Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

The Trial and Dying Speech of William Casey


Martin Mac Owen, and William Casey, for a Robbery. Sept. 1721.

MARTIN MAC OWEN, and WILLIAM CASEY, of St. James's Westminster, were indicted for assaulting Joseph Stone on the Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from a Hat, value six Shillings, a Wig, value thre Shillings, a musliln Neckcloth, value one Shilling, and fourteen Shillings in Money, on the 10th of July last.

Joseph Stone. About eleven o'Clock on Monday Night the 10th of July, as I was going over the Park, in the Walk betwixt the Mall and the Road, at that end that is nearest Whitehall; I was knock'd down and robb'd of my Hat, Wig and Money, by four Men of whom, Casey the Prisoner was one. I knew him both by his Face and Voice, for I had seen him Drinking in Thieving-Lane several times. He almost choak'd me with my Neckcloth, and told me if I cry'd out, they'd Swear Buggery against me. But however I cry'd out Murder soon after they had left me, upon which Casey came back, and stamp'd upon me, saying, Damn ye, are not ye Dead yet? I was much bruised and wounded. One of my Ribs was broke, and I lost a great deal of Blood. As soon as I was a little recover'd, I got to the Centry in the Cock-pit, and went into the Guard Room. I had not been there long before another Man cry'd out Murder, upon which Mac Owen the other Prisoner, was brought into the Guard Room. I presently knew him again, and charg'd him with being one of those who rob'd me.

Mr. Longueville. Between twelve and one in the Morning, as I was going thro' the Park, I saw three Soldiers at the lower end, and turning off to the left to avoid 'em, Mac Owen step'd up and took hold of me. I drew my Sword, call'd to the Centry, and cry'd out Murder, upon which he went off, but while I was looking for my Scabboard, he came up again, I presently put my self upon my Guard, and told him if he did not keep off, I would run him thro', but before any mischief was done, the Centry came and secur'd him, and I surrender'd my Sword. He had neither Sword nor Stock, but as we were going to the Guard, he laid hold of my Sword, and threaten'd to kill the Centry if he would not let him go, but I trip'd up his Heels, and we carried him to the Guard Room, where I found Mr. Stone very bloody. As soon as he saw Mac Owen, he charg'd him with being one of those that robb'd him, to which Mac Owen answer'd it was not I, but Casey, with another Soldier, and a Shoe-cleaner that robb'd ye, for I was only a stander-by — Before the Centry came up to us, Mac Owen told me that there was a Man murder'd a little away off.

—— Montgomery, the Centinel. I hear'd Murder cry'd out several times. I went to Mr. Longueville's assistance, and found him dodg'd by Mac Owen, who said that Mr. Longueville had Bugger'd a Man and kill'd him. I carried Mac Owen to the Guard Room, tho' as we were going along, he threaten'd and attempted to Murder me, but Mr. Longueville trip'd up his Heels. We found Mr. Stone in the Guard Room, he was bloody and charg'd Mac Owen with robbing him. Mac Owen confest his being in company when the robbery was committed, and he impeach'd Casey.

[William Casey denied commiting the robbery and produced several witnesses to testify that he was in another place at the time. Mac Owen contended the he was an innocent passer-by. The jury acquitted Mac Owen, but found Casey guilty and sentenced him to death. Casey was further indicted for assaulting and robbing another man, Gregory Turney, on 18 March last, and he was again found guilty.]

Sentence being pass'd upon Casey, he grew very serious, and constantly attended Prayers in Chapel. He said he was about twenty Years of Age, and had been four Years a Soldier, most part of which time he had served his Majesty in Spain. He complain'd of a Corporal who had been very busy in managing the Evidence against him. And this he did, says Casey, not from any kinowledge of my guilt, but merely on Account of an old grudge, tho' he himself was the aggressor: For some Years ago he ravish'd a young Sister of mine, which he afterwards partly acknowledg'd in a Letter to my Father, and my Father threatning to Prosecute him for the abuse, he Swore he would be reveng'd of our Family, to the third and fourth Generation. I happen'd to be in Spain when this was done, or I should have call'd upon him for Satisfaction.

When Casey was brought to the Place of Execution, he told the People that he had been suspected of Robbing and Murdering a Woman in the Park. He said nothing of his innocence as to the Robbery, but declar'd that he was not the Person who Murder'd her, for that he had never Murder'd any Person whatever. Before he was turn'd off [i.e. before the cart was pulled away to let him hang], he deliver'd a Paper to the Ordinary of Newgate, who assures you that it contain'd the following Words.

I am now brought to this Place to Suffer a shameful and ignominious Death, and of all such unhappy Persons, 'tis expected by the World they should either say something at their Death, or leave some account behind them, and having that which more nearly concerns me, (viz. the care of my Immortal Soul) I chose rather to leave these Lines behind me, than to waste my few precious Minutes in talking to the Multitude. And first I declare I die a Member, tho' a very unworthy one, of the Church of England, as by Law established. The Principles of which my now unhappy Father took an early care to iIstruct me in. And next for the Robbery of Mr. Stone, for which I am brought to this fatal Place. I solemnly declare to God and the World, that I never had the value of one Half-penny from him, and that the occasion of his being so ill us'd was, that he offer'd to me that detestable and crying Sin of Sodomy.

I take this opportunity with almost my last breath, to give my hearty Thanks to the Honourable Colonel Pitts, and Colonel Pagill, for their endeavours to save my Life: And indeed I had some small hopes that his Majesty (in consideration of the Services of my whole Family, having all been faithful Soldiers, and Servants to the Crown of England) would have extended one branch of his Mercy to me, and have sent me to have serv'd him in another Country; but welcome be the Grace of God, I am resign'd to his Will, and dye in Charity with all Men, forgiving, hoping to be forgiven myself, thro' the Merits of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ. I hope and make it my earnest request, no body will be so ill Christians as to reflect on my aged Parents, Wife, Brothers or Sisters, for my untimely End. And I pray God, into whose Hands I commend my Spirit, that the great Number of Sodomites in and about this City and Suburbs, may not bring down the same Judgment from Heaven, as fell on Sodom and Gomorrah.

William Casey.

He was Executed at Tyburn on Monday Sept. 11. 1721.

There is hardly a Day of Execution passes without an Instance of some condemn'd Criminal, who by solemn Protestations in the last Moments of his Life endeavours to persuade the World, that he dies innocent. At such a Time (and merely because it is such a Time) he expects to gain Credit in whatever he thinks fit to say, tho' by his former Course of Life he had made it evident that he had not the least regard to his Words, his Oaths, or his Actions.

'Tis true, it has now and then happen'd, that, by means of some unlucky and unaccountable Circumstances, a Man has been condemn'd undeservedly; but such Cases are far from being common, and are so unlikely to happen, that we daily see on the contrary, for want of a positive, strong, clear, and full Evidence, even the guilty are acquitted, and for a while escape the Hands of Justice.

But when such Evidence is given by Persons of good Credit, it is certainly sufficient to over-ballance the bare Protestations of a harden'd and thorow-pac'd Villlain, when he comes to the Gallows. . . . it is likely that Casey himself did not write this Paper, but employ'd some Dying-Speech-Maker to draw it up for him.

On his Trial, he deny'd that he was present when Mr. Stone was assaulted, and brought five Witnesses to swear, that he was in another Place at that time; so that Mr. Stone could by no means make a sodomitical Attempt on him; and yet here he confesses, not only that he was present but did assault Mr. Stone. But then he says that he never had the value of a Halfpenny from him, and that he beat him, only because he offer'd to commit Sodomy with him. What Credit can be given to a Man who made no scruple of suborning so many false Evidences? This charging Men with Sodomy is grown a common Practice with such Villains, in order to keep the Person they design to rob, from crying out for help when they attack him, or from prosecuting them afterwards, for fear of being suspected of so detestable a Crime, or perhaps of having it sworn against them. We see in the same Trial Mac-owen (who this Time has had the good Luck to escape hanging) harping upon the same String. He tells Montgomery (the Centinel who seiz'd him for assaulting Mr. Longueville) that truly Mr. Longueville had bugger'd a Man, and murdered him. And tho' by no means he would have ye think, that he had any Design to rob that Gentleman, yet when he was brought to the Guard-Room, he confesses that he was in Company when Mr. Stone was robb'd, and at the same time impeaches Casey. And —— Hall too, who was Mac-Owen's Friend, went so far with him towards the Place where Mr. Stone cry'd out Murder, that he heard Casey's Voice at the same Time. How comes it to pass that neither Casey nor Mac-Owen, cry'd out Sodomy! 'till the Men they assaulted cry'd out Murder! and why did Casey make off, and not stay to prove his Charge, or indeed when he had two or three on his Side, and consequently Strength enough, why did he not bring Mr. Stone to the Guard-House, that he might have been punish'd legally? . . . Then he says not a Word of his robbing Gregory Turner, which was plainly proved upon him. If he had not made his Escape after that Fact, 'tis very likely that Turner too had been accused of Sodomy.

SOURCE: Select Trials, for Murders, Robberies, Rapes, Sodomy, Coining, Frauds, And other Offences, London: Printed for J. Wilford, behind the Chapter-House, in St. , 1734, vol. 1, pp. 61-6.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Trial and Last Words of William Casey," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 10 April 2000, updated 16 June 2008 <>.
NOTE: See also the trial of William Casey's younger brother John Casey.

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