British Executions

Henry Morgan

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 15 Sep 1784

Crime Location: unknown

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Execution not confirmed

777. HENRY MORGAN was indicted, for that he, (together with one Alexander Dixon ) not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, on the 8th day of July , in the twenty-fourth year of his present Majesty's reign, with force and arms, at the parish

of St. Martin in the Fields, in the county of Middlesex, in and upon one Charles Linton , in the peace of God and our Lord the King then and there being, feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, did make an assault, and with a certain knife made of iron and steel, of the value of one penny, which the said Henry then and there had and held in his right-hand, him the said Charles Linton , in and upon the right side of the belly of the said Charles, feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforesaid, did strike, thrust, and stab, giving him, the said Charles Linton , then and there, by such striking, thrusting, and stabbing with the knife aforesaid, in and upon the right side of the belly of the said Charles, one mortal wound of the depth of five inches, and of the breadth of half an inch, of which he instantly died: and so the Jurors upon their oaths say, that the said Charles Linton he the said Henry Morgan did kill and murder .

He was also charged upon the Coroner's inquisition with the like murder.

Mr. Garrow opened the indictment; and Mr. Silvester opened the case as follows:

May it please your Lordships, and you, Gentlemen of the Jury; this is an indictment, in which the prisoner at the bar is charged with the crime of murder; I shall shortly state to you how the matter happened, and what evidence will be produced to affect the prisoner at the bar. Gentlemen, on the 8th of July last, about two in the morning, a Mr. Linton was met in New-street by two men, who came up to him and demanded his money; and after he had given them two guineas and a half they left him; they came back and demanded his watch, and some scuffle ensued, and during this time the prisoner at the bar struck a knife into this poor man's side; the man called out to the watchman for assistance, who came up to him, and took him, as you will hear, to a surgeon; and, in short, notwithstanding every means was used, in less than half an hour the poor man died. Gentlemen, as soon as this murder was known at Bow-street, from the circumstances which were recited, and from the general story, the officers of justice had a man of the name of Dixon taken up, and committed to Tothill-fields Bridewell: when this man of the name of Dixon was there, the prisoner Henry Morgan was observed to come to him, and some suspicions arose in the mind of the keeper, that this man, Morgan, known to be an acquaintance of Dixon's, might likewise be a partaker of the guilt; upon which he desired a prisoner that was there, of the name of Davis, to attend to the conversation that should pass between them; Davis did so, and from that conversation he was soon too well convinced that this prisoner was a perperrator of that fact; and therefore, when he went to go out, the officer immediately stopped him, and said he was his prisoner, and charged him with the murder; he was then taken before a magistrate, and made an ample confession of the whole. Gentlemen, as I never wish in any case, but more especially in a case of blood, to misrepresent facts, or to bias your minds, I will forbear stating that confession, because it is reduced into writing, and it will be produced: if it is taken as I am instructed it was, freely, voluntarily, and under a compunction of mind, you will then be obliged to find the prisoner guilty.


Examined by Mr. Garrow.

I believe you are a watchman? - Yes.

Of what place? - Of New street, Covent-garden.

Do you remember any thing particular happening on Thursday the 8th of July? - Yes, I fancy that was the day of the month; Gentlemen, about a quarter before two, to the best of my knowledge, I heard a rattle sprung, I ran to the found of it in order to assist, and as I was running, I heard a person say, stop thief! stop! I saw at the end of Bedfordbury a man cross New-street, I ran and caught hold of the deceased, it was dark, we had no lanthorns allowed us

at that time, there had been a shower of rain just before, I caught hold of the man I saw coming across, I saw no other man, and that man turned out to be the deceased; when I caught hold of him, I said, come, I have you; he said, no, watchman, I am robbed, I am stabbed, I am a dead man, do support me! and he put his left arm round my neck across my shoulders, he then pulled up his white waistcoat, to let me see he was stabbed, with his right hand, and there appeared very flush of blood; then another watchman came with three or four persons altogether, and with the assistance of these persons I got him to the corner of Bedfordbury, there I was obliged to let him sit down, he was so far spent with the loss of blood.

Court. Did he sit down on a bench or any thing? - No, upon the ground; then with further assistance we carried him to Mr. Jarvis's, a surgeon, in May's-buildings; I continued there with him, he died with his head on my breast, and my arm round his shoulder.

How long was that? - I believe it was half an hour; Mr. Jarvis was called up, he dressed him, but it was without effect.

On which side was his wound? - On the right side; he spoke at Mr. Jarvis's, and said, O my God! O my wife and children, my wife and children! then he went off: when I first laid hold on him he had a bit of his watch chain wrapped round the fore singer of his right hand.

Were there any seals to it? - I saw none.

Did he give you any account of that? - No, I did not think to ask him, I was so confused, and he was so spent; his wound was on his right side, I had my thumb on it.

Court to Prisoner. This witness, Mr. Taylor, has not said any thing to affect you at present, do you chuse to ask him any questions? - No, please you my Lord.


Examined by Mr. Sylvester.

I live in May's-buildings, I am a surgeon; a man of the name of Linton was brought to my house about three-quarters after one, I was awake before, and all of a sudden I heard the cry of murder! I was rather alarmed at first, and I jumped out of bed, and I opened the window, I still heard the cry, and hallooed out to know where the voice was; I dressed myself, and I went down stairs to see where it was, and I heard some people bringing a person along, it was the watchman brought the deceased into my house, I do not know who it was.

In what situation was Mr. Linton? - He was bleeding very much on the right side, I took him into my surgery, I asked him what was the matter, he said do not ask me what is the matter, pray dress my wound; and he then kept working up his shirt in order to shew me the place where the wound was, for the orifice was so exceedingly small, it was hardly perceptible; I asked him to sit down, he said no, do not let me sit down, let me lay on my back, pray let me lay on my back; I said, Sir, pray can you inform me who has hurt you, who has done this business; he replied, do not talk to me, I am dying, do not talk to me, give me something to comfort me.

What was the consequence of this wound? - The consequence was, it was the cause of his death.

How soon did he die afterwards? - In about twenty minutes.

Did you probe the orifice and see the direction how the wound went? - I opened the body afterwards by the direction of the Coroner.

Which direction did the knife appear to have gone, upwards or downwards? - The knife went in and turned rather upwards, and went right through the liver.

Court. How deep might the penetration be do you think? - I tried it with a large clasp knife, and I dare say it might go six inches or more.

Court to Prisoner. Would you ask any questions of Mr. Jarvis? - No, please your Lordship, none at all.

MARTHA DAGGE called, but did not answer.


MARY HILL sworn.

Examined by Mr. Garrow.

Where did you live in July? - In Vine-street, by Chandos-street.

Do you know Alexander Dixon ? - Yes.

He lodged in the same house with you? - Yes.

Do you know Morgan, the prisoner? - Yes.

Court. What was you, servant? - I lodged in Dixon's mother's house.

Mr. Garrow. Do you remember the day that Dixon was taken up on the charge of murder? - I do not know the day.

Did you see Morgan come to the house that day? - Yes, he came and knocked at Dixon's door, to know if he was within.

Court. Do you mean the prisoner? - Yes.

Did you open the door him? - No, I live in the back parlour, I answered him, he asked if Alexander Dixon was at home, I said no, if he had any message to deliver I would tell him, with that he turned out of doors and away he went.

What time of the day was this? - It was between nine and ten.

How soon after that was Dixon taken up? - About two hours, at his mother's house; one James Smith was taken up at the same house with him, I believe, but I did not see him.

Was he at home when Morgan came? - Upon my word, Sir, I cannot pretend to say.

Court. I think you say you cannot remember the day of the month that this happened? - No, Sir, I cannot.

Can you tell the day of the week? - No, Sir, I cannot.

Did you hear of a gentleman that had been stabbed? - No, Sir, not till after they were taken, I did not know any thing at all about it.


What was the day you apprehended Dixon? - The 8th of July.

What time of the day? - About two.

Where did you apprehend him? - In Vine-street, at his father's house.

Did any thing particular pass? - When I first went, I opened a parlour door between the first floor and passage, and found Dixon in bed, and Smith in a two armed chair, at the foot of the bed.

Court. Was this Dixon committed to prison? - Yes, to Tothill-fields the same day, I do not know what time of the day.

What is become of him? - He has since made his escape from Clerkenwell Bridewell.

How came he to be removed there? - After he was fully committed, he was sent to Clerkenwell, and Morgan to Tothill-fields; here is a coat I took off from Dixon, upon which is some blood.

Then he was laying in his clothes, upon the bed? - Yes.


I live at the Queen's Head, Vine-street.

Do you know the prisoner, look round and see if you see him? - Yes, I have seen him, this may be the fourth time.

Do you remember seeing him at your house any time on Wednesday, the 7th of July? - I do not know the day of the month, but it was on a Wednesday.

Did you hear of a Gentleman being killed in your neighbourhood? - Yes.

How long was it after that? - One day.

Court. Did you hear the name of the person that was killed? - Yes, Linton, I believe.

It was the Wednesday? - I believe it was.

Who was in company with the prisoner at your house? - Different people.

Name some of them? - One man's name was Smith, as I have heard him called.

Do you know Alexander Dixon ? - I I have seen him.

Was he there? - I believe he was.

Have you any doubt about it? - No.

What time were they there? - They were some hours there, but I cannot say the time they came in or out.


Court. Was it the forenoon, or afternoon? - I believe it was both, it was not evening.

How many hours do you think they might be there? - Three or four.

Did they go away together? - I believe they did, I was not to my knowledge at the place t he time they did go away.


I live at Tothill-fields, I am wife of Mr. Wright, one of the under keepers, and knowing the prisoner Morgan's sister, I sent for her, he cried very much when his sister first came, when she came I went up with her to the prisoner, and I heard Mr. Morgan say, he was the man; it was the second or third day after Dixon was brought when his sister came, and he was in a room up stairs, and I went up into the room with his sister, and Mr. Wright, and Mr. Davis.

Court. Where does his sister live? - In Charles-street, Westminster; he set down and cried very much, with that Mr. Davis and Mr. Wright left the room, then Mr. Morgan said to his sister, he was the man who did the murder.

Did anything else pass? - No, nothing else.

Had he mentioned any thing before, who was murdered? - Yes, Mr. Linton.

What murder was they talking about? - His sister heard he was detained for the murder of Mr. Linton, and he said he was the man that gave the wound.

Court. What time of the day was this? - In the forenoon.

Was he quite sober? - Yes.


I am under keeper of Tothill-fields Bridewell, and have been so these twenty years, I remember Dixon being committed to our custody the 8th of July.

What was the charge on which he was committed? - On suspicion of the murder of Mr. Linton.

Do you remember seeing the prisoner at your prison? - Yes, on Saturday the 10th of July.

For what purpose did he come there? - He came to see Dixon.

What did he say? - I let him in, he went to Dixon, he did not ask for any one, the mother of Dixon followed, and asked me if I had let in Morgan, and she said Mr. Wright, Morgan is come to let my son know who did the murder, then I said to Mr. Davis, says I, Davis, you go in and listen if you can hear any thing, for if I go, they will not speak any thing.

What was Davis? - He was a prisoner there at that time.

For what? - He was to give evidence against Nowland, for a forgery on the Bank, Davis went and came to me, and in consequence of what he said to me, I detained Morgan when he came to go away; he said you will let me out Mr. Wright, no says I, I shall keep you, you have either done the murder or know of it.

Did he say any thing particular in your hearing? - Nothing.

You afterwards attended at the office in Bow-street? - Yes, on the next day, and the prisoner desired us to send for his sister, and she being a very decent body, I said to Mrs. Wright, you had better go up with his sister, he cried, and his sister cried most shockingly, and I said to Davis, you and I will go down: I went on Monday to the public office in Bow-street, there he was examined, and his examination taken in writing by Mr. Bond, before Mr. Justice Gilbert and Mr. Justice Addington; I heard the examination read over, I saw him put his name to it, and saw the Magistrate sign it.

Did he make that confession voluntarily, or was he threatened or coaxed into it? - Not the least in the world, he signed it on the Monday, I went up with him on the Wednesday again, it was read over to him again, and on Saturday again, and he always said that is the truth.

Prisoner. Was it on Monday or Sunday I signed that confession? - On Sunday, my master, the Governor, Mr. Smith, took the confession from him in the afternoon, there I saw him sign it, and I signed

it; but this I speak of was taken on Monday.

Court. That was at the prison? - Yes.

Not before the Justice? - No.


Examined by Mr. Silvester.

You was present when this confession was signed? - That is the confession I myself took in writing.

Court. What are you, Mr. Bond? - Clerk to the Magistrates in Bow-street, I have the minutes which Mr. Wright spoke of before, which Mr. Smith took of his confession, it was read over to him by Mr. Addington, he signed it before the Magistrate.

Was there any threat whatever made use of? - Not the least in the world.

Was there any promise of favour? - Not the least, a free, voluntary act; I read it to him on the Wednesday again by the Magistrate's direction.

Did you again on another time? - I do not remember reading of it on Saturday, it was read over deliberately before Justice Addington and Justice Gilbert, and he signed it in the presence of the Justice.

Court. What induced you to read it over again to him when he went? - By the direction of the Magistrate.

Did he make any sort of hesitation at that time to any thing contained in it? - Not the least, he avowed it to be the truth.

Prisoner. Did not Justice Addington say, that if I did not make some confession or other I should be sent to prison, and locked up, and loaded with irons, and nobody should see me; and if I would make any confession I should have every thing done that could be, and should be pardoned?

Court to Bond. You hear what is said?

Bond. In the first place I do not recollect one syllable of what he says to be true.

Prisoner. Justice Addington took me into a room by himself, and spoke to me, and there he told me, that if I did not make a confession I should go to prison, and have the liberty of seeing nobody, and if I did, I should be pardoned, and nobody should hurt me at all.

Court to Bond. When was it that you took his confession from those minutes you had from Mr. Smith? - On the Monday morning, I began the examination before the Magistrate came.

Court. Had you reduced that confession which he afterwards signed into writing before the Justices came? - I had not finished it.

How much had you done of it? - About three parts through.

Did the prisoner retreat with Mr. Addington before the confession was made? - O dear! he never stirred out of the room till the confession was made.

Court to Wright. What do you say? - He stood facing the Magistrate while he finished it, then Justices Addington and Gilbert ordered Mr. Bond to read it very distinctly.

Prisoner. This was on the Saturday, and Mr. Wright did not go with me on the Monday.

Mr. Bond. On the Monday I speak of The prisoner was up on the Saturday; what passed then I know nov, I cannot pretend to say.

Prisoner. It was on the Saturday this happened.

Court to Bond. Was any thing of this sort suggested by the prisoner on Monday? - Not a syllable.

Prisoner. On Sunday I was taken and put into a room by myself, and nobody but one of the keepers with me, and they brought me tea, and they brought me spirits.

Court to Prisoner. Have you sent to Mr. Addington to attend here? - No.

The confession was then read by Edward Reynolds , Esq; Clerk of the Arraigns, as follows:

"Middlesex, to wit.

THE examination and voluntary confession of Henry Morgan , taken before me, William Addington , Esquire, one of his Majesty's Justices of the

peace in and for the County of Middlesex, this 12th day of July, 1784.

"This examinant voluntary confesseth and faith, that between four and five o'clock on the morning of Wednesday last, the 7th instant, he went to the house of the mother of Alexander Dixon , now present, situate in Vine-street, in the parish of St. Martin in the Fields, where he, this examinant, knocked with his hand against the window shutters, and in a few minutes the said Alexander Dixon , and James Smith now present, came to him; that the said Dixon, Smith, and this examinant took a walk into the fields behind Queen-square, and returned about seven or eight o'clock the same morning to the Queen's-head, in Chandos-street, where they breakfasted together on rolls buttered and beer, and remained therein till near five o'clock in the afternoon, when they went to Tothill-fields to see a fight; that the said Dixon, Smith, and this examinant continued in Tothill-fields till near eight o'clock, and returned together to the Queen's head aforesaid about nine o'clock, where they had some beer, staid about half an hour, and then left the said house together, intending to rob. That the said Dixon, Smith, and this examinant, went towards Lincoln's-inn-fields, where they continued in the streets of that neighbourhood till past twelve o'clock, when the said James Smith said,

'we can get nothing, I will go home,' and accordingly left the said Dixon and this examinant near Lincoln's-inn-fields. That the said Alexander Dixon and this examinant then walked up Holborn, along the Queen-streets, and into Covent-garden, it being then between one and two o'clock on Thursday morning; when Dixon said,

'let us go towards St. Martin's-lane.' That the said Dixon and this examinant accordingly walked New-street, and in King-street, nearly opposite Bedford-street, they observed a man walking alone towards St. Martin's-lane, who appeared rather tall, lusty made, dressed in a dark coloured coat, with his hair tied behind, and a cocked hat, as this examinant believes. That this examinant went up to the said man, swore at him, and demanded his money, at which time the said Alexander Dixon stood at a few yards distance. That the said man said to this examinant,

'are you alone?' this examinant replied,

'no, others are close by.' That the said man then gave this examinant two guineas, one half guinea, and one shilling, and appeared to be disguised with liquor. That the said man then bid this examinant and the said Dixon good night, and walked on; when the said Dixon swore and said to this examinant,

'he has got a watch, let us go back;' that the said Dixon and this examinant accordingly followed the said man, overtook him near the end of Rose-street, where this examinant went up to him again, and bid him stop; that the said Dixon demanded his watch, at which time the said man had his watch in his hand, and the chain hanging over his fingers; that Dixon laid hold of the said man's hand, in which his watch was, and said, 'give me your watch, or I shall put an end to your life,' and swore many oaths: that the said man kept fast hold of his watch chain, when this examinant took a clasp knife out of his pocket, the blade of which was about six inches long, and which this examinant had opened when he first stopped the said man, with his right hand, and stabbed the said man in his side, and, as he believes, the left side; that the knife remained in the said man's side a short space of time: that this examinant drew out the knife, when the said man exclaimed,

'O my watch!' That Dixon ran towards Bedfordbury, and this examinant towards Covent-garden, leaving the said man standing. That this examinant threw away the knife opposite the end of James-street. That this examinant went to the Fish alehouse, in Strand-lane, where he had some salop, and remained till about four o'clock, then went into the fields behind Bedford-square, where he remained till about ten o'clock, and then went to Dixon's mother's house aforesaid, where he found the said Dixon upon a bed, with his clothes on. That this examinant

asked Dixon to get up, when Dixon replied, that

'he was sleepy' that nothing else passed between the said Dixon and this examinant at this time; two young women being within hearing, That this Examinant left the said Dixon on the bed and returned into the before mentioned fields again, and dined at a public house near them, and after returned into the fields again, where he continued till the evening. The about eight o'clock the same evening as this examinant was going towards Dixon's lodgings, he heard the people in the streets say that Dixon was committed, which prevented this examinant from going there. That a brown waistcoat, which this examinant wore at the time he stabbed the said man, he threw into a vault, at a public house near Primrose-hill, it having some of the man's blood on it. That Dixon was dressed in an olive coloured lappelled coat, with while buttons. That no other person whatsoever was concerned with the said Alexander Dixon and this examinant in robbing and stabbing the dija man as aforesaid. And this examinant further says, that he does not make this confession from any threats or persuasions whatsoever, but freely from conscious guilt, and that no innocent person may be charged with the same wicked fact.

" Henry Morgan ."

"Taken and signed before me, the 12th day of July, 1784.

"W. Addington."

Court to Henry Morgan . What have you to say in your defence?

Prisoner. On the Saturday I was taken up to Bow-street, and Mr. Addington said to me, if you do not tell us now you are the person that has done this robbery, you shall be locked up, and nobody admitted to see you; and if you do, you shall be pardoned, and nobody hurt you; upon that I would not say any thing at all that night; I was sent down, and they gave me some drink on the sunday morning, I was taken and put into a room, and one of the keepers and one person one Steward and they gave me some tea, and there was spirits in it, and he brought me spirits several times; I was in liquor and it is very well known when I was in Clerkenwell that I was desirous and so it is very well known in Newgate. On the Sunday I wanted to see my sister, and they would make me say I was the person; I am as innocent as a child that is just come into the world.

Court. Have you any witnesses to call? - No, I have no witnesses; I have nobody to come high me at all.

Court. Gentlemen of the Jury, the confession says, the man had his watch in his hand, with the chain hanging over his fingers, that corresponds with Taylor's evidence, who says, that when he went up to the man, he had part of his chain in his hand; and it is impossible to conceive, or suppose that a Magistrate could act in such a manner as the prisoner represents, and it is certainly incumbent on the prisoner to lay something of the sort before you; his confession therefore seems to me, to come before you perfectly proper; the confession on Sunday before Mrs. Wright, was after this supposed promise and threat on Saturday, and if in full consciousness of what he had done, you believe he made that confesssion to her, that would have been a clear and sufficient testimony to convict him of the murder; but, if what he has suggested at the bar was true, and that it was in consequence of that impression upon his mind, that he was induced to make the confession, that would alter the case, but of that you will judge: The connexion between the prisoner and Alexander Dixon is strongly supported, for you find the prisoner called at Dixon's house to enquire after him, and the day before according to the evidence of the woman, they had been together for three or four hours; it must therefore be submitted to you on this evidence, whether you are satisfied that the confession the prisoner has made, has been free and voluntary, and not extorted

from him, if you believe it is, there is no sort of doubt in the world, but you will find him guilty: but to be sure on the other hand, if you think he was entrapped, and ensnared into this confession, it is certainly against the spirit of the law, that it should be taken against him.

GUILTY , Death.

Guilty on the Coroner's Inquisition.

The trial being ended, Mr. Reynolds then addressed the prisoner.

Prisoner at the bar, you stand convicted of the wilful murder of Charles Linton, have you any thing to say, why the Court should not give you judgment to die according to law.

Prisoner. I only ask for mercy, I am very unfit to die at present; if you will grant me one week or so, that I may be prepared to die.

Mr. Recorder then passed Sentence as follows.

Henry Morgan , you have been justly convicted of the crime of murder, a crime from which nature shrinks with horror, and which has, in all ages, and in all countries, in the sight of both God and man, been ever detested as a most enormous crime; we have had the pain of seeing many unfortunate wretches repeatedly pay their justly forfeited lives to the laws of their country, for crimes of infinitely less magnitude; those wretches who like beasts of prey, go about on the purposes of rapine and destruction, to attack the properties, and upon the least resistance, the lives of their innocent fellow subjects, must be cut off from that country, to which they have proved so dangerous; you stand forth a melancholy example of the dreadful consequences of a prostigate and abandoned life, and of those certain steps, by which the commission of one crime but too frequently leads to that of others of a much deeper die; you have deprived an innocent fellow creature of his life, actuated by no other motive than thirst of plunder and blood, and for no other provocation than the just defence of his property you have deprived a wife of a husband the children of a father, and both of their protector; you have reduced an innocent family to miserly and distress, and deprive them, to that support, or forced them to seek it from the public, which they derived from the honest industry of the deceased; for crimes so enormous as these, you can expect no mercy from those intrusted with the execution of the law: happy will it be for you, if that remorse and contrition of mind which seemed to have lead you to make that confession, should operate so on your wicked heart, as to produce that sincere and deep repentance, which alone will contain me rcy in the sight of that God, before whom you are soon, very soon, to tender an account; after therefore exhorting you to make the best use of that little space of life which now remains to you, it is my duty to pronounce the awful sentence of the time law, which is, That you Henry Morgan , be on Monday next hanged by your neck until your are dead, and that your body be afterwards diffected and anatomized according to the statute , and the Lord have mercy upon your soul.

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice GOULD.

see Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.0, 25 June 2014), September 1784, trial of HENRY MORGAN (t17840915-1).