DR LEVI WEIL, ASHER WEIL, JACOB LAZARUS AND SOLOMON PORTER
A Gang of Robbers who committed Murder, and were executed at Tyburn, 9th of December, 1771
THIS daring violation of the law, which long roused the public indignation against the whole Jewish people, happened in the house of Mrs Hutchings, in King's Road, Chelsea, who was a farmer's widow, left by her husband in good circumstances, and with three children, two boys and a girl.
One Saturday evening, just as the Jewish Sabbath was ended, a numerous gang of Jews assembled in Chelsea Fields; and, having lurked about there until ten o'clock, at that hour went to the house of Mrs Hutchings and demanded admittance. The family had all retired to rest, with the exception of Mrs Hutchings and her two female servants, and, being alarmed by the unseasonable request of the applicants, they proceeded in a body to know their business. The door was no sooner opened, however, than a number of fellows -- all of whom had the appearance of Jews -- rushed in, seized the terrified females, and threatened them with instant death in the event of their offering any resistance. Mrs Hutchings, being a woman of considerable muscular strength, for a time opposed them; but her antagonists soon overpowered her, tied her petticoats over her head, and proceeded to secure the servants. The girls having been tied back to back, five of the fellows proceeded to ransack the house, while the remainder of the gang remained below to guard the prisoners. Having visited the rooms occupied by the children of Mrs Hutchings in turn, the ruffians proceeded to the apartment in which two men, employed as labourers on the farm, named John Slow and William Stone, were lying undisturbed by the outcry which had been raised below. It was soon determined that these men were likely to prove mischievous, and that they must be murdered; and Levi Weil, a Jewish physician, who was one of the party, and was the most sanguinary villain of his gang, aimed a blow at the breast of Stone, intended for his death, but which only stunned him. Slow started up, and the villains cried: "Shoot him! Shoot him!" A pistol was instantly fired at him, and he fell, exclaiming: "Lord have mercy on me! I am murdered!"
They dragged the wounded man out of the room to the head of the stairs; but in the meantime Stone, recovering his senses, jumped out of bed and escaped to the roof of the house, through the window. The thieves now descended and plundered the house of all the plate they could discover, but finding no money they went to Mrs Hutchings, and threatened to murder her if she did not disclose the place of its concealment. She gave them her watch, and was afterwards compelled to give up a purse containing sixty- five pounds, with which they immediately retired. Mrs Hutchings now directly set her female servants at liberty, and, having gone in search of the men, found Slow, who declared he was dying, and then dropped insensible on the floor. He languished until the following afternoon, when he died of the wounds which he had received.
It was a considerable time before the perpetrators of this most diabolical outrage were discovered; but they were at length given up to justice by one of their accomplices, named Isaacs, who was a German Jew, and who, reduced to the greatest necessity, was tempted by the prospect of reward to impeach his fellows. It then turned out that the gang consisted of eight persons, who were headed by the physician before mentioned. Dr Weil had been educated in a superior manner. He had studied physic in the University of Leyden, where he was admitted to the degree of doctor in that faculty. Coming to England, he practised in London, with no inconsiderable degree of success, and was always known by the name of Doctor Weil. But so destitute was he of all principle, and such was the depravity of his heart, that he determined to engage in the dangerous practice of robbery; and, having formed this fatal resolution, he wrote to Amsterdam, to some poor Jews, to come to England and assist him in his intended depredations on the public; and at the same time informed them that in England large sums were to be acquired by the practice of theft.
The inconsiderate men no sooner received Dr Weil's letter than they procured a passport from the English consul, and, embarking in the Harwich packet-boat, arrived in England.
They lost no time in repairing to London, and, immediately attending Dr Weil, he informed them that his plan was that they should go out in the daytime and minutely survey such houses near London as might probably afford a good booty, and then attack them at night.
At the sessions held at the Old Bailey, in the month of December, 1771, Levi Weil, Asher Weil, Marcus Hartagh, Jacob Lazarus, Solomon Porter and Lazarus Harry were indicted for the felony and murder above mentioned, when the two of the name of Weil, with Jacob Lazarus and Solomon Porter, were capitally convicted; while Marcus Hartagh and Lazarus Harry were acquitted, for want of evidence.
The men, as is customary in all cases of murder, when it can be made convenient to the Court, were tried on a Friday, and on the following day they were anathematised in the synagogue. As their execution was to take place on the Monday following, one of the rabbis went to them in the press-yard of Newgate and delivered to each of them a Hebrew book; but declined attending them to the place of death, nor even prayed with them at the time of his visit.
They were attended to Tyburn, the place of execution, by immense crowds of people, who were anxious to witness the exit of wretches whose crimes had been so much the object of public notice. Having prayed together, and sung a hymn in the Hebrew language, they were launched into eternity, on the 9th of December, 1771.