Joseph Weeley, Theft > theft from a specified place, 13th January 1758.

Reference Number: t17580113-7
Offence: Theft > theft from a specified place
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

59. (M.) Joseph Weeley was indicted for stealing seventeen yards of sattin brocade, value 8 l. forty yards of silk, call'd lutestring, value 8 l. and thirty-five yards of silk, value 6 l. the property of William Neal , in the dwelling-house of the said William , Dec. 23 .*

William Neal. I live in Bedford-street, Covent-Garden . I am a silk mercer . The prisoner was my servant , in the capacity of a journeyman . He lived with me about three quarters of a year. I believe he went away the latter end of August last. He was taken up for some other fact, by which means this came out. I had missed goods, but could not charge him or any body else with taking them, but then I had not missed these particular goods that are mentioned in the indictment.

Q. When was he taken up?

Neal. I believe it was some time in October last. He being in Newgate, and distressed for money, sent this letter ( producing one) which was intercepted, and Mr. Fielding sent for me; and I knowing it to be the prisoner's hand-writing, he delivered it to me. It is directed to Mr. Coyde, and is to this purport, '' Please to let the bearer have '' that piece of silk, call'd lutestring, paying what '' you have lent upon it, and when that is sold it '' will fetch the other things which you have got '' of mine.''

Q. Are you sure you know his hand-writing?

Neal. I know his hand writing very well.

Q. Where does Mr. Coyde live?

Neal. He is a pawnbroker in Leather Lane, Holbourn. I took a constable and search warrent. and went there, and found the goods mention'd in the indictment, that is, forty yards of silk, call'd lutestring, between seventeen and eighteen yards of sattin Brocade, and about thirty-five yards of figur'd silk, my property, which I must have lost between Nov. 1756, and Oct. 1757. I took up her Coyde for having these things in his custody, imagining he knew them to have been stolen.

Q. from prisoner. Did not you trust me with your effects to a great value, and also to carry out goods to shew to customers?

Neal. To be sure I did, and with bills to receive perhaps 500 l. at a time, for what I know, or more.

Q. from prisoner. Did not I bring them to account?

Neal. Every thing of that sort, as I thought then.

Q. from prisoner. Whether you did not trust me with two thousand pounds worth of goods at a time to carry out to customers ?

Neal. I have a great many thousand pounds worth of goods in my shop, but he could not take out two thousand pounds worth at one time.

Q. Did you ever send the prisoner with any goods to pawn?

Neal. No, I never did.

William Bowyer . I am journeyman to Mr. Coyde, a pawnbroker in Leather Lane.

Q. How long have you lived with him?

Bowyer. Five years.

Q. Do you know the prisoner?

Bowyer. I have known him about three years, ever since he used to come to our house.

Q. Did he use to come frequently?

Bowyer. He did.

Q. What did he use to bring to your house?

Bowyer. He has pawn'd silks.

Q. When ?

Bowyer. About two years ago. The first time of his coming was with some stuffs, and silk with it.

Q. Who took them in?

Bowyer. My master and I. ( Some pieces of silk produced, he takes up a price ) This I took in of the prisoner on the 17th of February last in the evening.

Q. to prosecutor. Look at this piece?

Prosecutor. Here is about thirty-five yards of it, it is my property.

Bowyer. Here is another piece which the prisoner brought at the same time, and had 7 l. on them both (taking another piece in his hand. ) He has sometimes brought pieces and took others out, and used to have about 4 l. or 5 l. at a time.

Q. Did you ask him any questions how he came by them?

Bowyer. Yes, he said he dealt among his friends and acquaintance, that he was going to marry a lady, and then his father would set him up; he said he had bought them.

Q. Did you know where he lived at that time?

Bowyer. No, I did not. When he brought the silk he said, he should be arrested if he had not the money that he had contracted for to pay for them.

Prisoner. Please to inquire what he swore before justice Fielding.

Court. We'll inquire into that presently.

William Ward . I live with Mr. Coyde, I am his apprentice, and have been for above three years. I have known the prisoner about two years, I have seen him several times at our shop, and was present when two pieces were taken in for 7 l. one night, and about the 16th of July he had on silk and stuff together 14 l.

Bowyer. There was a parcel he pawned with as before he went to live with Mr Neal.

John Nichols . I am a constable, I had a warrant from justice Fielding, and went to Mr. Coyde's house with Mr. Neal. I had the letter that the prisoner directed to Mr. Coyde, I produced it, and said, I was come for a piece of silk. Mr. Coyde told me he would not let me have it. He said he did not understand carrying on any correspondence with Mr. Weeley in Newgate. Mr. Neal was without a little way from the door, I step'd to him, and told him what he said. Mr. Neal went in with me. When we said we had got a search warrant, Mr. Coyde said he would go and fetch the silk down, and went and brought down several pieces. (The pieces here produced )

Q. Where is Mr. Coyde ?

Bowyer. He was at home this morning?

Prisoner's Defence.

Mr. Neal employ'd me to act in his absence, and has several times trusted me with several quantities of goods, and great sums of money. These good, here are privately minuted down, but I never brought them to an account. I have at divers times taken silks and pledged them for my own present necessity, till my wages came to be due, and I have taken others in their room, and brought them home to keep up my credit. I intended to have returned every thing that I am charged with. Mr. Neal wrote to my friends for my general character, and I had the best of characters. I have lived with Mess. Wood and Co. in Chandois-street. I came from Warwickshire.

As the prisoner refer'd to the examination of Bowyer before justice Fielding, it was read in court to this purport, '' That he had been servant to Mr.

'' Coyde five years, and had known the prisoner '' about three, who told him he was journeyman to '' Mess. Wood and Co. in Chandois-street; that '' he pawn'd at different times silks and stuffs, and '' that he had heard his master Coyde say he was '' afraid the silks belong'd to his master, and that '' he knew well the prisoner's person, having frequently '' seen him at his master's shop, where he '' was very familiar, 'and that he asked Mr. Coyde '' to come there to see him.''

Guilty , Death .

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