Offence: Royal Offences > tax offences
+ 84. Thomas Hill , of St. Martin's in the Fields , in the County of Middlesex, was indicted for feloniously counterfeiting and resembling upon a certain Paper and Thread inclosing a Pack of playing Cards, the Impression of a Seal, Stamp, and Mark, made and used, in Pursuance of a Statute to seal, stamp and mark each Pack of playing Cards with the said Stamp, to denote the Payment of the Duty of Six-pence charged on each Pack of playing Cards, intending thereby to defraud the King of the said Duty, and did defraud the King of the said Duty, against the Form of the Statute, and against the Peace of the King his Crown and Dignity. He was likewise charged for uttering, vending and selling one Pack of playing Cards, with a false and counterfeit Seal, Stamp, and Mark fixed on a certain Paper and Thread inclosing the said Pack of Cards, knowing the said Stamp to be false and counterfeit , intending thereby to defraud the King of the Duty of Six-pence, and did defraud the King of the said Duty, against the Form of the Statute, &c. He was also charged for uttering, vending, and selling one Pack of Cards, made fit for Use in Great-Britain, with a false and counterfeit Stamp on the Paper and Thread, inclosing those Cards, knowing it to be false and counterfeit, against the Form, &c. and this is laid to be on the 10th of Nov. in the 17th Year of his Majesty's Reign.
The Council for the Prosecution set forth, that this Indictment was founded upon an Act of Parliament made in the 10th Year of her late Majesty Queen Ann , in order to prevent the counterfeiting the Impression of that Stamp which was provided by that Act of Parliament, to secure the Duty which the Legislature had laid upon Cards, and also to prevent the selling of Cards with a false and counterfeit Stamp, knowing it to be false and counterfeit; that the Prisoner had these two Charges against him, both of which were by that Statute made Felony, without Benefit of Clergy; that the Act directs, that the Commissioners of the Stamp Office shall order and appoint proper Stamps and Marks which are to be put on the Paper and Thread which inclose the Cards; and that they shall from Time to T ime give Orders for the making such Stamps; and therefore in order to prove that the Stamp which the Prisoner is charged with counterfeiting was made by order of the Commissioners appointed for that Purpose, Mr. Nock was produced.
Mr. W. Nock, Chief Clerk to the Secretary of the Stamp-Office, proved, that the Dye which was counterfeited was made pursuant to an Order of the Commissioners of the 4th of June 1736, and the Plates for the Ornaments by an Order of the 5th of July 1739.
Mr. Pyne, the King's Engraver for the Stamp-Office, produced the Specimen, and proved the making of the Plates for the Labels to be pursuant to the Order of the Commissioners of the 5th of July 1739, from 105 to 117, from 118 to 131, from 183 to 195, from 196 and to 208.
Mr. Tuslian . The Prisoner has been my Servant about eight Years; about two years and a half ago, he said he wanted to speak to me; said I, what have you to say to me? he said, he had a Scheme in his Head, that would turn to my Profit and his own; he said, he could get a Label made in order to stamp the Cards with, and said, if you will let me have ten Guineas, to get Things in Order, I will get it done; and I did let him have ten Guineas; then he said, he wanted a rolling Press; said I, What do you want that for? he said, I cannot do without it. He got a Rolling-Press, and he brought the Man to me to pay him, and I paid him 40 s. on two Guineas; then I asked him, what he expected per Week; he said 18 s. I gave it him; in a little Time he said, he was only working for me, and would have more; he said, he would have 12 s. per Week, and 2 d. a piece for the Labels. I found myself under a Necessity of complying with it - The Press was put up in my back Garret in Charles Street by St. James's Square. I was so ill that I never was in the Garret then nor since. He began to furnish me with the Labels and Stamps about two Years and a half ago, and continued to furnish me with them till within these three Months, only there were some Intermissions when I was sick; for I used
Q. What do you call these Papers that inclose the Cards?
Tustian. A Wrapper for a single Pack is called a Jow , and a Wrapper for six Packs is a Sission - The Stamps are pasted on at our Houses by the Officers of the Stamp-Office.
Q. Is it not usual for Gentlemen's Servants to take the Stamps off the Cards with warm Water and sell them?
Tustian. I believe it is done; but I never asked the Price of one in my Life.
Philip Pinkney . I am a Clerk in the Secretary's Office; in the Month of September I had an Information, that Thomas Hill the Cardmaker had taken a House in a Passage in Long Lane in Southwark; I suspected, that he made Cards secretly, and got a Warrant to search; I found in his Garret a Rolling-Press, two flat Stones, one with some Pink-coloured Paint upon it, and a Stone they call a Muller; a Grate to set a Pan of Charcoal upon, to warm the Plate over; red Paint mixed and unmixed; Oil, Whiting, &c. such as they use in the Office for making the Labels. Upon finding these Things, I suspected that he had counterfeited the Stamp. [Mr. Hill's Day Book was produced.] I think this is what they call his Day-Book. I have examined the Book, and find, that he has sold and delivered to Persons upon Credit, 901 Doz. which is 10812 Packs of Cards, since September last; and the Prisoner has entered at the Stamp-Office in that Time 7678 Packs [So that he has sold 3134 Packs more than he has paid the Duty for, besides what he has sold for ready Money.] This is exclusive of Cards for Transportation, for he gave Bond for them. I verify think this to be his Hand-Writing.
Coun. Is not red Paint used in painting the Pips upon the Cards?
Pinkney. Yes, but they don't make use of Oil in that, but this was mixed with Oil - The Rolling-Press is necessary in the printing of Sissions, but not the Oil.
Mr. Pyne. A Rolling Press is not necessary in the Business of a Cardmaker; there is no Occasion for a Rolling-Press for the Jews, if they are done in Wood, as they commonly are; Sissions are commonly done upon Copper, but I never knew a Card-maker that made them himself, because they can buy them by the Thousand cheaper. [Mr. Pyne confirmed the finding the Implements and Materials, as mentioned by Mr. Pinkney.]
Q. Did you find any Plates or Dye in the Prisoner's Custody?
Pyne. No; neither Plates, Dyes, nor Stamp; but there was a Paper found with a Piece cut out of it just the Bigness of the Stamp which is used upon the Cards.
Joseph Jarvis . On the 31st of December last, I bought three half Dozen Packs of Cards of the Prisoner, and sold four Packs of them to Mr. Pyne; I believe these are the Cards, I never had any any where else; I wrote my Name upon them, and they were sealed up with my Seal.
Mr. Pyne . These four Packs of Cards I bought of Mr. Jarvis , and they were sealed up in his Presence; and for greater Security, Mr. Jarvis and I both wrote our Names upon each Pack of Cards - These are every one of them different Stamps from the Stamp of the Office.
Q. Give us an Account what Observations you have made with Regard to the Difference between the Stamp of the Office and that.
Mr. Pyne . The first Difference I have made an Observation of, is, that in the Harp, which is the Arms of Ireland : In one Quarter of the King's Arms in the Stamp of the Office there are but five Strings, in this there are seven or eight, but they are so blind that one runs into the other. The next Observation I made, is, that from the Buckle of the Garter to the end of the Strap is a considerable deal longer in this than in the Stamp of the Office; and there are four more Stubs or Holes in this for the Tongue of the Buckle to go in, than in the Stamp of the Office. The next Observation
Q. You say there are no more than five Strings to the Stamp of the Office. Look at that Specimen and see how many there are here.
Pyne . There are more than five Strings here, but this was made in 1714.
Q. Look at the Specimen of 1736, and see how many Strokes there are there.
Pyne . There are no more than five here, that is the Dye in Use; it never was, and cannot be repaired, the Steel is made so hard; when one Dye is wore out, there is a new Dye made.
Q. What Letters are on the present Stamp?
Pyne . Both A and B, they are both used at a Time for Dispatch of Business, only A and B are used for Cards, it is only the B that is counterfeited.
Q. Look upon the A and B that are now in use in the Office, and see if there is any Difference.
Pyne . It is hardly possible to see a Difference.
Prisoner. Does not the pasting on of the Label spread the Dye in the Middle?
Pyne . It cannot alter the Distance of the Letters.
Mr. Pinkney gave his Opinion, that the Stamp was a Counterfeit, and also the Label, and made several Observations relating to the Difference; but as he was not an Engraver, he said he could not make so many as Mr. Pyne.
Prisoner. Can you take upon you to say, that Mr. Rollis has not made an Alteration in the Dye?
Pinkney . The Dye was never altered, it has never been in Mr. Rollis's Custody since it came into the Office; we have had no Dye come into the Office since the Year 1736; the Dye is locked up every Night in the Office.
Daniel Mckay proved that he bought four Dozen of Cards of Mr. Hill, that he sold eight Packs of those Cards (which were all he had left) to Mr. Pyne; that he knew they were the very Cards he had of the Prisoner, because he sealed them up, and marked them, with his own Name. [The Bill of Parcels and Receipt produced] which being proved by Mr. Pinkney to be the Prisoner's Hand-writing, was read.
Mr. - bought of Thomas Hill, July 30, 1743.
Four Dozen of Cards - - 2 l. 2 s.
Received the same Time the full Contents of this Bill, and all Demands.
Mr. Pyne. These six Packs and these two Packs I bought of Mr. Mckay , they are all Counterfeits, for the Reasons I gave before, they are the same Dye, and the same Copper Plate, they are all Number 201.
Mr. Pinkney. I believe I was at the buying of these Cards, here is my Name upon them, I am sure all these eight Packs are counterfeited. [There were some larger Parcels in Court ready to be produced; but as the Fact was sufficiently proved, the Witnesses were not examined.]
The following Letter was proved by Mr. Pinkney to be the Prisoner's Hand-writing.
To Mr. Tustian, These.
Newgate, Nov. 17, 1743.
'' SIR, I understand you have made yourself an '' Evidence against me, which very much surprized '' me. I beg that you will let me know the '' Particulars of what you have said, for the '' Thoughts of your making yourself an Evidence '' against me, gives me more Concern than being '' in this most miserable Place. I understand you '' have a good Room to be in, but I have none, '' nor no Money for me and my Family, nor no '' Body to come near me of any Signification. I '' beg you will consider of some Method of sending '' me some Money, and a particular Account '' of what you have said, by the Bearer: The '' World I find runs away with a Notion of my '' impeaching you, but I declare before God and '' the World that I never said any Thing against '' your Character in my Life. Pray send what you '' send me inclosed, and an Account of what you '' have said to a most miserable Creature,
Prisoner. I beg leave to observe, that the sealing of the Cards will make such an Alteration in the Dye, that they are not like one another;
The Prisoner called several Witnesses to his Character, William Masters , John Harris - Calloway , Thomas Taylor , William Crompton , James Miffin , &c. some of whom have known him twelve or fourteen Years, and gave him the Character of an honest industrious Man, and that they do not think he would be guilty of the Crime that he is charged with: Not guilty of counterfeiting the Stamp, but guilty of uttering, vending, and selling Cards with a false and counterfeit Stamp, knowing it to be false and counterfeit. Guilty , Death .
The Jury begged the Favour of the Court to recommend him to his Majesty's Mercy.