Samuel Lee, Deception > fraud, 21st October 1761.

Reference Number: t17611021-33
Offence: Deception > fraud
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

317. (L). Samuel Lee , was indicted for feloniously uttering, and publishing, as true, a false bill of exchange, with the name Benjamin Sutton thereunto subscribed, bearing date at Leicester, 17th of October, for the payment of 50 l. with intention to defraud John Price . It was laid also with intention to defraud Mess. Frame and Co. Dec. 20 . ++

John Price . I have had correspondence with Mr. Powser of Leicester about 16 years.

Q. In what situation is he of late?

Price. He is a man deprived of sight, so is under a necessity of having a person to transact business for him.

Q. The bills drawn upon you from him, who are they drawn by?

Price. They are drawn by Mr. Benjamin Sutton , most of them, he draws more than any of the clerks.

Q. What is Mr. Powser?

Price. He is a hosier.

Q. What are you?

Price. I am a merchant.

Q. What do you correspond with him in?

Price. In money only; he was a man in busisiness, in the hosiery way, and he takes the excise money for the county of Derby; he used to remit me sometimes a thousand pounds a month, it answered his purpose in the country, and I was his agent here to pay it into the Bank, when I had collected in his bills and money. Now he has of late taken up money at Leicester, to answer his occasions, and made remittances to me to answer his drafts; he made his drafts upon me, and always sent me materials to answer them.

Q. Was Mr. Benjamin Sutton agent for him in October 1760.

Price. He was.

Q. Where did he reside?

Price. At Leicester; they both live there, Mr. Powser, and Mr. Sutton.

Q. Were the bills drawn by Mr. Sutton, on the account of Mr. Powser, accepted as Mr. Powser's bills?

Price. All Mr. Sutton's bills, whom I considered as agent for Mr. Powser, I always paid as Mr. Powser's bills, because I had an order so to do from Mr. Powser.

Cross Examination.

Q . How many clerks had Mr. Powser at home?

Price. He had two or three.

Q. Have you seen Mr. Powser often?

Price. I never saw him but once; but I had an order from him, to pay all the bills drawn by Mr. Sutton, or any of his other clerks.

Q. Who gave you that order? Did not Mr. Sutton write that order?

Price. No, Sir.

Q. How long has Mr. Sutton been his agent?

Price. He has near as long as I have corresponded with Mr. Powser, he used to settle accounts for his master.

Q. Had you this order by letter from Mr. Powser?

Price. I cannot say I received any letter from Mr. Powser, signed by his own hand.

Q. When the account was settled between Mr. Powser and you, did he always allow the account?

Price. Yes.

Q. Whether you ever settled any account with Mr. Powser?

Price. Yes, a great many.

Q. Did he approve of them?

Price. Yes, he did.

Q. Whether you have not had an answer under the hand of Mr. Sutton, with regard to settling your accounts rightly?

Price. Yes, generally for his master, that Mr. Powser has approved of the account. Mr. Sutton writes word back, that either it is right, or right, subject to such error.

Q. Did you direct your letters to Mr. Sutton?

Price. I never directed a letter to Mr. Sutton in my life, as I recollect; I write particularly to Mr. Thomas Powser .

Q. No money past between Mr. Sutton and you?

Price. I don't know that ever a penny past between us.

Q. Whether there has not been in you, transacting a great many accounts with Mr. Powser, several mistakes in the time of your correspondence together?

Price. None so much as lately; there has been some mistakes, but such mistakes, that have been all regulated; I have taken my right, and he his.

Q. Has not the prisoner at the bar been an instrument in settling most of your mistakes?

Price. No. I have trusted him to be sure.

Benjamin Sutton . I have been agent for Mr. Powser of Leicester, almost 16 years; he is blind.

Q. Was you his clerk in the year 1760, in October?

Sutton. I was, and was imploy'd as his agent to draw bills for him.

Q. About the 17th of October 1760, was you authorized to draw bills upon him in town?

Sutton. I have been authorized ever since I have been with him, to draw bills upon his account.

Q. What, as a partner?

Sutton. No, not as a partner.

Q. Look upon the name Benjamin Sutton (upon this bill now in question) Is this your handwriting?

Sutton. No, Sir, it is not my hand-writing.

Q. Did you draw this bill?

Sutton. No, I did not.

Q. Have you seen the prisoner often?

Sutton. I never saw him but once that I know of, and that some years ago; therefore I cannot form any idea of him.

Q. Is this like your hand-writing?

Sutton. It is a great deal like my writing; I was a good deal shock'd at first, when I saw it

Q. Can you undertake to say upon your oath, without any degree of doubt, that you never drew that bill?

Sutton. I know I never did draw it?

Cross Examination.

Counsel. You say, when you first saw it, it shock'd you

Sutton. It did a good deal; it was a good deal like my hand writing.

Counsel. Then you could not be certain at first.

Sutton. No, I could not.

Q. What has made you more certain since?

Sutton. By searching Mr. Powser's books.

Q. Is that the only reason?

Sutton. No, there are two indorsers; I went to them, and they had no such account on their books.

Q. Upon your oath, whether is this your handwriting or not?

Sutton. It is not my hand-writing, upon my oath it is not; I am very certain of it.

Q. When you drew these sort of bills, on the account of your principal, Mr. Powser, do you enter it in a book?

Sutton. Yes, always.

Q. Do you recollect you omitted entering one of this sort?

Sutton. We always enter them down in two books.

Q. Are you certain you enter them?

Sutton. I am very certain of that.

Q. Is there any entry made of this bill

Sutton. No, there is not, I am very certain of that.

Q. Where do the indorsers live?

Sutton. They live at Leicester; I was with them both; they are Pitts, Ward, and Charles Whiteman .

George Arnold . I am a waiter at the Amsterdam-coffee-house, behind the Royal Exchange.

Q. Do you know of any bill delivered to you, in order to be carried for payment? Look upon the bill in question?

Arnold. Here is my name, George Arnold , upon the back of this, which I wrote; this is the bill; I received the money for it, of a clerk of Mess. Frame and Barclay, bankers, in Lombard-street.

Q. Of whom did you receive the bill?

Arnold. I received it of the prisoner at the bar; he directed me at the same time, to carry it, and receive the money.

Q. Were there any particular circumstances attended it? Or were there any particular directions of any sort? Or was there any particular behaviour of the person?

Arnold. The prisoner came to the Amsterdam coffee-house, about four o'clock in the afternoon, I think on the 20th of December; I was not in the coffee-room, when he came in (my mistress is an antient gentlewoman) I was down in the kitchen; my mistress called me up from dinner, and said, a gentleman wanted me; I went to the table to the prisoner at the bar, he had this bill in his hand; he asked me, if I knew Frome and Barclay's, in Lombard-street; I said, I did not know directly. He began and told me where it was, and said, Will you go and receive this bill for me of 50 l. I said, I had rather you

would send some-body else, I do not understand those bills. He said, you will have no difficulty in it, you are only to receive the money, and write your name. I went, and they asked me where I came from, I told them; they paid me the money, and I wrote upon the back of the bill, my name, and Amsterdam coffee-house. I received it all in cash, and came immediately to the coffee-house. As I was coming down the alley. I saw the prisoner at the door, and as soon as I presume he saw me, he advanced to me; he asked me if I had the money, I said yes; we immediately went into the coffee-room, and I delivered the money to him.

Q. Look upon the prisoner, are you sure you know him?

Arnold. I am certain the prisoner is the man.

Q. Had you ever seen him before?

Arnold. I had one day before, and know him particularly well.

Q. Did you see him after that?

Arnold. I did, he came to our house afterwards.

Q. How soon after you went and brought him the money?

Arnold. About six or eight days after, he called me to him, and said, if any person came there, and asked him any questions about the bill, I was to tell them, I received it of a fat, lusty, broad-shoulder'd gentleman. [Note, The prisoner was the reverse.]

Q. Are you certain to the number of days it was after you paid him the money?

Arnold. I am not certain, but I believe it was about six or eight days after that.

Q. What reply did you make him?

Arnold. I do not recollect that I made him any reply at all; but immediately I went away, having some suspicion it was not right.

The bill read, to this purport.

Directed to Mr. John Price , Bush-lane Cannon street, London.

Leicester, 17 Oct. 1760.

Two months after date, pay Mess. Pitts, Ward, and Co. or order, 50 l. value received, for Mr. Thomas Powser, as advice, by Sir,

Your Humble Servant, Benj Sutton .

50 l. 0 s. 0 d. Accepted per John Price .

On the back, Mess. Freame and Barclay, pray pay this bill.

Counsel. This was a direction on the back to the evidence, in order for him to go and carry the bill.

Cross Examination.

Q. When was it you saw the prisoner, before he brought the bill to you?

Arnold. It was the day before he brought the bill, in December last.

Q. You say, he came about four in the afternoon; were the candles lighted at that time?

Arnold. I do not say it was absolutely four; I believe we lighted candles soon after he was gone; it was near dusk.

Counsel. We shall next prove, that Mess. Freame and Barclay, upon the bill being tendered with Mr. Price's acceptance upon it, paid the bill to the person that brought it.

Ambrose Benning . On the 20th of December, 1760, I paid 50 l. for Mr. Price, on a bill; I cannot take upon me to say, I know the bill; I know I paid nothing else that day upon his credit.

Q. Where did you pay it?

Benning. I paid it at Freame and Barclay's, I am clerk there; I paid it by the direction of Mr. Price, upon the back of it.

Q. Does Mr. Price keep cash at your house?

Benning. He does.

Q. Do you know the witness Arnold?

Benning. No.

Q. Do not you make a mark upon a bill in order to show who paid it?

Benning. No, Sir, but I chiefly pay all, if it is in paid money.

Q. to Arnold. Do you know this witness?

Arnold. I think I saw him that day, but I cannot take upon me to say who paid me; but some-body did pay me there.

Q. to Benning. Do you know this man Arnold?

Benning. I cannot take upon me to swear I do.

Q. Look at the back of the bill, see if you know to whom it was paid?

Benning. I see it is witnessed George Arnold , undoubtedly it was paid to George Arnold .

Q. to Arnold. Look at this note again; who wrote the name George Arnold , and Amsterdam-coffee-house?

Arnold. I did, it is my writing.

Q. from Prisoner to Arnold. What time of the day do you say I came to you with the bill?

Arnold. I think it was about four o'clock.

Q. from Prisoner. What light was there in the alley, that you could distinctly see I was the man; I do declare I never was in your house; consider young man what what you have done, it is upon life and death?

Arnold. I am certain of the prisoner's person.

Q. What time of the day was it he came to you, to describe him as a thick person?

Arnold. I do not remember the time of the day; but I think it was in the afternoon, not late; but I am certain he is the man, I am confident of that; and that he is the man that came afterwards, and desired me to describe him, as a lusty sat man.

Q. from Prisoner. Upon your oath, how long did I stay with you, when I came, as you say, a second time?

Arnold. I am certain I know the prisoner, I saw him three times in the coffee room, he staid with me out a very little time.

Prisoner. Was I upon m oath now, as I am upon life and death, I can safely swear, I do not know where the Amsterdam coffee-house stands; I never was in it in my life.

Q. from Prisoner. Were there any people in the coffee-room, when you say I was there?

Arnold. It was not very full of people; there were scarce any gentlemen there at the time.

Prisoner. You are a good painter, to take people off to swear plumply to me now; and when you came into Newgate to me, you was asked by Mr. Price's clerk, if you knew that person; you look'd at me and said, you thought I was the person; and trembled as if you was afraid of speaking to me, and said, you must swear to me.

Arnold. I was not afraid, nor had I any occasion to speak to the prisoner.

Q. from Prisoner. By what means could you distinct, know I was the person, when you had never saw me for 10 months, by you own account.

Arnold. I saw the prisoner within six or eight days after he delivered me the bill.

Q. from Prisoner. What hour of the day was it, that I came as you say to you a second time?

Arnold. I cannot particularly say the hour, but I knew then the prisoner was the same person that I delivered the money to.

Q. from Prisoner. Did you pick me out in Newgate, or was I described to you by Mr. Price's clerk?

Arnold. He was not described to me at all, I knew him as soon as I saw him in Newgate.

Prisoner. You was five minutes looking at me before you spoke.

Arnold. Mr. Price's clerk is in court, he can give an account of the matter.

Prisoner's Defence.

In the first place, my lord, I should be glad to know my prosecutor. Mr. Price, are you my prosecutor?

Court. This is a prosecution at the suit of the public, in order to bring to justice every body guilty of these offences; it is immaterial who it is.

Prisoner. Mess. Freame and Barclay being the aggrieved persons, I do not find their names on the bill of indictment.

Court. The first account in the indictment is laid for publishing a false bill of exchange with intend to defraud John Price . The second for publishing an acceptance of John Price, with intention to defraud John Price . The third for publishing an acceptance of John Price , with intention to defraud Mess. Freame and Barclay. And the fourth for publishing an order of John Price 's, with intention to defraud John Price . And the fifth account with intention to defraud Mess. Freame and Barclay.

Prisoner. I should imagine Freame and Barclay were prosecutors, and not or Mr. Price.

Court. You have made that an objection, which is none at all.

Prisoner. I have known Mr. Price, in hurry of business, direct a bill to be paid; and I have asked him two hours afterwards, and he has not recollected he has directed such a bill at all; and if there is Mr. Price's direction on the back of the bill. I should apprehend it is his handwriting, and not mine. May it please your lordship, has there any circumstance appeared yet that I forged the bill?

Counsel. You are not indicted for that; you are indicted for uttering a bill, knowing it to have been forged.

Prisoner. In my servi ude to Mr. Price, I paid, I can justly say, three thousand bills of Mr. Price's; so that it is reasonable to suppose I knew Mr. Sutton's hand-writing; but this bill I am ignorant of, it is the 10 l. bill that I am to be tried upon. All of them, for three years past,

have come without any advice. Such a number of bills coming through his hands, there may be a number of errors. He himself has made errors while I was there, and I have convinced Mr. Sutton of the same. I am of opinion the bills are not forged at all. Mr. Sutton draws 2000 l. in a year, and many have come without advice, by letter. If he would examine into the affair, he would find the errors out. I can plead in behalf of those circumstances my own innocency, and beg the gentlemen will pass an impartial sentence. The bill is my drawing, neither did I utter it. I was a close prisoner from the 3d of December, 1760, in the King's-bench prison, and continued there 'till February.

Q. to Price. How long had the prisoner lived with you?

Price. He lived with me four years.

For the Prisoner.

Richard Hughes . I have known the prisoner, I believe, three quarters of a year; I cannot be certain to the time, but I know it is a long time before Christmas.

Q. How long before?

Hughes. It may be three or four months before; I have seen him once or twice before he came to the King's-bench; that was some time before Christmas, but I cannot be certain how long.

Q. Was you a prisoner there?

Hughes. I was.

Q. Was it a week before Christmas?

Hughes. If I speak to the best of my knowledge, I really believe it was some time more than a week before; I was a prisoner there twelve months before.

Q. Can you be positive you knew him there a week before Christmas?

Hughes. I cannot; I did not know that I should be called upon, otherwise I could have enquired. Upon my oath, to the best of my knowledge, I do think it was a week before Christmas. I cannot take upon me to say positively; I could as well think two weeks as one, but cannot be positive. I think he went away a little before March, and I believe he was a prisoner there full two months.

Q. Was not you at all apprized of being a witness 'till to-day?

Hughes. I was not upon my oath.

Q. What time did you know you was to be a witness?

Hughes. Never, 'till the prisoner now called upon me.

Q. Was you never with him in prison?

Hughes. I was two or three times.

Q. How long ago?

Hughes. Two or three months ago; I called with a friend or two to drink a glass of wine with him.

Q. Was he a prisoner within the walls, or not?

Hughes. To the best of my knowledge he was a prisoner within the walls.

Q. Had you the rules?

Hughes. I had.

Q. Had he the rules, or not?

Hughes. I think he had not; I was then very intimate with him, and was often, and frequently, with him.

Q. How comes it you cannot with certainty tell whether he had the rules or not?

Hughes. We that were in prison had some sort of indulgence from the marshal to go out, and see a friend or so..

Q. Was the prisoner in execution?

Hughes. I cannot take upon me to say he was; I saw him within the walls often, and frequently he lodged with Mr. Champion, who is there now; he is a bankrupt, and cannot be discharged.

Q. Has he never desired you to recollect yourself, to remember when you saw him in the King's-bench?

Hughes. Upon my oath never; he never proposed any such thing to me in his life.

Jos. George Holeman . I am positive I saw the prisoner in the King's-bench before Christmas last.

Q. Was you a prisoner there?

Holeman. No, I went as an acquaintance, to see Mr. Lee; I saw him before Christmas, and after Christmas, and between whiles, and never saw him out.

Richard Elstone . I did not come here to give the man a character, only I have a prisoner here. He was an inside prisoner at the King's-bench; he was there about last Christmas; I cannot take upon me to say what time; I remember the man.

Q. Can you take upon you to say it was before last Christmas?

Elstone. I cannot, I know it was about that time.

Thomas Philips . I know the prisoner by being a prisoner in the King's-bench in December last.

Q. What time in December?

Philips. I cannot take upon me to say what time in particular; I know he was there in the middle of December, it was extream cold weather.

Q. What time in December?

Philips. I believe it might be, perhaps, the 10th of December.

Q. Was he a close prisoner within the Bench?

Philips. He was.

Q. How long did he continue there?

Philips. I cannot take upon me to say how long; I cannot take upon me to say the day of the month in particular; I know I saw him after Christmas a close prisoner within the walls.

Q. to Elstone. Are the prisoners ever allowed to go out of prison?

Elstone. No, not unless in term-time, the turnkey would let them out into the rules.

Q. Will they let them go out of the rules?

Elstone. No, not unless it be term-time; but I cannot take upon me to say what is done there; I only go over with a prisoner, and deliver him there.

Q. Are the prisoners within the walls by the marshal permitted to go out into the rules?

Elstone. That is to take a walk for an airing; I have known a prisoner taken out, and a bond has been given for him on the Sunday; I have been with them, but then they have been taken no farther than the rules; if I do, I am fixed with the debt.

Q. Whether the marshal lets them go out of the walls of the goal into the rules?

Elstone. No, I told you the turnkey does it, but not with the consent of the marshal.

Q. The question is plain, Whether the prisoners are suffered to go out of the King's-bench into the rules?

Elstone. Yes.

Q. Have you seen it done?

Elstone. I have.

Q. What to let the prisoners out upon their request?

Elstone. I think I have seen them let out, but upon what account I cannot say.

Q. If a man is suffered to go out into the rules, has he not an opportunity to go over the bridge to Lombard-street?

Elstone. It is possible.

John Brooks . I have known the prisoner at the bar from an infant; I was born at Spalding, a neighbour of his father's, and knew him 'till he was 13 or fourteen years old there. He was as sober and well-behaved a youth, as any lad in town, and his father brought him up with the greatest virtue. I have known him since he lived with Mr. Price, I never was there, I have met him in the street.

Q. What is his general character?

Brooks. ' Till this time his character has been as good as any youth in London.

William Allen . I have known him about ten or a dozen years, he has a very good character; he has been at my house, and lived there with me; was he to be discharged, I would employ him again.

John Earle . I have known him about three years, and never knew any thing amiss of him 'till this affair.

William James . I have known him ever since he was a child, and his family an honest reputeable family; I never knew any harm of him, nor heard any before this.

For the crown.

Richard Absolom . I know the prisoner at the bar.

Q. Look at this paper, is this your handwriting? [He takes it in his hand.]

Absolom. Yes, it is.

Q. Look on the other side of it, did you ever see the prisoner, where, and when?

Absolom. He came to me at the Cock-alehouse, at the corner of Sherborne-lane, on the 20th of December, and delivered this note into my hand.

Counsel. This is a 10 l. bill.

Q. Why do you know it was the 20th of December?

Absolom. Because when I go upon these affairs, I generally make a memorandum; this was to receive some money of Mr. John Price , for him, and I received it in the name of one Welden; the prisoner at the bar ordered me to go, and receive it.

Guilty Death .


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