Joseph Mapham, Royal Offences > coining offences, 13th January 1749.

Reference Number: t17490113-56
Offence: Royal Offences > coining offences
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

155. Joseph Mapham , late of London , was indicted for filing and diminishing a guinea , Dec. 22 .

Ann Welch . I keep the Bull and Butcher Inn in Smithfield: it is usual to receive money of Salesmen and pay it according to directions; some weeks I receive a thousand pounds and upwards: I have known the prisoner ever since the hard frost; he has been employed in taking and paying money in my house ever since that time; our chief days are Mondays and Fridays, he continued in this business until the 22d day of Sept. last.

Q. What sort of a table was that the prisoner us'd to sit at to receive money?

Welch. It was in the fore room looking into the Sheep-penns, Smithfield; there was a drawer under it, and he us'd to pull the drawer a little out, and there he would turn his back to the people in the house, and had a piece of wood to bar himself in. Thus he'd be filing the edges of gold coin: he us'd to bring pieces of tortoise-shell and cases for spy-glasses, for a blind I suppose, for I never saw him at work on them.

Q. Do you know one Mr. Davis?

Welch. Yes, upon a mistake of the prisoner, Davis paid money about three quarters of a year, till the time my house was search'd.

Q. Do you remember any thing about going into their room where they were together?

Welch. Yes, very well; they were there filing Portugal money and guineas, I then saw the prisoner filing a guinea; before he fil'd them he put them into a liquid. The prisoner us'd to come every Tuesday and Friday, and he and Davis us'd to be in this room together filing guineas and Portugal gold. When I went into the room, there lay a great deal of gold filings on a sheet of writing paper in a chair, and a heap of gold coin by them; Davis and I had many words about it, and he us'd me ill upon it.

Q. Why did you not discover this thing before?

Welch. I was under some obligations to Davis, which was the reason I did not do it; and when I told them I would not keep such a secret, Davis us'd me very ill. I have a little room facing my kitchen, and one night about eleven o'clock they had got a great fire of charcoal, they took a little thing out of the fire and put it into water; the prisoner said, do you know what this is? says I, it looks like a flint-stone; says he, would you grudge to give me seven or 8 pounds for it? Davis said you fool, this is the gold dust that is melted; the prisoner heard him say it, and did not contradict it; when the pot was cold it look'd rough, like a whetstone in three corners; he us'd to put something in it before he melted it like allum. [ A crucible is shew'd to her.]

Welch. It was such a thing, but I did not remember the name.

Q. Did you ever hear any complaint of money being too light that was paid by the Prisoner or Davis?

Welch. Yes, often, and the Prisoner has been obliged to take it again; the day before Bartholomew fair Davis bought a buroe, and set it in my room; in the bottom I put linen, but the upper drawer I never saw open, until it was broke open by Mr. Sandal, Sept the 22d. then I saw taken out a great deal of gold dust and tools; Davis always kept the key of this drawer, but I never saw Mapham in that room in my life. At first when he began with the guineas, he put them in liquid in this glass [ holding a Venice glass in her hand.] I once found it full of guineas in the corner of my room, Davis came up stairs, and I had got it in my hand; he fell a swearing, and said if I touch'd the liquid it would eat my finger's ends off; says he, Mr. Mapham put them guineas in that liquor to eat

off some of the gold; when it was brought down stairs, the prisoner took them out, and they look'd so terribly bad, they were troubled to get them off: Davis said, no body would take them; the prisoner bid him tell the people to whom he paid them, they were found in the fire that was in Cornhill, and as such the prisoner put them all off. I saw him put off some; he told Davis he had bought that liquid in the Strand, and it was the same the Jews made use of to eat off gold, and it had eat off a great deal that I saw lying in the glass: the very day I was taken up, the prisoner had melted a pewter pot which stood too near the fire as he was melting the gold. Once one of the salesmen saw him through the window filing a 3 l. 12 s. or 36 s. piece, and he privately call'd me, and I went and we both saw him file it; and when Davis and the prisoner had prepared the room up two pair of stairs, they us'd one to go up the back way, and the other the other way, and there they would be lock'd in together.

Cross examin'd.

Q. Did you never assist them in filing or melting?

Welch. No, never in my life.

Q. Do you know that Mapham is an inlayer in tortoise-shell ?

Welch. Yes, I know he is by trade.

Q. Did he never do such work at your house?

Welch. There was one Mr. Wilson has brought him such work, but I never knew him to do any thing that way at my house.

Q. Have you any promise of life or reward for giving this your evidence now in court?

Welch. No, sir, I have not.

Q. Have you ever seen or heard from Davis since he went off?

Welch. I have not seen him; I receiv'd a letter from him, and that I have shewn publickly. They have carry'd on this trade for a year and nine months.

Joseph Cleaver . I keep an inn in Smithfield, and have a person, whose name is Joshua Rhodes , receives money for me at Mrs. Welch's house, and he has received bad guineas and Portugal gold, I have them here, and they appear to me to be new-fil'd.

Joshua Rhodes . These are pieces that I took of Mr. Davis, which I took in Mrs. Welch's house, for Mr. Cleaver, in the condition they are now in: I received them at two different times; the first about the beginning of Sept. the last the 19th of the same month; they appear to be new filed. Here is four 36 s. pieces, one 27 s. piece and seven guineas.

l. s. d.

Two 36 s. pieces, wanted 0 7 0

One ditto, 0 2 2

One ditto, 0 3 1

One moidore, 0 2 7

One guinea, 0 1 6

One ditto, 0 2 3

One ditto, 0 1 11

One ditto, 0 1 10

One ditto, 0 1 7

One ditto, 0 1 6

One ditto, 0 2 5

At another time I receiv'd of him one 3 l. 12 s. piece, which wanted 5 s. and appeared to be newly filed.

Cross examin'd.

Q. Was Mapham by when this money was received by you?

Rhodes. No, sir, he was not.

Q. to Mr. Cleaver. You sent Mr. Rhodes to receive this money at Mrs. Welch's, when was it?

Cleaver. I believe it was in September. I receive and pay away a great deal of money for butchers and salesmen.

Q. How came you to have a demand upon Mrs. Welch?

Cleaver. There are butchers that use her house, and leave their money there; they deal with salesmen that use my house; we pay them, and then we go when market is over and collect it.

James Batson . I am a refiner; I have bought gold of the prisoner several times. Here is some of a lump I bought of him Sept. the 21st, he had eight guineas upon it; it is worse than standard, it is worth about 3 l. 15 s. 3 d. per ounce. I have bought of him above twenty times; it was always in this shape, which is the usual shape small quantities are melted in; it is 3 ounces, 7 peny-weight, three grains.

Cross examin'd.

Q. Do not many people bring melted gold in small quantities to sell to you?

Batson. Yes, sir.

Q. Don't others in the gold way bring their gold to you to be essay'd?

Batson. Yes, sir.

Q. Is it usual for persons to sell gold who work in tortoise-shell ?

Batson. No, I should think rather they should buy.

Q. Did Davis ever come of such errands ?

Batson. Davis came with him two or three times.

Edward Aldridge . I am a working silver-smith, I essay gold and buy it; the prisoner has brought me gold to sell ten years ago, and some little trifles to be melted down into a small ingot, and drawn out to work up in his inlaying.

John Sandal . I am porter in the mint, it was the other affair brought out this; after I had had suspicion of such practices, and had watched about for a discovery, I had directions from Mr. Pelham to spare no pains to come at the knowledge of such practitioners: and on Monday the tenth of September, or thereabouts, I had been at Chelsea, and coming home in order to meet the Solicitor of the Mint, at the Crown-tavern on Ludgate-hill, there Mr. Solicitor was present; he named something of a suspicion of filing money at the Bull and Butcher in Smithfield: On that we had a consultation, and as Monday was market day, and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I could not attend, we thought Thursday the most likely day to find them at work, being the day before market day. So on Thursday the twenty-second of September, I went to Mr. Cleaver's house, and ask'd for Mr. Rhodes, in order to go to Mrs. Welch's house, but was greatly perplexed to get a constable: I saw Davis standing at the door, but before the constable was prepared to go with us, Davis was gone to market to buy some dinner; I staid there and asked for him, but he did not come back. Mr. Mapham the prisoner stood in the kitchen, Mrs. Welch was up stairs, she came down, I was told that was the Mrs. of the house, she went backward, the prisoner followed her; it was repeated a second time; I went backward and found them talking together; says I to him, do not you speak to Mrs. Welch any more till I find Mr. Davis comes in; I waited a little longer and found Mrs. Welch was gone out of the house. When she returned she went up stairs and down and I after her; then Mapham took an opportunity to get away. As Davis did not return, I set to searching the house, we went into her bed chamber, there was a chest of drawers, I had them all open'd, but to the head of the Buroe there was no key; so I sent for a smith and had it broke open, and these things were found there, viz, seven files, most of them look'd to have their teeth full of gold, one wooden tool with divers slits in it, so as to receive into the slit either a guinea, three pound twelve, or thirty-six shilling pieces supposed to hold the coin, while the edge is milling, &c. Such another was found in their room above, and a proper place on the table to hold this wood fast while they work'd with a file on the edge of the Coin; there was one hundred pounds and upwards in money. I took down the particulars before Mrs. Welch. Among the Portugal money some was wanting.

s. d. Moidores some wanted.

2 10 - s. d.

2 2 - 1 10

2 6 - 1 0

2 6 - 1 10

3 4 - 1 6

2 8 - 2 4

2 10 - 1 8

2 4 - 1 10

3 4 - 2 2

There were 32 36 s. pieces, 16 27 pieces, 27 guineas, 1 18 s. piece, and one quarter of a 27 s. Among the 27 guineas there was but one that was wanting in the weight, and that wanted but six grains, value one shilling.

Among the 36 s. pieces there were several of them the full weight, these I suppose were got together to be worked upon; also in the buroe I found a tin box with filings of gold in it: I have made an essay on it, it proves to be one quarter of a grain less then the standard; it is as near the standard of guineas as possible. Mrs. Welch was taken before Sir John Barnard , who was then sitting at Guild Hall; she was ordered to be committed on suspicion, and two days after I went to this house to make farther search. I observed the money table in the fore room, and in the drawer at the farther end of it, there was dust of gold to be seen; this table is guarded by boards from the other end of the room, and made convenient for such a private use: I found the main work-shop up two pair of stairs, there was a stove and a square table with a piece of wood to fasten down the wooden tool as mentioned before. There I saw particles of gold but so small, that to take them up would be of little use; there was also an old rotten wooden cupboard with a fine lock to it as need be put to any buroe whatsoever. I found charcoal had been put in it, and I could easily perceive filings of gold by the light of the candle.

On the 19th of November, a person came to Mr. Cook's chamber, his name is Andrew Hutchins , and gave in an information where the prisoner was to be found, and that he went by the name of Johnson: I agreed to go with him, so I took Mr. Rhodes along with me, and we found

him in five Bell Alley little Moor-fields, there he went by the name of Johnson.

Cross examin'd,

Q. When you went to Mrs. Welch's, did not you ask her how these filings came there?

Sandal. No, I did not, nor do I know she told me or not, it was sufficient for me to see the things in the house.

Q. Did not the prisoner deny he was guilty of diminishing the coin?

Sandal. I never asked him, he might say he was not guilty for ought I know.

Andrew Hutchins . I know the prisoner: he was my neighbour a little time; I saw a description of him in the paper, and I was apprehensive he was the man, although he went by the name of Johnson: The morning of the day he was taken up, I found a bit of dirty paper not far from the door where he lived, which gave me great suspition: I used to hear a large blowing of a fire in the garret where he lodged. Upon this I gave information to Mr. Cook the Solicitor of the Mint, and was at the taking of him.

As the prisoner was obliged to sit all the time of his trial (being very ill). His defence was opened by his counsel.

He hopes that notwithstanding the evidence that has been given to your Lordship, and the Jury, that he shall prove his innocence, abstracted from the evidence of this woman, whose character does not appear altogether clear, &c. My lord, in answer to the first position that is laid down by the gentleman, he says, as to the files that he was an inlayer by trade, that is prov'd by their own evidence, and he worked at this business near Old-street; that he carried on the business of laying gold in Tortoise-shell boxes. And at other times he has been employed as a book-keeper in receiving money of country graziers, and that only on Mondays and Fridays, the market days, upon which the graziers and butchers used to resort to Smithfield; that as an argument he has not been guilty or accessory to this crime, he is in the meanest circumstances imaginable, that he is so far from having any advantage rising from the diminishing this coin, that he was in the utmost distress, and that he ow'd his landlord two years rent, although but eight pounds a year, which he hopes, will be one inducement to your Lordship, and the Jury to think he is not guilty. He says that in regard to his going away, it was not through consciousness of his guilt, but his being apprehensive of his landlord arresting him; and if we can give an account that this man was under these circumstances, we hope that will be some reason for his changing his name; as for those instruments found upon him, we can easily account for. Mrs. Welch, though evidence against him, says he was employed by one Mr. Wilson, who brought him work to do in the inlaying way; and if those things were found in Mrs. Welch's bed chamber, then Mr. Davis must be the person and not he: It is not pretended that ever he went into that room. I should be very unwilling to trouble your Lordship, the only instance they can bring, is Mr. Rhodes's receiving money, and that was of Mr. Davis, and not the prisoner at the bar. The circumstances of the man, and the character that shall be given him, put together, we hope your Lordship and the Jury will take into consideration.

Edward Compton . The prisoner at the bar has lived in a house of mine between two and three years; he is very poor, I used to call upon him to know when he would pay me, the rent is eight pounds a year; he has a wife and two small children. At last I was obliged to seize, and I found nothing but a parcel of lumber, they all came to but four pound, wanting one shilling.

Robert Taylor , I live about forty miles off, at Abotsasson; I have known the prisoner about twelve years, he has taken money for me about seven or eight years at Mrs. Welch's: he has taken 80 or 100 l. a day. About a fortnight before he was taken up, he took about 50 l. for me for nine beasts. I have carried Money I took of him to Temple bar, and it was always accepted, and if he was in business, I would employ him as before.

Richard Taylor , I live at Thame in Oxfordshire; I have known the prisoner ever since he was book-keeper at Mrs. Welch's, that is eight or nine years; he has had 50 or 60 l. of my money in his hand at a time. I do not think he would be guilty of diminishing the coin; I would trust him to-morrow if he was in his place again. Sometimes he has taken for me, 40, 50, or 100 l. per week.

Richard More . I live in Newgate-market, and am a salesman by trade; I never heard but the prisoner was an honest man, I have paid him many pounds.

Ralph Twyford . I have known the prisoner these fifteen years; he is a very honest man as far as I know; I never heard otherways.

Thomas Bailey . I live at Thame in Oxfordshire; I am a salesman, I sell hogs, sheep and lambs; I have known the prisoner these nine years; he as took my money between five and six years; I

come up about three months in the season; I have took six or seven score pounds per year of him, and have paid the money again at other places, and always found it right. I would trust him again was he at his liberty, as soon as I would any man in the world.

Jonathan Bowyer . I have known the prisoner near twenty years; he is a very honest man, as far as I ever heard; I never knew an ill thing of him in my Life.

William Sevil . I am a fruiterer. I have known the prisoner above 30 years, and have had dealings with him for twenty pounds a week; he never gave me bad money to my knowledge. If he was at liberty I would trust him again twenty or thirty pounds if he wanted it.

Guilty Death .


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