William Stevens, Theft > theft from a specified place, 5th April 1758.

Reference Number: t17580405-29
Offence: Theft > theft from a specified place
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

185. (L.) William Stevens was indicted for stealing twenty-nine yards of Woollen-cloth, value 18 l. two pieces of linnen cloth, value 30 s. the goods of William Colethurst , out of his warehouse , Feb. 24 . +

William Colethurst . I live in Basinghall-street , I know the prisoner well, he was employed by me, in my business, as a packer .

Q. When was the last time ?

Colethurst. Three or four days before the fire happened.

Q. When was that?

Colethurst. the 24th of February last, at which time the goods mentioned in the indictment were lost.

Q. Can you tell me what goods he was packing on the 24th of February?

Colethurst. He was employed particularly in linnen. Two days before he was pressing the piece of cloth which I lost.

Q. In the packing of the cloth was there any particular circumstance happened, by which you could know it again?

Colethurst. By the pattern I took of it, I am sure it is mine.

Q. In what manner was this woollen cloth packed-up ?

Colethurst. It was done about half a yard wide, and put into a green canvass.

Q. Had it any ferril upon it when it was packed up?

Colethurst. It had, and two numbers, one was the number of the cloth; the mark was Newman Superfine 10,707, 25 yards three quarters; it was put on by the weaver, when it was wove, it was at the head end of the cloth.

Q. Was that part of the cloth, to which the ferril was annex'd afterwards lost?

Colethurst. The whole piece of cloth was taken away.

Q. How was the linnen cloth packed?

Colethurst. In canvas, and a rope; fifteen pieces were together in one bale.

Q. How long did this man work afterwards with you?

Colethurst. Three days.

Q. When did you discharge him?

Colethurst. I believe the 22d of February.

Q. When he went away, where were these bales ?

Colethurst. They were in my warehouse. I saw them there.

Q. Did he know where they were?

Colethurst. Yes, very well.

Q. Were the bales there on the 23d of February?

Colethurst. Yes, I saw them about four or five in the evening; on Friday morning, the 24th of February, we were alarmed with fire; after the fright was over, and the fire was got out, I examined the warehouse, to see what I had lost; I missed a piece of cloth, and I found a bale of linnen that was cut open, and two pieces taken out of the bale.

Q. What was the value of the cloth?

Colethurst. About 17 l. it was twenty-five yards three quarters; it cost first 15 s. per yard.

Q. What quantity of linnen?

Colethurst. The two pieces of linnen were worth about 1 l. 15 s.

Q. Did you miss any thing else?

Colethurst. Only the wrappers which he put the goods in.

Q. Did you suspect any particular person having stolen them?

Colethurst. The observations that the prisoner had made on it, when he was at work, of a wrinkle, and I missing that piece, made me suspect the very man.

Q. What grounds had you to think that he had stole them?

Colethurst. Because he had made a mark, which no man knew besides himself and my man, the other man I know to be a very honest man; I have known him a great many years.

Q. Did you see the prisoner at your house at the time that the fire happened?

Colethurst. I did not see him.

William Holloway . I am journeyman to Mr. Colethurst; I know the prisoner very well, I remember his working with Mr. Colethurst as a packer; he was at work two days before the fire happened, in folding of this woollen cloth into papers for the press, (the woollen cloth produced in court.)

Q. Did he make any observations upon any wrinkles, or marks in the cloth?

Holloway. Yes, this is it, when he was about it, he said, sir, you see here is a wrinkle, you see I did not do it.

Q. Can you say it was the same cloth?

Holloway. I am sure it was the same cloth that that he was employed to sold into papers for the press.

Q. When did Mr. Colethurst discharge him?

Holloway. On the Wednesday night.

Q. When was the last time, you are sure, the cloth was in the warehouse?

Holloway. The cloth and linnen were in the warehouse on the Thursday evening about six or seven o'clock.

Q. When was the first time you miss'd this cloth?

Holloway. When we had got our hurry over, between seven and eight o'clock on the Friday morning, I went into the warehouse, and when I came in, I saw the bale was cut open, and I thought that by moving it, it might have bursted; afterwards looking for the woollen cloth, I found the green buckram that it was put up in, and the cloth gone, and the ferril the same.

Q. Do you remember having any more of that cloth from any other since ?

Holloway. Yes, a man in court brought a piece home after the Tickets were out.

Q. How much is the piece of woollen cloth worth?

Holloway. About 17 l.

Q. Did the prisoner come to you after this?

Holloway. No, he never came since.

Thomas Dillingham . I am watchman, when I came by about a quarter after six, I saw a great smoke come out of Mr. Colethurst's cellar; after I had stood about five or six minutes, I saw a man come running out of the door of Mr. Colethurst's with a bundle upon his back, and went towards London wall.

Q. Did you take any particular notice of the man?

Dillingham. I can't tell what sort of a man he was.

Q. Did you alarm the family that there was a fire in the house?

Dillingham. When I came by, I thought the family was up, I saw no fire, only smoke.

Elizabeth Salter . I know him by sight very well.

Q. What are you?

E. Salter. I am a bookseller, the prisoner came to my house on the 24th of February, about nine o'clock, and brought a bag very heavy; he said let me leave this bag: it was a very cold morning, but he came in a great sweat. I asked him what made him sweat so; in such a cold morning, and he said it was his burden. I told him I would not have my shop fill'd with his goods, he said he would not leave it above two or three hours. I saw him again on Saturday morning, about ten or eleven o'clock; he took the bag and cut it open, and took the cloth out, and cut off about four or five yards, and took it under his arm and went away.

Q. Are you sure this is the same cloth?

E. Salter. I know it to be the same by the two figures of 7. I saw the number when he cut it off and laid it upon the ground.

Q. Did he give you any directions what to do with the rest?

Salter. I asked him for some money, he said you must sell some of this cloth, and you may have some of this linnen cloth to make a pair of sheets. I did not take any then; I said I have no

skill in woollen cloth, he said it was worth 7 s. per yard.

Q. Did you employ any body to sell any part of this woollen or linnen cloth?

Salter. I employed my daughter to sell the woollen cloth, but she sold none, for she offer'd it, and she was taken up; he came on Saturday evening, and he borrow'd two shillings.

Q. Did you advance any more money upon the cloth?

Salter. I advanced 15 s. and 2 s. more on Saturday evening.

Q. Did you make any inquiry how he came by this cloth?

Salter. He said it was his own, and said I might go to any public shop in London, and make any money of it. The cloth was at my house till the prisoner was taken up. He came for some more cloth on the Tuesday morning, and my daughter took him up.

Mary Salter . I know the prisoner very well; on Friday morning the 24th of February he brought some cloth and some linnen in a canvas bag; he came in a great sweat, which I was greatly surprised at, in such a cold morning, and he desired he might leave it for two or three hours; my mother said she did not choose to be incumbered with it, but he said nothing; she called two or three times, but he made no answer, and ran away and left the goods. I saw him again on the Saturday, and he came and desired she would lend him 15 s. she lent him 15 s. and three half-crowns, and he took and cut the cloth in pieces, and left six yards behind, and took the rest away.

Q. Are you sure this is the cloth here produced?

M. Salter. Yes, I am sure it is the same by the two figures of 7.

Q. How came the prisoner to be taken up at your mother's house?

M. Salter. The prisoner said he would come on the Tuesday morning, and when he came he was taken up.

Q. Was there any cloth at that time in your mother's house?

M. Salter. There was some left till he came to fetch it.

Thomas Collins . I have known him for four or five years; he brought a quantity of cloth some time in February, on a Saturday morning; first he brought a pattern, and offered it to sell; afterwards he brought a quantity of cloth, he said it was 27 yards, and a half, or three quarters of it, (a piece of cloth produced in court.)

Q. Is that the cloth he brought you to sell?

Collins. I am pretty sure this is the cloth, I have no reason, but only with regard to the colour, it appears to me to be the very same thing. When he brought the cloth, I laid it by in order to have a coat and breeches made of it.

Q. What was you to give him for it?

Collins. We had not agreed about that, he said it was to be 14 s. a yard. I said if it was worse it would serve my turn as well, he told me it was not his, but a friend's that was going into the country, and that he had it to dispose of for him.

Q. How long did the cloth continue with you?

Collins. About five or six days. When I came to be acquainted with the affair, I informed Mr. Colethurst that I had heard he had lost some cloth, and that I had so much cloth of such a colour in my possession. I told him if he would send his man to my house, I would give it him. Mr. Colethurst sent his man, and I shew'd him a pattern of it, and gave it him.

Q. Was the cloth that Mr. Colethurst's man had of you, the very same that you had of the prisoner?

Collins. Yes, the very same.

Mr. Staples. I was present when the prisoner was apprehended, and I was with him before justice Fielding.

Q. Was the cloth produced there?

Staples. It was, and the linnen.

Q. What account did he give to Mr. Fielding?

Staples. He said he was going down Basinghall-street, and he saw a bag lie, he said he found it under the wall.

Prisoner's defence.

I found this cloth in the street.

For the prisoner.

John Cooper . I have known the prisoner five or six months, I never knew any harm of him before this.

Robert Hemming . I have known the prisoner about seven years, his wife was servant to me; after his day's work was over, I let him come to see his wife, and when he was out of his time, I let him be in my house; he lived with me four years and a half, I never heard to the contrary but that he was a very just, honest man, and has bore a good character ever since.

Guilty , Death .


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