Alice Davis, John Davis, Royal Offences > coining offences, 13th January 1758.

Reference Number: t17580113-33
Offence: Royal Offences > coining offences
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death > burning

99. (M.) Alice, wife of John Davis , stocking seller , was indicted for that she feloniously and traitorously, with certain files and other instruments, one piece of good and lawful money, of the current coin of this kingdom, called a guinea, did unlawfully file and diminish, against the statute in that case made and provided , December 16 . +

At the request of the prisoner, Diamond and bir wife were examined apart.

William Diamond . I have been acquain ted with the prisoner nine months.

Q. Where did she live?

Diamond. She lived in St. Thomas's Street; it turns down from Drury-Lane.

Q. What is her employ?

Diamond, She sells caps and pockets about the streets.

Q. Did you ever know her to follow any other employment?

Diamond. I have known her to file guineas several times, run the dust afterwards into little pots, and then sell it to a Jew.

Q. How often have you seen her run it?

Diamond. I have seen her run it twice.

Q. How many were the most you ever saw her file at a time?

Diamond. Twelve were the most I ever saw her file in all.

Q. What do you mean in all?

Diamond. I mean one after another, the same day.

Q. How many different times did you see her file guineas?

Diamond. I have seen her about eight or nine different times.

Q. What was the man's name she sold it to?

Diamond. One Abraham Jacob , a Jew; he lived in Hounsditch, between the King's-Arms and the Nag's Head.

Q. Do you know where he is now?

Diamond. No, I do not know.

Q. How did she use to come at money to work upon?

Diamond. She used to go to the pawnbrokers with silver. Sometimes she would say she was going into the country, or to lay out money to buy pockets, and get her guineas off; again, perhaps, by calling for a pot of beer, or a pound of butter, bacon, or cheese.

Q. What means did she make use of in casting the filings?

Diamond. I have seen her rub a little pot with saltpetre, put it into the heart of a coal fire, blow it up for about thirteen or fourteen minutes, and then pour it out on the bottom of a brass candlestick.

Q. How many times have you seen her do that?

Diamond. Four or five times.

Q. Did you ever hear her give any account of her being in danger, in attempting to put off this diminish'd money?

Diamond. She has said several times she could say she took them in her dealings with a gentleman in Smithfield, and at other times she would say her husband took this guinea when he was drunk.

Q. Do you remember any information she gave you of her having been likely to come into trouble, when she has offer'd silver for guineas?

Diamond. She told me she had been suspected at a pawnbroker's on Snow Hill, they would not give her guineas for silver, so she would not go there any more; that they scrupled very much with her, and likewise on the other side of Temple-Bar, up a court.

Q. Do you remember the pawnbroker's name on Snow-Hill?

Diamond No. I do not. She came down to a room that I had in St. Martin's Lane, and knock'd at the door. I told my wife I would not let her in, and she made a great noise. I was for droping her acquaintance. She came the next day, brought twelve guineas, and a news-paper. When I came in she was filing these guineas on the paper, and took eight shillings and six-pence from them.

Q. How do you know that?

Diamond. She had got weights and scales.

Q. Look at these scales. (A pair of gold scales produced.)

Diamond. These are as like them as any I ever saw; I believe them to be the same.

Q. Did you ever see her weigh guineas in scales?

Diamond. I have, in her own house.

Q. Look at these weights. (Weights produced.)

Diamond. These weights are the same she used, to the best of my memory; there were some with five marks, four, and little thin bits, called grains I believe.

Q. Were there any guinea weights?

Diamond. No.

Q. Where did she keep her weights?

Diamond. In a box most commonly.

Q. Look at this snuff box, do you know it?

(An iron snuff box produced.)

Diamond. This is like the box. She used to pretend she was cutting out patterns for pockets and caps, that nobody might see her, and in the mean time she was cutting and filing of guineas. I remember about the beginning of July she was at our house, before I was married to my wife, and was always giving them to my wife to put off. I then did not know the thing. I thought she must be a woman of great dealings, and after I was married she secreted nothing from me.

Q. How long is it since you saw her filing any?

Diamond. I believe it is about four months since I saw her file the last

Q. Where was that ?

Diamond. That was in her own house. I have seen her file guineas several times at her own house, and at the Black-Boy and Harrow in my room.

Q. from prisoner. Did I ever give you a guinea to put off?

Diamond. Several times.

Prisoner. I should be very 10th to trust you with a guinea. I never was in his house in my life.

Diamond. I have dined and sup'd at the prisoner's house. When I work'd at Bow I have come up to her house. She was with me when I was married to my wife. Before I was married to my wife, the prisoner gave me three guineas to change at Charing-Cross.

Q. When did you first become acquainted with your wife?

Diamond. I had courted her two years, but she was in a good service, and I in good work, and so continued till we could put ourselves in a good way; then she left her service.

Q. How long after she left her service did you marry her?

Diamond. In about two months after, as nigh as I can recollect.

Q. Where did she live during those two months.

Diamond. She lodged at Mr. Banes's, at a little turning out of Wild-Street, where she lay on nights, and in the day time she was along with the prisoner.

Q. How do you know that?

Diamond. When ever I came I always found her at her house.

Q. In these two months did you go to the prisoner's house ?

Diamond. I did for about a month, whenever an opportunity served

Q. Was that the beginning of your acquaintance with the prisoner ?

Diamond. It was.

Q. What did your wife do at her house?

Diamond. She was a very intimate acquaintance of hers.

Q. What did you find them doing when you went there?

Diamond. Sometimes they were at home, and sometimes out. When they were out, I went to the sign of the Mogul's Head, till they returned.

Q. When you found them at home, what did you find them doing?

Diamond. My wife told me she was learning her business, that is, to cut out caps and pockets.

Q. When you went there, did you ever find them cutting out caps and pockets?

Diamond. I had seen Mrs. Davis cutting out caps and pockets, and I thought my wife went to learn that.

Q. Did you ever see them doing any thing else?

Diamond. I never saw them do any thing till after I was married, but cut out caps and pockets.

Q. Where did you lodge then?

Diamond. I lodged then at Bow, and work'd at Bow.

Q. Did they ever come to you at Bow?

Diamond. They came down once.

Q. On what account?

Diamond. On the account of my living with a woman there five years; she was willing to know the right of it, and to see her face to face, and inquired into my character. Mrs. Davis's husband came with them.

Q. How long did they stay with you at Bow?

Diamond. They staid till between eight and nine next morning.

Q. Was that before or after you married your wife?

Diamond. That was before.

Q. When was the first time you put off a guinea?

Diamond. It was at the Mitre at Charing Cross.

Q. How long before you married?

Diamond. About a week before I married.

Court. Then you had no discourse with her about coin till after you was married?

Diamond. No, not till after I was married, I put off that at the Mitre before.

Q. Where did she give it you?

Diamond. She gave it me in the street going along.

Q. Where were you going?

Diamond. We were going to take a walk towards the park.

Q. Did she tell you the reason of her giving it you to put off?

Diamond. No, she said here is a guinea, go in and call for six penny worth of rum and water, I want silver. I did not know but that it was to treat me, out of regard to my wife.

Q. Did she go in with you?

Diamond. She did, and took part of the liquor; we had it at the bar.

Q. Who were with you?

Diamond. There were her husband, my wife, she and I.

Q. Now tell the second time you put off a guinea for her?

Diamond. That was at the Goat at Charing-Cross, the same day. This was on a Sunday in the afternoon, at about an hour distance.

Q. What did she say to you when she had got the other silver about her, in order to induce you to change another guinea?

Diamond, She said she had lost the selling her pockets and things for want of change.

Q. When did you put off any more for her?

Diamond. I can't tell any particular times, I put off several for her; I put off two at the Red Lion in Bromley Street for her, about a week before I was married.

Q. Had you no suspicion all the time about these guineas ?

Diamond. I had not indeed any, till after I was married, and had seen her file some; neither did I know any thing of the affair.

Q. After you was married, tell me the first time you had any fort of suspicion?

Diamond. That was when I saw her do it. I asked my wife what was the reason of her giving me guineas to put off, for then I began to suspect her.

Q. How long after you was married did you see any thing done by the prisoner?

Diamond. I believe it might be about a week after.

Q. Did she ever say any thing to you before you saw her doing them?

Diamond. No, she never said any thing to me till I saw her go to work in her own house. I used to come to see her frequently, and used to go to the Mogul's Head and have a pot of beer, and then my wife told me the prisoner used to do so and so.

Q. Was this before the prisoner told you of it?

Diamond. Yes.

Q. Did she know your wife told you of it?

Diamond. I judge she knew my wife had told me; she went up stairs and left me below, then I went up stairs, and the prisoner opened the door,

( it was lock'd) and I went in and saw her doing them. She said, when below, I beg the liberty, as I have got some guineas, to go up and do them, and we'll go and put them off, and we will have a glass together.

Q. Was this the first time you saw her do them?

Diamond. It was; she staying longer than ordidinary, I went up.

Q. What did you do when they were done?

Diamond. As soon as they were done we went out.

Q. How many did she do at that time?

Diamond. She did half a dozen then.

Q. Who put them off?

Diamond. She put off some of them. Then she would say, when we came to another house, I have been to this house so often, do you go in, they'll take no notice of you, as you belong to the army. When ever she could meet with me, she used to get me a little in liquor, and then to go and put them off for her. Sometimes we have got one off for buying a pound of mutton, or a beef steak, or going to get a dram.

Q. How came you to make a discovery of it?

Diamond. That was on account of a guinea that was too light which I went to put off for her.

Q. When was this?

Diamond. I believe it is about a month ago; the landlord disputed it.

Q. Where was it?

Diamond. In Tyburn Road; he brought it before justice Fielding, and left it there; he thought it was not good.

Q. What became of it afterwards?

Diamond. It was returned to me by the justice, who took down my name, and the regiment I belonged to. I was taken up on a Friday, and on the Sunday I was sent for to justice Fielding, and fresh examined.

Q. What was done on the Sunday, when you was fresh examined?

Diamond. Two serjeants came and brought me and my wife, and we were put into the Round-house at Westminster, and on that day we were brought before the justice. The justice committed my wife to Clerkenwell Bridewell, and me to New-Prison, and I made the discovery.

Q. When did you make the discovery ?

Diamond. To justice Fielding that Sunday.

Q. When you saw the prisoner filing the guineas, was any body with her?

Diamond. No.

Q. What did you do?

Diamond. I sat down on the bed side, just by where she was at work.

Q. Did you never see any body with her, when she was filing?

Diamond. No, I never saw a second person, except myself.

Q. Did you never see your wife with her, when she was filing?

Diamond. No, never in my days.

Q. After you was married, and before you was taken up, how many guineas do you think you might put off for her in all?

Diamond. I can't readily tell how many, - I believe from time to time upwards of forty.

Q. What did you think of these forty guineas afterwards?

Diamond. I thought it was very bad, and for that reason I moved down to Westminster, to keep out of her company; but when ever she met me, she chose to give me a drop of beer, and then put me upon putting them off at alehouses.

Q. When was it you was married?

Diamond. I was married May the 4th.

Alice Diamond . I am wife to William Diamond , I have known the prisoner about three years.

Q. Where did you live when you first knew her?

A. Diamond. I was in service, at a grocer's in Covent Garden.

Q. When did you leav e that service?

A. Diamond. Better than twelve months ago.

Q. When you left that service, where did you go to lodge?

A. Diamond. I went to lodge with one Mrs. Banes, in Little Wild-street, and Alice Davis , the prisoner, lived in Little Thomas's street, Drury Lane. I used to go frequently to her house.

Q. How often ?

A. Diamond. I used to call there every day, and she used to send for me.

Q. What was your intention in going there?

A. Diamond. Only as having but little acquaintance in London, and she desiring me to come to her.

Q. Had you any thing to do there ?

A. Diamond. Nothing more than going backwards and forwards. She desired me to come, and when I did not come, she and her husband used to come for me to my lodgings.

Q. What did you see her do there?

A. Diamond. I saw her file guineas and half guineas.

Q. When did you first see her file guineas ?

A. Diamond. I never saw her file any till after I had left my place.

Q. How often had you been there after you left your service, before you saw her file guineas?

A. Diamond. I had not been there above half a dozen times, before I saw her.

Q. Did you ever see her file guineas while you was in service?

A. Diamond. No, I never did.

Q. How came you to see her do it the first time?

A. Diamond. She open'd it to me, and beg'd I'd take them to change for her.

Q. Did you change any guineas for her before you saw her file any?

A. Diamond. Yes, I did some, but how many I can't say. She told me she could make a profit by them, and it would be better for me to be with her, than at service. I asked her how she could do it. The next day she sent her husband for me, and I went; she said she had some filed, and wanted me to put them off, and sent me to places where she did not chuse to go.

Q. Did she mention any thing to you about filing ?

A. Diamond. She did that night; she went to a pawnbroker and got gold for her silver then.

Q. How long was this before you was married?

A. Diamond. That was about a month before I was married.

Q. Tell the words she mention'd to make you sensible of it.

A. Diamond. She said she filed guineas and half guineas; that she could sell the filings, get a great deal by it, and so get tea and sugar.

Q. Did you, after this, see her file any guineas ?

A. Diamond. Yes, I did.

Q. How many time between that and the time you was married ?

A. Diamond. I can't say; but there were few days, for about a month, but that she filed some.

Q. How many at a time?

A. Diamond. Sometimes six, sometimes eight, and sometimes ten, according as she could receive silver to change for guineas.

Q. After you was married did you see her file any guineas?

A. Diamond. Yes, very often.

Q. How long is it since the last time you ever saw her file any?

A. Diamond. It is not a great while ago, but I can't tell how long; I think it may be about two months, or thereabouts.

Q. How long before the time you was before justice Fielding ?

A. Diamond. It was not a great while before that; she gave my husband a light one to put off.

Q. Do you mean it was at that time you saw her file them?

A. Diamond. It was before that.

Q. How many times do you imagine, after your marriage, you saw her file guineas?

A. Diamond. I can't say how often, but I saw her file guineas very often.

Q. Was your husband by when she filed guineas?

A. Diamond. He has been by when she has. She has come to our room, and filed them there, when my husband has been present at the time.

Q. How long was this after your marriage?

A. Diamond. Not long after; I believe within a month after.

Q. How many did she file at that time?

A. Diamond. At that time, as near as I can guess, she had eleven guineas.

Q. Where was it that you lodged them ?

A. Diamond. At the sign of the Black-Boy and Harrow.

Q. Do you know what became of those guineas?

A. Diamond. She went out, and passed them off.

Q. Did any one else endeavour to pass them?

A. Diamond. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you or your husband see her file guineas any where else?

A. Diamond. Yes, my husband and I have both seen her file guineas at her own house, in Thomas's-Street.

Q. How long was that after the time you speak of, of seeing her file some at your lodgings?

A. Diamond. It was about two months, as near as I can guess, after.

Q. How long, after you became acquainted with her, was it that you first had discourse with her about filing of guineas?

A. Diamond. I had no talk with her while I was in my service, but afterwards she would take me out of my lodgings to put them off for her.

Q. Did you ever put any off for her while you was in your service?

A. Diamond. No, I did not.

Q. How came you acquainted with her?

A. Diamond. She came to my brother's, in Tyburn-Road, to lodge.

Q. Was you in service at that time ?

A. Diamond. No; I was at home then.

Q. How long did she lodge there?

A. Diamond. About a fortnight.

Q. Where did she go afterwards?

A. Diamond. I believe she came and took the house in Thomas's-Street, Drury-Lane.

Q. Did your husband see her file guineas often?

A. Diamond. My husband and I were frequently present when she did.

Q. How long was it after you left your service that you was married?

A. Diamond. It was about six or seven weeks after.

Q. When was you married ?

A. Diamond. I think it was the 4th of May last.

Q. Did your husband use to come to you to her house before you were married?

A. Diamond. Yes, very frequently.

Q. Could he see filing there before he and you were married?

A. Diamond. No, never before we were married, as I know of; but Mrs. Davis would take me out to put off money, because she would not put off any where she had been before.

Q. Did the prisoner and you ever go down to your husband at Bow ?

A. Diamond. Yes, once; she and her husband went with me.

Q. What did you go there for?

A. Diamond. Because of a woman that my husband had lived with, to whom, it was said, he was married; so he desired me and the prisoner to go down to see what the woman had to say for herself, and when we came there the woman had nothing to say, only that she was not married to my husband.

Mr. Alexander. I am a pawnbroker, and live upon Snow Hill. About three or four months ago the prisoner came to my shop with a guinea-worth of silver, at a time it was scarce, and I gave her a guinea for it. Two or three days after she brought me two or three guineas more in silver, and desired me to give her good guineas for it. The expression alarmed me, she making use of the word weighty guineas. I ask'd her name. She said Davis. I ask'd where she lived. I think she told me in Parker's-Lane. I asked her business, but I have forgot her answer. Then I gave her her silver back again, and would not let her have gold, I really suspecting her.

Q. Had you any previous knowledge of her?

Alexander. I lived in that part of the town, and, I think, I remember her.

Q. Did she ever come to your shop again ?

Alexander. No. I ordered her to come no more, and she never did.

Q. from prisoner. Did I ever come to your house?

Alexander. Upon my oath you did.

Prisoner. Really I don't know but I might.

Benjamin Colier . I live at the corner of St. John's-Alley, Leicester-Fields, and am apprentice to Mr. Robey, an ironmonger and brasier; the prisoner has come often to our shop.

Q. How many times?

Colier. I can't pretend to say how many times, but not lately.

Q. How long is it ago since the first time?

Colier. It may be about two years ago.

Q. When was the last time?

Colier. I believe I have not seen her these four or five months.

Q. When she came, what was her business?

Colier. She used generally to buy crucibles, melting pots, and sometimes small files.

Q. What is the use of crucibles?

Colier. They are to melt metals in.

Q. What are the sizes of them?

Colier. They are of different sizes; she usually had small ones.

Q. Did you ever ask her what she did with them?

Colier. No, I did not.

Q. How many times has she bought of you?

Colier. I can't tell; I was not always in the way. I have seen her in our shop, perhaps, ten or twelve times.

Q. Did she use to buy any thing else but these articles?

Colier. I don't remember selling her any thing else; I generaly served her, but I could not always please her with files.

Q. What sort of files were they?

Colier. They were three-square files, of the small sort.

Prisoner. I don't know that witness; I never bought any pots there.

John Mackey . I left Mr. Robey's service the 24th of October last. The prisoner was continually a customer there. I have seen her there several times, and she has bought melting pots and files. I sometimes have serv'd her, and sometimes my fellow apprentice Benjamin Colier . Sometimes she has come twice a week.

Q. How many times may you have served her?

Mackey. I may have served her in all forty or fifty times. She used to buy two-penny flat files, and another fort, three-corner'd, for three halfpence.

Prisoner. I do not know that young man at all.

Roger Boucher . On the 18th of December I searched the prisoner's lodgings, in St. Thomas's-Street, Drury Lane, where I found nothing but a pair of scales and weights, which I delivered to Mr. Spencley; they were in a drawer on the ground floor, and the weights in a little tin box.

John Spencley (producing the scales and weights.) These Mr. Boucher delivered to me, I am a constable. These are the same I shew'd to Diamond, and I have had them in my custody ever since.

Prisoner's Defence.

If I had made money, I should have given it to those people where I dealt. The woman aims to take away my life Her husband was never an acquaintance of mine, but I have asked her to come and eat a bit of dinner with me. My husband and I walk the streets to get our bread. I was told a good while ago, that the man was going to make information. I might have got away, if I had thought any thing of this, but I gave myself up to a constable, and desired him to go with me to justice Fielding. I never filed guineas in my life.

For the Prisoner.

William Shaw . I am a linen-draper, and live in Smithfield. The prisoner has dealt with me and my partner, named Pinkney, for upwards of three years. I believe we have taken upwards of a hundred pounds of her, and never took any light money of her as I know of.

Q. What did she trade in ?

Shaw. She used to buy linen and diaper, and the like, to make pockets and what things she sold.

Cross Examination.

Council. The expression you make use of is, she never gave you any light money, as you know of; you may have light money paid you as well as other people, may you not?

Shaw. We may, but I mean I never took notice that hers was too light, so as to return any again.

Q. Did she pay you in small sums ?

Shaw. May be 20 or 30 s. sometimes 5 l. part in silver, and part in gold.

James Brook . I keep a chandler's shop in Thomas's-street; the prisoner has dealt with me, and paid me very honestly.

Q. Did she pay you in gold?

Brook. Sometimes she did, but not above three or four guineas in the two years she dealt with me, and they were very good for what I know.

John Ward . The prisoner was a tenant to me three years and a half, in Thomas's-street. She paid me my rent, which was 7 l. a year, both in silver and gold. I never received any bad money of her as I know of. She rented a whole house of me.

Q. What was her way of business?

Ward. I know nothing of that, only as to trading in pockets and caps, and the like.

Guilty , Death .


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