Hull Packet – Tuesday 5 January 1830
UNION HALL. – Information of an anonymous description having reached this office, that the house of Robert Hedger, Esq., of Stockwell, one of the county magistrates and chairman at the sessions held at Horsemonger-lane sessions-house, would be attacked by housebreakders, intimation thereof was sent to Mr. Hedger’s residence, from Union-hall, stating the source whence the intelligence was derived. A letter, couched in similar terms, was received by Mr. Hedger’s family, that gentleman being absent at the assizes at Kingston when the letter was delivered. Preparations were accordingly made, in case the intelligence should prove true, and the watchmen were instructed were instructed to be more than usually attentive to Mr. Hedger’s premises. From what has transpired, there is good reason for believing that a hoax of an extraordinary nature was practicised, not with a view of imposing on the worthy magistrate, but to inconvenience a gentleman who thought he was in a fair way of obtaining the hand of a young lady of fortune, but which piece of good luck is now as distant from him as ever; in addition to which, he has the mortification of having been, with his friend, incarcerated in Horsemonger-lane prison two nights, for lurking around Mr. Hedger’s premises, on suspicion of being there for the purpose of committing felony.
On Monday evening, between six or seven o’clock, Mr. Hedger arrived at his home from Kingston, and was then told of the anonymous intimation which had reached Union-Hall and his own residence. The watchmen had by that time seen two persons, muffled up in cloaks, walking to and fro, opposite Mr. Hedger’s house, gazing every moment at the windows. Although their dress was respectable, the watchmen, naturally enough, believed that their object was felony, coupled with the information received. Mr. Hedger himself watched a short time, and the same two figures again presented themselves. One of them went up to the garden wall, the other a short distance from him. The watching party now sprung from their ambush, and secured the two individuals. One of them had in his possession, under his cloak, a scaling ladder, and in his pocket, a loaded pistol. This was the friend of the gentleman who alleges he was in pursuit of a lady with whom he had a correspondence. They were then interrogated as to their names and residence. The latter they declined giving–and as to the former, they said that their names were George Frederick Seymour and Thomas Junk. They were, after a short examination, sent to Horsemonger-lane gaol, and on Wednesday were brought before Mr. Swabey and T. Puckle, Esq. (one of the county magistrates), when a very lengthy examination of nearly two hours was gone into. On that occasion, Mr. Harmer appeared on their behalf, with a Mr. Robins, and other personal friends.
After Mr. Hedger had given evidence to the effect already described, Mr. Harmer said that the affair was neither more not less than a supposed amour. Mr. Seymour (for that was the name by which he was charged) had a long correspondence with a lady, as he believed, who had given him by letter proofs of the warmest assurances of her affections.
Several letters were then handed in for the magistrates’ inspection. One of the epistles, the last received by Mr. Seymour, entered at some length into particulars as to an elopement, and suggested that he and a friend should be at mr. Hedger’s house, where she was on a visit, at a certain hour on Monday evening, provided with a scaling ladder and carriage. The two defendants, as in gallantry bound, were at the appointed place in due time, provided with a carriage, scaling ladder, and plenty of money to carry on the delopment. We omitted stating that in the pocket of Mr. Seymour a purse, containing 30 sovereigns, was found when he was taken into custody, and some evidence relating to hiring a glass coach was then given.
Mr. Swabey having read the epistles, inquired whether any lady was on a visit at Mr. Hedger’s. The latter gentleman said not.
The watchmen who assisted in the capture gave their evidence in substance the same as that given above.
Mr. Seymour thought it possible that he might have mistaken the house, and wished to know whether there was another gentleman of the name of Hedger resident in Stockwell or Clapham, for his belief still was that he was not hoaxed in the transaction.
He was informed that no other Mr. Hedger lived in those places.
Mr. Swabey inquired for what object were the letters which had been handed in intended.
The defendant Seymour thought that they were perfectly explanatory that he could have no felonious intention to enter Mr. Hedger’s premises.
To a question put by the bench, it would seem that he had never but one interview itht he lady with whom he had the correspondence, which had terminated so mal apropos.
Mr. Harmer again and again expressed his opinion that his clients had been completely hoaxed in the affair.
In this opinion, however, the mainly-interested party–viz. Mr. Seymour, seemed very loth to coincide.
They were then asked to give an account of their occupations in life; but this they declined, further than saying they were highly respectable.
Mr. Robins said that he had known them a length of time, and would vouch for their respectability.
The defendants were then asked what their names were?
Mr. Robins, however, admitted that the names they were given fictitious.
Mr. Harmer said the only objection to giving the names was, less they should be blazoned forth in the newspapers.
He then handed in a card with the names of the defendants, as was understood.
After some further remarks, in which several efforts were made to have bail put in, the magistrates remained inflexible and the defendants were removed in the cotody of the gaoler.