THIs case comprises, not only more infamous behaviour in a hackney coachman, than any instance we have already adduced, but even a riot and rescue, of the above named prisoner by the "Gemmen of the Whip;" against whose tricks, impositions, and ill treatment, the public cannot be too often cautioned.
Abraham Watson was indicted for assaulting Mr. Wayte, a hatter, residing in Panton-street, Hay-market. It appeared that the above named defendant is a hackney-coach driver, and on the day stated in the indictment was employed to convey the mother of the prosecutor from her home to his house. She is very infirm, and requested the defendant to drive his coach slowly through the streets; but instead of so doing, for his mere diversion, lashed the horses to such a degree as to make them go with such speed as to put her in the most excruciating agony. A servant, who was in the carriage with her, repeatedly called to him to drive more moderately, but that only served to increase his speed. At length the defendant stopped at the prosecutor's door, and the old lady, on getting out of the coach, complained of the misconduct of the defendant, who used the most abusive language upon the occasion, and on Mr. Wayte remonstrating with him, he struck him most violently, and cut him most desperately in the mouth, and was proceeding to further violence, when a number of persons, who hearing a noise, and seeing the ferocious behaviour of the defendant, at length interfered, and with considerable difficulty he was secured. It further appeared, that Mr. Wayte had given him no provocation whatever. Mr. Wayte being thus treated, determined to take him to the Sitting Magistrates, at Bow-street, and was proceeding, thither for that purpose; when he reached Leicester square, however, the defendant, by stratagem, contrived to make his situation known to the hackney-coachmen on the stand there, and they instantly assembled, coming down in a body on those who had the defendant in custody, and not only rescued him from them, but used them most unmercifully, beating them to such a degree that they were compelled to fly away in all directions. By great good fortune the defendant was shortly after discovered, and he was brought up to answer for the offence.
The foregoing case was proved, with several aggravating particulars, by several witnesses; and the defendant being called on to say what he had in his defence, he strictly denied the whole, and added, that he was the person assaulted, and not the prosecutor, and that he could bring all the hackney-coachmen that were on the stand in Leicester-square that evening, to prove it. The Chairman here observed, that the Court would consider that as the only retribution he could make for his offences if he did so, as the public would then have an opportunity of knowing who were his abettors, and bringing them to justice for their misconduct.
He was found guilty, and sentenced, after a severe admonition by Mr. Mainwaring, to six months' confinement in Tothill-fields Bridewell.