93. (L.) Timothy Murphy . was indicted for forging and making a certain will and testament, purporting to be the last will and testment of John Willkinson , and publishing the same with intent to defraud .*
Dated May 5, 1747.
Thomas Nodes was next called, but objected to by the prisoner's council as not being a legal evidence, as the prisoner, with the assistance of one Mr. Goddard, had been before the grand jury last sessions, and there found a bill of indictment against him for the said forgery. Note, Nodes's bill was found against the prisoner in October sessions; but this was overruled in court, and Mr. Nodes sworn.
Thomas Nodes . The prisoner at the bar was one of the sailors on board one of the royal family privateers. He came to me the beginning of February 50-51, I lived then in the new buildings in Goleman-street, and acted as book-keeper to Mr. Belcher and other managers of the royal family privateers. He has been frequently at our office. I was present when he received his own part, he brought a person with him once in the name of John Daunt . I never saw him before; he brought a will and power, which he told me was the will and power of John Wilkinson , whom, by our book, I knew to be on board. He told me that the man he had brought with him was named John Daunt , who kept a publick house at Lisbon, that he had frequently drank at his house there with Wilkinson, that he knew him to be a very honest man, and desired I would write to Mr. Casamaijor at Bristol (who was the agent appointed to pay the people for their services on board and prize-money) he came for the money due to John Wilkinson for his service on board one of the vessels. They both of them tell me that Wilkinson did lodge at the house of John Daunt at the time the ships were sitting out for a second cruize. Murphy told me Wilkinson died on the coast of Guiney; I ssured them I could not, as he was dead, pay the money upon the power of attorney; then Murphy proposed to go to the Commons to prove the will, and mentioned a proctor's name; I then told him he might as we to Mr. Crepany. I believe this was on the 9th of February, they returned back on the same day with the will proved, and desired me to make out a power of attorney for me to receive the money for Daunt of Mr. Casamaijor; I made one out, and Murphy was witness to it ( He produced it.). They went away from me and returned in two days after, and brought it re-executed before the then lord mayor ; I then wrote to Mr. Casamaijor, who remitted me the money; and on the 19th of February I paid it him that went by the name of Daunt; his right name is Thomas Williams , it was 37 l. 12 s. I took a receipt, John Williams signed the name John Daunt to it, and Murphy was present at the time. There were deducted back about 40 shillings for paying the whole; they had not money to pay Mr. Crepany's Clerk, so he sent it to me to take the money of me; I believe they gave me about a guinea for my trouble and expences in writing of letters, and paying postage. Murphy at that time desired Daunt would give him something for his trouble in shewing him the way to Doctors Commons, so Daunt gave him half a guinea, Murphy grumbled and said it was too little ; then they went away. I seen Wilkinson since, he is living. After I found it was a forgery, I made enquiry after was person called Daunt, and Murphy, and at last got of Murphy, so I got a warrant and constable, and took him at Newington in Surrey After which he made his escape from the constable but we soon retook him When I told him what he was for he said he threw himself as any feer and hop'd I would not take away his line; he had but little to say for himself. He was committed upon this, and the
Q. When did the grand-jury find this bill we are enquiring into now?
Nodes. It was found in October sessions; I had preferred one in September sessions, but that was thrown out. I was informed the man who went by the name of Daunt was in goal in Ireland, so I went there to him, his right name is Williams. He owned he was the man that came with the prisoner and took the money, and I remembered him immediately.
Thomas Williams . I was acquainted with the prisoner about a month or five weeks before the beginning of February 50-51, I met him at a bawdy house near Charing-Cross, in January that year, and he told me he had something to relate to me, so swore me to secrecy; then he told me, there is one Wilkinson that belongs to the Princess Amelia, a private ship of war, that is dead on the coast of Guiney, and the money can be taken by any body. He wrote a will, purporting to be the last will of this Wilkinson, to me in the name of John Daunt , and put two witnesses names to it, Thomas Macarty and Dennis Collings , and he made a power of attorney to me likewise in that name. Then we went together to Mr. Nodes, but could not get the money upon the power after he had shewn the will, so we carried that to the Commons, and I proved that; then we went to Mr. Nodes with it again, and I made a power of attorney to him in the name of John Daunt , so he wrote to the agent at Bristol and got the money, and we went to his house again, and he paid me the money, upon which I wrote him a receipt; then the prisoner made me give him half the money, and he charged me two guineas for writing the will, besides the half guinea that he had of me at Mr. Nodes's house, which we agreed upon to blind him.
Q. Did you ever see this before?
Alderman Cokayne. This was re-executed before me.
Anthony Devoyer . I am clerk to Mr. Crepany the proctor In February 50-51, there came two men and applied to me, in the absence of Mr. Crepany, to prove a will of John Wilkinson , the executor's name was John Daunt , and he applied to me to get a probate, and said the testator was a batchelor and died on the coast of Guiney. (He is shewn the will) This is the will, here is my writing upon it.
Thomas Dyer . I took the prisoner up at Newington in Surrey, he wanted to know what he was taken up for; Mr. Frith, who was with me, said it was for forgery, and asked him if he knew Mr. Nodes, and he said, yes; I walked by the side of him, so he turned on his heel and ran away; I ran after him, and called out, stop thief! and he called out as he ran, a poor debtor! a poor debtor! he took up a brickbat, and swore he'd kill the first man that should oppose him, but we soon took him again.
Mr. Woodman. I am keeper of Wood-street-Compter, and remember the prisoner's being brought to the Compter the day this commitment bears date, July 27, (holding it in his hand).
The commitment read in court, part of it to this purport.
That he was charged before alderman Chitty, on the oath of Thomas Nodes on a violent suspicion of being concerned with one John Daunt , not yet taken, in publishing a false, forged, and counterfeit will.
As the council for the prisoner had produced in court the indictment against Thomas Nodes , which might have some weight with the jury towards descrediting him with them, the council for the crown moved that witness might be called to his character, which was granted. And
Nicholas Magenes , Esq: (who had known Thomas Nodes seven or eight years) James Laroach , Esq; eight years, John Ellice , Esq; six years, Mr. Alderman Ironside seven or eight years, and Henry Casamaijor , Esq; ten years, appeared and gave him a very good character.
Guilty , Death .
N. B. For the further particulars of this very remarkable trial, we must refer the readers to the trial at large which will very soon he published, with the judge's charge, and counsellors pleadings on both sides.