William Adams, Deception > forgery, 20th April 1757.

Reference Number: t17570420-21
Offence: Deception > forgery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

162. (L.) William Adams was indicted under the statute of the 2d of George the II. chap. 35. for feloniously forging, and causing to be forged an acquittance or receipt, upon a false and counterfeited certificate, for the over entry of twenty pipes of wine, whereby his majesty was defrauded of the sum of 252 l. 1 s. 01/2, and for publishing the same, knowing it to be forged .

The indictment (which under the statute was made felony without benefit of clergy) was laid four several ways:

I. For forging an acquittance or receipt upon a false and counterfeited certificate, specifying the instrument or certificate.

II. For publishing the same, knowing it to be forged, specifying the instrument or certificate.

III. For forging the same without specifying the instrument or certificate. And

IV. For publishing the same, knowing it to be forged, without specifying the instrument or certificate.

John Piggot , assistant to the receiver general, gent. was first called and deposed, That the prisoner was an examiner of certificate, or over-entries on the duties of wine, and that the prisoner on the 9th of February last brought to him the certificate, produced by this witness, for him to mark, which he did with the initial letters of his name, as was usual in such cases, and that the prisoner told this witness that the merchant had sign'd it, and he himself had witnessed it. The said certificate being read in court, it was thereby certified, that on the 26th of January, 1757, Phineas Coates , merchant, entered at the Custom-house ten tons of port wine, which being damaged was delivered up to the king, and therefore the merchant was intitled to a certificate of over-entry, and it appeared to be sign'd by the several proper officers.

Benjamin Batley , Esq; and John Keen , Esq; land-surveyors, look'd on the certificates and swore their several names, which appeared subscribed thereto, were not of their respective hand-writing.

Alexander Goodwin and Richard Green, land-waiters, look'd on the certificate produced, and swore their several names, which appeared to be subscribed thereto, were not of their respective hand-writing.

Joseph Creswicke , Esq; deputy collector, look'd on the certificate produced, and swore his name, which appeared to be subscribed thereto, was not of his hand-writing, and that there was not any entry of wine at the Custom-house by Phineas Coates , on the 26th of January last.

Thomas Causton , Esq; deputy comptroller, looked upon the certificate, and swore his name, which appeared to be subscribed thereto, was not of his hand-writing, and that his business was to sign certificates of over-entries, and to see that the duties were rightly computed.

Robert Ashby , clerk to the deputy-comptroller, look'd on the certificate, and swore his name, which appeared to be subscribed thereto, was not of his hand-writing.

James Wadsworth , clerk to the prisoner, look'd on the certificate, and swore that the letters J. W. were not wrote by him; he also deposed he had often seen the prisoner write, and did verily believe W. Adams. which appeared to be subscribed thereto, and also the letters W. A. wrote on the back thereof, were of the prisoner's own handwriting.

Edward Stanley look'd on the certificate, and swore the four commissioners names, subscribed thereto, were of their own respective hand-writing.

Euclid Thompson look'd on the certificate, and swore that the words, containing the particular duties and figures thereto, he wrote by the order of the prisoner, and did not know the intent.

Phineas Coates look'd on the certificate, and swore that the name Phineas Coates , which appeared to be indorsed thereon, was not of his handwriting; and farther, that he had not, neither at the time mentioned in the said certificate, nor at any other time, made any over-entry.

Humphry Becke, clerk in the receiver general's-office, swore that the prisoner brought the certificate produced into the office, in order for payment of 252 l. 1 s. 01/2, and that he, the said Becke, gave him a ticket for the same.

James Emmett , teller under the receiver general, swore, that on the 9th of February last, the prisoner brought the ticket mentioned by the last witness, and that this witness paid him 252 l. 1 s. 01/2 by virtue thereof.

The prisoner in his defence said, he did not tell Mr. Piggot the certificate was sign'd by Mr Coates, and that his own name was not to it at that time, neither was it witnessed; but that was done since he saw it, that it was brought to him fill'd up with all these names on it, that if he was imposed upon, he could not help it; he received the money and paid it again.

Guilty , Death .


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