The Saucy Coachman

5 February 1737   There having been a great disturbance made on Saturday last at Covent-Garden Playhouse, the persons concerned in it were on Monday examin’d before Col. Deveil, and it appeared upon the oath of several persons, that one Francis Cooke, coachman to Mr. Rich, the Master of that Playhouse, who had pick’d up a woman, did, in a very impudent, sawcy manner, assault the Centinel who had the care of his Royal Highness’s chair in the Playhouse Passage, and would force into the said chair the woman he had so pick’d up, to make, as he was pleas’d to call ilt, a bawdy-house of the Prince’s chair, which the Centiniel refusing to suffer, he struck him several blows over the head with his whip, and in the same manner served three Centinels more.

This behaviour of his, occasion’d so great a disturbance and mob, that the Captain of the Guard had much ado to quell the disturbance, and prevent the mob from breaking into the Playhouse, where his Royal Highness the Prince and Princess of Wales were; and to prevent

it, the Captain having order’d double Centinels at the Iron Gate, and at the other end of the Playhouse-Passage, he gave positive directions to let nobody into the Passage ’till the disorder was quell’d; but one William Carr, a Constable, notwithstanding the Centinel’s acquainting him with those orders, would by force and violence, with his servant, Joshua Drake, enter the said Passage, and did assault and strike the Centinels, and encourage, aid and abet the mob that was assembled there, to stone and pelt the said Centinels on his post, which was accordingly done. The said Francis Cook and Will. Carr, are bound over in several recognizances to the next General Sessions of the Peace to be held for the County of Middlesex at Hicks’s-Hall, to answer those offences; and the said Joshua Drake (Carr’s servant) refusing to find sureties, was, by Col. Deveil, committed to Bridewell. Mr. Rich discharg’d his servant, Francis Cooke, at Col. Deveil’s, upon hearing the examinations taken there. (Read’s Weekly Journal, or British Gazetteer)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "The Saucy Coachman", 18 December 2003 <>

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