Offences: Deception > forgery; Theft > extortion
Verdicts: Guilty; Not Guilty
9. John Simmonds , of St. John Wapping , was indicted, for that he, after the 24th of June 1726, viz on the 7th of February, in the tenth Year of his Majesty's Reign , feloniously and falsely made and caused to be made, a certain forged and counterfeit Writing call'd a Promissory Note, in the Words following. Aug 28, 1736. I Promise to pay to John Simmonds or Order the Sum of Five Pounds four Months after Date, for Value received. Per Thomas Langley . By Reason of which false and counterfeit Writing, Robert Manning was deceiv'd and defrauded of the said Sum of 5 l. And farther, the said Simmonds on the 7th of February last, the said counterfeit Writing feloniously did publish and utter, knowing it to be false, forged and counterfeit .
Robert Manning I have known the Prisoner 3 or 4 Years. He work'd with me in the Cooper's Business for 3 or 4 Months together a little before Christmas. He was set up a Master Cooper, and bought several Goods of me, but leaving off Business, I bought them again of him, and he came to work with me; but not liking his Proceedings, I discharged him; at that Time he ow'd me Money, and he gave me this Note in Payment of the said Sum. The Debt was for Timber to make into Casks, which he had of me when he was a Master Cooper.
Counsel. What did the Goods come to that you sold him?
Manning. The Goods came to 3 l. 8 s He gave me this Note for the Money, and desired me to pay him 1 l 12 s. out of it. This is the Note, sign'd Thomas Langley, I believ'd it was a good Note, so I took it, and kept it 'till it was due; then I went to the Prisoner, and told him I did not like to go about getting the Money, he must go and get the Money for me, and I let him know that I expected the Money from him. He told me that Langley was in Buckinghamshire, and another Time he was in Northamptonshire, but last he said he worked with one Mathold in Crutched Friars. I had a threatning Letter sent me the 7th of February, which I suspected to come from the Prisoner, and, upon the Receipt of that Letter, I went to enquire after this Langley in Crutched Friars, and then I found it to be a counterfeit Note; upon this I took the Prisoner up, and before the Justice I asked him where Langley was; he said he was in Bedfordshire; but I had found one of the same Name in Crutched Friars. This is a Receipt of the Prisoner's own Hand-writing, and I have compared it with the Note, and believe the same Hand wrote them both. I saw him write this whole Receipt, and upon my Oath I believe the Hands to be the same.
Q. When you found out Mr. Langley, did he tell you he had had Dealings with the Prisoner?
Manning. Mr. Langley knew the Prisoner, and said he had no Dealings with him; he had apply'd to him to lend him Money, but he had always refused him.
Prisoner. I came to Mr. Manning one Morning, and told him, as I ow'd him 3 l. 8 s. I would payThomas Langley , who came from Northamptonshire to get Work in London, and I lent him Money till it came to 5 l. within 10 s. and then he gave me this Note, and said, if I would accept of it, he should be obliged to me; so I took it, and gave it to Mr. Manning.
Q. This Story is suited to your Purpose, but can you make all this out? Why did you send Mr. Manning to one in Crutched-Fryars?
Prisoner. After I had paid the Note to Mr. Manning, the young Man went down into the Country, and I went to Mr Langley's in Crutched-Fryars, and asked him to do me a Favour; I asked him if he knew Thomas Langley, his Namesake? He said, no. I told him I had a Note for five Pound upon his Name-sake, and I had paid it to Mr. Manning, and if he would be so good as to own the Note, if Manning should come to him about it, I should be obliged to him, and I would give him a Note of 10 l. - to take care of it.
C. Then you own it was not Mr. Langley's Note in Crutched Fryars.
Prisoner. It was not.
Mr. Langley. About eight Months ago the Prisoner came to me, he sent for me to an Alehouse, and asked me to do him a Favour, and talked something about a Note, but I don't remember the Particulars. I told him I would not do any such Things, - I would not be concerned in a Note; I would rather, I said, lend him the Money; and I told him, if they came to enquire after his Character, I would say he was an honest Fellow.
Q. Upon your Oath, what did he say to you?
Mr. Langley. He did say something about a Note of 5 l. and that it would be due about Christmas. I have known him upwards of a Year, and I took him then to be an honest Fellow.
Q. (To Mr. Manning) The Note was not due till the 28th of Dec. did you go and enquire about it before that Time?
Manning. I received the threatening Letter in the Month of February, and I never enquired about the Note, till I came to Justice Jones about the Letter.
Q. (To the Prisoner) Can you bring any one to prove there is such a Person as Langley in Bedfordshire or Northamptonshire?
Prisoner. Ask Mr. Langley if he did not say he would pay the Note when the Man came with it.
Mr. Langley. No, I never said I would pay it; I said I would tell the Man when he came with it, that I believed the Prisoner would pay it.
Q. (To the Prisoner) You told Mr. Manning that it was Mr. Langley's Note in Crutched-Fryars, and now you own it belongs to another Langley: I would ask you, whether you can produce any Mortal alive, to prove you have such an Acquaintance?
Prisoner. My Acquaintance was but slender with him; I let him have Money and Goods, and took this Note from him.
Q. A slender Acquaintance, and yet you let him have 5 l. Worth of Goods! Who wrote the Directions to Mr. Langley in Crutched Fryars?
Mr. Manning. I did, a great while after I had taken the Note.
Q. (To Langley) When the Prisoner came to you, did he tell you any thing about this other Langley?
Mr. Langley. No, I don't remember that he said any thing about it.
Several Persons appeared to the Prisoner's Character, who all took him to have been an honest Man till this Time.
The Jury found him guilty . Death .
He was a second Time indicted for that he, being a Person of an evil Disposition and greedy of Lucre, after the 1st of June, 1723, to wit, on the 8th of February last, knowingly, unlawfully, wickedly, and feloniously, did send a certain Letter or Writing, without Name or Date, demanding twenty Guineas; and containing divers Threats, as well of the Life of Robert Manning , as the burning the House and Shop of the said Manning, if the said Money should not be paid according to the Demand of the said Letter, to the great Damage of the said Manning, and to the evil Example of others in like manner offending, and against the Peace, &c .
Mr. Manning. I received this Letter about the 7th of February; it was sent by the Penny-Post, and the Postman gave it to my Boy; - here is the Penny-Post Mark.
Joseph Seal . I received this Letter from the Postman, and gave it to my Master.
Mr. Manning. I opened it and read it; and consulting my Friends about the Contents, we resolved to put up twenty Half-pence in the manner I was ordered, and to direct it accordingly.
[Clerk reads the Letter]
Mr. MANNING. 1736 l
'' THE Occasion of this Letter is of great '' Importance: Our Circumstances are '' such, that we would have you think it just '' to insert this in Preference of all Matters else. '' We are Men resolutely bent, on Pain of Death, '' to execute what we have undertaken. Money '' we want, and Money we must have; and we '' are obliged to raise 100 l. in five Days, or be '' plung'd into Goal eternal: Therefore we resolve '' that five such worthy Men as you shall '' assist us, and never more be troubled. We '' have cast Lots which Man to begin with first, '' and the Lot has fallen upon you, and will be '' performed as surely as ever you were born, if '' you don't do according to Order, to restore us '' from eminent Danger, which Downfal will '' prove worse than the Horrors of Hell. You '' are to set the Example, and to lend us twenty '' Guineas, and if you don't send the Money, '' your Houses, Shops, and Yards, will be made '' as level as Fire can make them, and your Life '' will be in danger; therefore make no Delay, '' for if you do, dreadful must be the Fall of you '' or us. Put the Money in a small Bag, conceal'd '' in a Wisp of Hay, made up in a small Parcel, '' and cover'd with Canvas, made fast and directed '' for Thomas Bull , till call'd for. Send it '' by your Youngest Apprentice to the Old Green-Dragon '' at Stepney, on Tuesday the 8th, about '' six o'Clock at Night. Send no Watch, nor '' divulge this to none on Earth, but burn it as '' soon as you have received it, if you don't, '' take what follows; if you don't send the Money, '' you may expect a Shout which will tear '' Hell's Concave; Destruction, Horror, and '' Death will seize your whole Family. You are '' able to bear this Trifle, so if you don't send '' the Money on Tuesday Night, look to your self. '' - You never shall be troubled more.
(The Letter was compared with the Receipt, which was produced on the former Trial)
Seal. I carry'd the Bundle on the Tuesday Night about 6 o'Clock to the Green-Dragon at Stepney. When I went into the House I saw the Prisoner sitting in a Box, I was surprized, and said, John how do you do? My Master had told me of the Thing, but I had no Suspicion of the Man. - John, how do you do, says I; I spoke twice to him, but he would not speak, and turn'd his Back to me: while I went to speak to the Woman in the Bar he went out of the House, and in about half a quarter of an Hour he came in again, - who calls me, says he, I told him I did, and I ask'd him what he had to do this Way; he said he had been at Work at Bow: I ask'd him where about he work'd there, then he told me, that he work'd in Whitecross-Street, and that he had left Work there at half an Hour after 4, then I ask'd him why he came this Way; and he said he was to wait for a Friend who had been with him, and was gone to Spring-Gardens at Stepney, and he sent me there to enquire for a Man, but no such Person had been there, nor did the People know any Thing of him.
Q. Did you leave the Bundle with the Woman at the Bar before he went out?
Q. When did he come in again?
Seal. In about a quarter of an Hour: He did not ask for any Thing to be left there. He sent me to Spring Gardens to enquire for his Friend, and when I came back, our Foreman was come in, and had got him in Custody.
Q. Did he see you leave the Parcel?
Seal. No, he turn'd his Back to me when I left the Bundle: I was only to deliver it, so he did not hear me say any Thing when I left it, and his Back was turned to me when I gave it out of my Hands.
Q. Did any Body call for the Parcel afterwards?
Prisoner. I would ask him whether he left any Thing at the Bar before me?
Seal. You turned your Back upon me.
- Negus. I went with the Boy and the Bundle, and he went into the House about a Minute before me. When I got to the Door, I met the Prisoner coming out, I stopp'd and said, - John, what do you do here? He pull'd his Hat over his Eyes, and would neither look at me nor speak to me, but he shook, and look'd as if he was struck with Surprize, and went from the Door. The Woman of the House said, why do you come so soon? I believe that was the Man who was to
Jane Davis . I live at the Sign of the Ship at Stepney, just facing the Green-Dragon. About a quarter of an Hour before the Prisoner was taken he came into our House, and drank a Pint of Beer; he asked what 'twas o'Clock, and I told him 'twas almost 6: I saw him presently afterwards at the Green-Dragon.
- Phipps. On the 8th of Feb. last, about a quarter after 6, the Prisoner came into our House (the Green Dragon) and call'd for a Pint of Two-penny; he had not been in long, before Mr. Manning's Boy came with the Bundle; he had not been in the House 2 Minutes before the Boy came. I never saw him to my Knowledge in the House before.
- Gregory. I went over the Fields with the Boy to Stepney, because we expected the Parcel would be taken from him before he got to the House; I made the Boy stay a little, that I might go in first. I sat down facing the Bar, and when the Boy came in, the Prisoner look'd pale, and seem'd to be in a Confusion. What! John! John Symmonds ! says the Boy. He was so confounded that he could not speak, but paid his Reckoning and went out of the House, but he returned in about half a quarter of an Hour, and Mr. Negus laid hold of him, and told him he wanted to speak with him: he asked him if it was for his Good, or for his Hurt? Mr. Negus told him, 'twas not much for his Good, and asked him how he came there? He said he had been at Work at Bow, that he usually call'd in there to drink as he came along; but the People of the House said, they never saw him before to their Knowledge. Mr.Negus told the Prisoner he would send to Bow; then he alter'd his Story, and said he had drank with some Friends at Why not beat Dragon, and was by Appointment to meet them at Spring-Gardens.
Q. (To Phipps) Did any Body ever come to enquire for this Parcel?
- Potts I was present at the Green-Dragon when Negus laid hold of the Prisoner. He at first said he had been at Work at Bow, and that he call'd in there for a Pint of Beer, as he usually did; but when Negus said he would send to Bow, he told him he need not give himself that Trouble, for he had been at Work in Whitecross-Street, and work'd there 'till 5 o'Clock that Night.
Prisoner. I work'd in Whitecross-Street, but I had been doing a Job for my Mother at Bow that Night; as I came from thence I met some Friends, and I asked them to drink, so we staid together 'till 'twas almost dark, and then I had a Thought came into my Head, that I would go Home to my Lodging just cross the Fields.
Q. Where does the Prisoner live?
Seal. In Denmark Street, the other Side of the Fields.
Prisoner. The Man that keeps the Ship Alehouse, had once a Note of my Mother's for 4 l. odd Money, which I had endorsed; he arrested me for the Money, but I put in Bail, for I was under Age when I endorsed the Note, so we made that Matter up for 25 s. I went to this House to see the Man, his Name is Townshend, but as I was in Debt, I was afraid the Woman of the House (who knew me) would give Intelligence of me, so I went over the Way to the Green-Dragon, and I had not been there a quarter of an Hour before Mr. Manning's Boy came in and spoke to me; I asked him how he did; but knowing that I ow'd Mr. Manning Money upon this Note, I was afraid he might have Bailiffs with him, so I paid my Reckoning, and went out of the House; as I was going out I met Negus, which made me more apprehensive of being arrested than I was before, but looking about me, and seeing no Body else after him, I returned and went into the House again, and Negus told me of the threatning Letter, and I said I knew nothing of the Matter. Acquitted .