and patrol apprehended many pickpockets in the crowd during the pilloring of Cook et al., including Samuel Brooke; William Hall; John Fregeur, a porter at the Saracen's Head, Snow Hill; George Cohen. (The Times)
29 September 1810
We understand that in consequence of a proposition from Cooke the Publican, and one of the miscreants who were pilloried in the Hay-market on Thursday, there was a meeting of the Westminster Magistrates on Wednesday evening, to consider his offer for discovering a number of his accomplices in the same abominable system, but in a very different rank in life, provided his punishment of the Pillory was remitted; but that the Magistrates, after full deliberation, deemed it more for the advantage of public morals to reject his proposition, and let the sentence of the law take its course. (The Times, Issue 8101)
Monday, 1 October 1810
Tuesday, 2 October 1810
James M'Namara, a low vulgar Irishman, seemingly a bricklayer's labourer, and Thomas Walker, a squalid looking lad of about 17, a soldier in the first regiment of Guards, were tried for a similar crime, on the 14th ult.; and George Horiby, a cobbler, and John Cutmore, a soldier, were indicted for a similar crime, at the Star and Crown public-house, in Broadway, Westminster, on the 21st July. All four were found guilty. Sentence deferred. (The Hull Packet and Original Weekly Commercial, Literary and General Advertiser, Issue 1238; the full report of the trial was otherwise identical with that reported by Jackson's Oxford Journal for 29 September. The same brief report appeared in the Morning Chronicle for 24 September, which added the sentence "All four were caught in the fact.")
Tuesday 2 October 1810
On Saturday week, nine of those abominable wretches, denominated the Vere-street club, were indicted at the Clerkenwell sessions, for committing divers vile and unnatural crimes. They were all found guilty, and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, and some of them to the pillory. Mr. Gurney attended as counsel for the landlord of the house, who was also implicated, but observed, that the testimony was so clear, consistent, and uncontradicted against them, as to leave no ground of palliation, upon which to make an appeal to the jury, and which went to excite the idea, that the horrors of Sodom and Gomorrah were revived in London. Four other wretches, unconnected with the above, were also found guilty on similar charges. (Chester Courant)
Wednesday 3 October 1810
The rumours of the intended exhibition having been very generally circulated, the town, at an early hour, was a scene of bustle and expectation. About eleven o'clock, the shopkeepers of Fleet-street and the Strand, judging from the immense number of persons who were assembling, that their shop-windows would in all probability be destroyed, took the precaution of putting up their shutters. Many thousands of persons were, indeed, in motion some pressing towards the Old Bailey, others, in a contrary direction, towards the Hay-market. A vast number of carts and waggons were stationed along the streets; they were crowded with men and women of the lower order, alleager to shower their filthy vengeance on the devoted heads of those contemners of every law, divine and human. The windows were also filled with persons desirous of beholding the sight which the metropolis never before exhibited; the transit of six ruffians, whose flagitious crimes are disgraceful to the name of manhood! A sstranger would have imagined, from the general appearance of the streets, that some grand pageant was expected to pass through the city.
About twenty minutes before one, the prisoners departed from Newgate. The caravan in which they were was surrounded by a great body of peace-officeres on horseback; the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, and the City Marshals, also attended. The appearance of the cavalcade was the signal for a general shout, which shook the welkin; and the street dirt and filth of every description, which the mobility had employed themselves during the morning in collecting, were poured into the caravan from all quarters; the prisoners instantly bent their bodies, but this meanoeuvre availed very little; for, in spite of the force which surrounded the vehicle, the mob rushed to its very sides, and saluted the faces of these wretches with every species of filth and defilement. The disgusting wretches were fastened in such a manner, that they could not lie down; which, doubtless, they would have done had it been in their power. By the time they had reached the end of Ludgate-street, altuough the caravan went at a very smart pace, no vestige of “the human face divine” was perceptible. But the delicacies with which they had been hitherto treated, dwindled into the insignificance, when contrasted with the shower which assailed them at the end of Fleet-market. A number of butchers' boys had stationed themselves in a cart close by the footway, and severla others had clambered to the top of the linen-drapers' shops which stand in the front of the marekt: to those depots they had transferred all the filth, garbage, animal and vegetable, which the market afforded; and, from their pround eminence, they overwhelmed the prisoners with a deluge of Hotentot ornaments; the entrails of sheep and of oxen, of fowls and of fish, came down with a horrid stench; and, instantaneously, the vehicle assumed the appearance of an offal cart. During their progress through Fleet-street and the Strand, they were received with the same marks of hatred and detestation. The mud had been previously collected by the populace, and formed into balls of considerable size, which though thrown from all sides, terminated generally in one common centre. Occasionally, however, the mud and dirt missed the intended object, and bespattered those who approached too near the scene of action. The cavalcade, in the first instance,proceeded to St. Martin's watch-house, where two of the prisoner, Cooke and Amos, were deposited, while their companions in infamy, Ilett, Doan, Francis, and Thompson, were taken to the Haymarket, “to fret and fume their hour upon the” pillory! The machine was fixed near the top of the Haymarket, and a multitude of the lowest order of women had stationed themselves as near to it as possible, being determined, as many of them expressed it,
“To make those wretches remember
The 27th of September!”
Many of those Amazonian trulls begged earnestly of the Gentlemen, whose curiosity had led them there, for a few halfpence, to afford them a little gin, that they might go through their task with spirit; a requesat whiuch not a few complied with. At that end of the street next to Piccadilly, a great number of carts and carriages were assembled, and many persons padi a stipulated sum for permission to mount of them; but no sooner had they taken their situations, than the mob in the rear, whose view of the passing scene they intercepted, attacked them with mud and stones, and drove them from their places.
At twenty minutes after none, Jack Ketch mounted the pillory, with one of the offenders, but which of them it was impossible to discover from head to foot he was one mass of filth a perfect-moving dunghill! He was received with a tremendous roar, and the ammunication which had been collected during the morning was plied with great fury. The executioner of the law, in consequence, felt very great inconvenience and difficulty in performing his duty, as he, of course, came in for a full share of the unsavoury presents which were intended for the delinquent. In ten minutes, howeve,r he succeeded in placing the culprits intheir elevated situation, when they commenced their career in a brisk trot, which they kept up during an hour with unabated celerity. The populace, on the othere hand, were not idle with most persevering industry they plied the culprits, to the latest minute, with rotten eggs, dead cats and dogs, mud, apples, potatoes, nay, even stones; until, a few minutes after two, the term of punishment having expired, the miserable wretches, almost lifeless, were taken down, and placed in the caravan, which drove towards St. martin's watch-house; but the crowd about the watch-house was so excessive, that it was dangerous to attempt placing the prisoners there, they were therefore conveyed, attended by an immense multitude, to Coldbath-fields prison, there to be incarcerated for two years each.
Cooke and Amos were, a few minutes before two, taken out of the watch-house in St. Martin's-lane. On their appearing in the lane, they received from the poulace a volley of every kind of filth, attended by exclamations which showed the abhorrence in which they held their crime. At that moment a bricklayer's labourer passed by with a hod of mortar on his shoulder, which proved of great advantage to the assailants: the labourer was in a short time eased of his burden, which was safely lodged in the caravan,and disfigured the countenances of the disgraceful objects within. Before the Sheriff and his assistants could surround the cart, about 20 females, of Billingsgate fame, rushed forward, with their magazines well furnished with mud, &c. which they had stowed in their aprons, in imitation of the sharp shooters. A well-directed volley was given, which had the effect of putting the culprints out of countenance; for that part was completely covered with a mixture more easy to be conceived than described. Cooke felt offended at this rough treatment, and returned, like a true warrior, the fire of his enraged countrywomen with the ammunition they had put in his possession. This raised the fury of the populace, and we may say, that when those culprits reached the place of their exaltation, they ought to have rejoined; for if they had been obliged to continue their journey a quarter of a mile further, they would in all probability have lost their lives. It was only bh the active assistance and judicious interference of the Police Officers, they escaped. Fox first mounted the stage, and declined addressing the audience; it was not so with Cooke, he came on undismayed, and walked u to the neck-yoke with confidence. He addressed the populace, and declared his innocence. The friends of justice immediately answered, that they would convince him of their opinion in a very short time; he then submitted his neck to the yoke; and John Bull, who is always willing to give his enemies fair play, did not fire a shot until Jack Ketch descended; after which, a regular cannonading took place; some pieces carried soft ammunition, mud, &c.; others hard eggs, potatoes, and apples; and others, more hard-hearted, allowed a brick-bat to slip through their fingers Those instances were not many; but one of them took the forehead of Cooke, and made an incision from temple to temple, as if it had been pereformed with the assistance of an Indian scalping-knife. The prisoners appeared to be men of bottom (or gluttons, as it is termed in the pugilistic vocabulary), for they did not give in, but walked merrily round, with the assistance of a person below to turn their neck-handkerchiefs!
The hour having expired, the pillory was stopped, but the caravan had not arrived from Coldbath-fields Prison, where it went to deposite [sic] the four malefactors who had appeared first on the vehicle of disgrace. They were placed by jack Ketch under the pillory, and the populace, with a true British spirit, ceased to fie. If the loker-on did not iknow they bore the human shape leaving Newgate, he sould have been at a loss to imagine what they were. Suffice it to say, those monsters were punished, we will not say sufficiently, but to such a degree, as, we trust will deter others from similar crimes. They both appeared much exhausted, but Fox was weak to an extreme, and was obliged to be carried off the platform. Cooke, although he lost a fast deal of blood, appeared to have greater strength, and descended alone.
At ten minutes after three, Mr. Sheriff Wood, attended b ythe Marshal and Peace Officers, returned with the caravan. They were cheered and greeted by the populace as they passed along. Although Englishmen love the laws of their country, it was the first time we ever saw those, who, by their official situations were obliged to see its punishment executed, greeted and extolled by the spectators. it does credit to the lower orders of the community, and it shows their detestation and abhorrence of the crime those wretches were so justly punished for. The malefactors were then put in the caravan, but by some means Fox was enabled to get down to the bottom of it; Cooke was therefore obliged to bear the whole of the pelting of the populace, which was violent. There were several peresons on the top of the front building leading to Northumberland-house in the Strand, who poured a volley of something more hard then mud or lime: he had not lost his feeling, for he cringed from it.
A little before four o'clock they were lodged in Newgate, and the populace dispersed. We did not hear but of one accident, which took place at the corner of Norris-street and the Haymarket. A girl, about ten years of age, received a severe crush, and was obliged to be carried off, having fainted; but we are happy to understand that she is not materially injured. We have not a doubt but there were upwards of 30,000 persons in the leading streets from Newgate to the Haymarket. Business completely subsided for the time; and it was not until five o'clock the shops could be ventured to be re-opened.
We understand that Cooke offered, if that part of his sentence was remitted (standing in the pillory), to divulge the names of several who have been and are considered respectable members of society, who are prone to this worst of vices, and have been guilty of the horrid crime. The offer was rejected. (Saunders's News-Letter)
Wednesday, 7 November 1810
6 December 1810
John Newbold Hepburn, formerly an officer in a West India regiment, and thomas White, late a drummer in the guards, (whose trials had been put off at the last and preceding sessions), were capitally indicted for perpetrating with each other a detestable crime, at Vere-street, Clare-market,, upon tesmony of another drummer in the guards, named R. MANN, and both found guilty. Hepburn is aged 42; White only 18. (The Times, Issue 8159)
Thursday, 6 December 1810
Thomas White and John Newball Hepburn stood capitally indicted for having committed an unnatural offence on the 17th of May last.
It was formerly mentioned, that the two delinquents were apprehended, shortly after the discovery of the detestable society in Vere-street, upon the accusation of a drummer, named James Mann, belonging to the 3d Regiment of Guards.
It appeared, from the testimony of Mann, that the Prisoner Hepburn accosted him on the Parade in St. James's Park, a few days before the day on which the offence charged was committed: he told him that he was very anxious to speak to the boy who was then beating the big drum, meaning White, and said he would reward him if he would bring the lad to his lodgings, at No. 5, St. Martin's Church-yard. Mann said he would tell White what he had said, and they then parted, Hepburn presenting him with half-a-crown. In the evening Mann and White went to Hepburn's lodgings, who received them with great cordiality, and informed them that he belonged to a veteran regiment and was shortly going to the Isle of Wight. Mann then went on to state that Hepburn invited them to dine with him on the ensuing Sunday at his lodgings, but to this White objected, observing it was not a good place, and proposed at the same time that they should meet at the Swan, in Vere-street. To this Hepburn agreed, and an appointment was accordingly made, which was punctually observed by all parties. On their arrival at the Swan, on Sunday, they were shewn into a private room where they had dinner; before and after which, conduct the most vile and disgusting passed between the two prisoners, the particulars of which it is impossible to detail without a gross violation of decency. It was on the detection of the monsters in Vere-street that Mann communicated the facts already stated to his Drum Major [presumably Mann had been linked to those arrested at the White Swan, and had agreed to testify against White and Hepburn to save his own skin], in consequence of which information White was instantly confined, and an officer was sent to the Isle of Man for Ensign Hepburn, the particulars of whose apprehension have already been stated.
The charge was most clearly and indisputably proved, and the Prisoners were both found Guilty DEATH.
(Morning Chronicle. This newspaper cutting was pasted into William Beckford's scrapbook, now at the Beinecke Library)
Monday, 10 December 1810
On Wednesday Ensign John Newbolt Hepburn, of the 4th West India Regiment (whose apprehension at the Barracks at Newport was stated in a former paper) and T. White, a drum boy, were tried at the Old Bailey, for a detestable crime. The prisoner Hepburn accosted Mann, the boy, whose evidence supported the prosecution, while on parade in the Park, promising to introduce him to White. The witness and White afterwards received an invitation to dine with him, and they met at the house in Vere-street, where the detestable gang was discovered some time since, and dragged to punishment. In consequence of information communicated by Mann to the Serjeant-Major of his Regiment, the prisoners were apprehended. Hepburn called several persons to speak to his character, but they did not attend. One witness, however, (Colonel Grant) stated that the prisoner had served in the same Regiment with him in 1794, and during that time Colonel G. had not heard any complaint against him. The other prisoner, White, also called a witness, who gave him a good character for orderly behaviour in his Regiment. The Jury found both prisoners Guilty. the prisoner Hepburn is 42 years of age. (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Portsmouth, Issue 583)
The following description of the White Swan was written by the lawyer Robert Holloway, in his remarkable but trustworthy account The Phoenix of Sodom, or The Vere Street Coterie (London, 1813):
The fatal house in question was furnished in a style most appropriate for the purposes it was intended. Four beds were provided in one room - another was fitted up for the ladies' dressing-room, with a toilette, and every appendage of rouge, &c. &c. A third room was called the Chapel, where marriages took place, sometimes between a "female grenadier", six feet high and a "petit maitre" not more than half the altitude of his beloved wife! There marriages were solemnized with all the mockery of "bridesmaids" and "bridesmen"; the nuptials were frequently consummated by two, three or four couples, in the same room, and in the sight of each other. The uper part of the house was appropriated to youths who were constantly in waiting for casual customers; who practised all the allurements that are found in a brothel, by the more natural description of prostitutes. Men of rank, and respectable situations in life, might be seen wallowing either in or on beds with wretches of the lowest description.
Friday, 1 March 1811
Friday, 8 March 1811
EXECUTION. Yesterday morning, about five minutes efore 8 o'clock, Ensign Hepburn, and White, the drummer, a lad, only 16 years of age, for the perpetration of an unnatural crime, were brought on the scaffold, in front of the Debtors' door, Newgate, and executed pursuant to their sentence. Their conduct since condemnation has been such as to evince a sincere contrition, and a just sense of the heinousness of their offence. They behaved in a manner becoming their unhappy situation; and after spending a few minutes in fervent prayer and devotion, with the Rev. Dr. Ford the Ordinary of Newgate, were launched into eternity, amidst a vast concourse of spectators. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 13051)
Saturday, 9 March 1811
The Duke of Cumberland, Lord Sefton, Lord Yarmouth, and several other Noblemen, were in the Press Yard, when Hepburn and his associate were executed. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 13052)
Monday, 11 March 1811
EXECUTION. On Thursday, J. N. Hepburn, late an Ensign in a Veteran Battalion, and Thomas White, late a drum-boy in the Guards, were executed in the Old Bailey, pursuant to their sentence in December Sessions, for a crime of the most revolting nature. Hepburn was 42 years of age, and White 17. White came out first; he seemed perfectly indifferent at his awful fate, and continued adjusting the frill of his shirt while he was viewing the surrounding popoulace. About two minutes after Hepburn made his appearance, but was immediately surrounded by the Clergyman, Jack Ketch [i.e. the hangman], his man, and others in attendance. The Executioner at the same time put the cap over Hepburn's face, which of course prevented the people from having a view of him. White seemed to fix his eyes repeatedly on Hepburn. After a few minutes prayer, the miserable wretches were launched into eternity. Hepburn spoke to the Shieriff in a very firm and impressive manner, stating that the person who had sworn against him had perjured himself, and that every inta [? piece of evidence?] that he (Hepburn) had said, to prove the perjury, was perfectly correct. The Duke of Cumberland, Lord Sefton, Lord Yarmouth, and several other Noblemen, were in the Press Yard. (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Portsmouth, Issue 596)
Wednesday, 13 March 1811
EXCESSIVE GRIEF. The mother of White, the Drummer, who was executed on Thursday, with Hepburn, the Ensign, died of a broken heart on the day subsequent to her son's untimely end. She never left her bed after having taken farewell of the culprit on the evening previous to his execution. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 13055)
SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.
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