Matthew James, Deception > forgery, 16th January 1765.

Reference Number: t17650116-18
Offence: Deception > forgery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

109. (L.) Matthew James was indicted for feloniously forging a bill of exchange, puporting to bear date at Hull, September 15, 1764, and to have been drawn by Robert Thorley , Christopher Thorley , and William King , merchants and partners; directed to Messrs. Rumbolt and Walker, merchants, in Liverpool, for the payment of 40 l. 12 s. to the order of James Holmes ; and for publishing the same, knowing it to have been falsely forged and counterfeited, with intent to defraud William Taylor , and also to defraud Messrs. Thorleys and King , October 17 . *

William Taylor . I come from Nottingham, and keep a manufacturing ware-house at the Swan and Two-necks, Land-lane : my servant and I have been there ever since the beginning of September: I was at an ordinary there, and the prisoner was there, and dined with us; he then went by the name of James Holmes : after the ordinary was over, some gentlemen desired I would stay and drink a glass of wine; I said, I could not stay; I had promised to lend a gentleman some money, and must go and collect some for him: I did stay, as it rained hard. After a bottle of wine or two, I went into my warehouse; after which I went out to wash my hands, where was the prisoner washing his hands; he said, Mr. Taylor, you was talking you wanted some money; I can let you have a 40 l. draught, as soon as the Dover coach comes in; I said I did not know but that might do: I staid the time; when the Dover coach came in, he opened his trunk, and took out a draught.

Q. Where does the Dover coach inn?

Taylor. It inns at the Swan and Two-necks: he gave me this draught; I found it was not indorsed: I desired him to walk into my warehouse; he did: I desired him to indorse it, he put it on my desk and indorsed it; both I and my man saw him.

Q. What is your man's name?

Taylor. His name is William Northage : upon examining it, I found it was drawn from Hull, by Messrs. Thorleys and King, to Rumbolt and Walker, of Liverpool. I then said, I did not know whether it would do, not being upon London; upon which he said, I shall want some of your goods.

Q. What way are you in?

Taylor. I am in the stocking way: I said then I would take it: there were Sir Wynn Stanley and Mr. Golitteley, both from Liverpool, in the room; I shewed it them; they said it was a good bill: I asked Sir Wynn Stanley if he could give me cash for it; he said, it was not convenient for him, for they lodged all their money at bankers in town, whom they drew upon when it became due; after that, I asked Mr. John Hanford , the landlord of the inn, if he could give me cash for it, he having connections at Liverpool; he said, he would send it for acceptance at Liverpool, and then give me the cash; I concluded so to do. A little after that the prisoner and I went into the coffee-room, to drink a little rum and water together; I then said to him, suppose this is not accepted at Liverpool: he said it was a good bill, and would be accepted; upon which, I imagined it would, and proposed giving it to Mr. Hanford, as before. Then Mr. Wright came into the room, an utter stranger to me: I was told he came from Hull; I asked him if he was brother to the Wrights of Nottingham; he said he was; they are gentlemen I well know. The prisoner went out of the coffee-room; he clap'd his hand on his head, and appeared to be sick, and said he would go and take the fresh air: I went to Mr. Wright, and asked him how he did; upon his saying he knew the prisoner not to be so good as he should be; saying, he had forged several bills; upon which I shewed him this bill: he looked on it, and told me it was a forged bill; then I did not think proper to send it to Liverpool: since that I gave it to Mr. Wright, to present to the drawers.

Q. When was that?

Taylor. I cannot say the day; it was about a month after that time: Mr. Wright delivered it to me again, with their answer: he is here to give an account. The bill read to this purport:

"Hull, September 15, 1764, at six weeks,

"pay this first bill of exchange, to the order

"of James Holmes , the sum of 40 l. 12 s.

"value received, in freight; which place to

"account of,

"Yours, Thorsleys and King.

"To Messrs. Rumbolt and Walker, merchants in Liverpool."

No. 538.

William Northage . I saw the prisoner indorse this bill of exchange, (holding it in his hand.)

Q. What are you?

Northage. I am servant to Mr. Taylor: he indorsed it at the Swan and Two-necks, in Lad-lane, on the 17th of October: he first wrote James, then he turned it over, and looked at it, and then wrote Holmes, and then gave it to my master.

Samuel Wright . I live at Hull, and am acquainted with Robert Thorley , Christopher Thorley , and William King ; they are merchants and partners.

Q. Do you know all their hand-writings?

Wright. I do, particularly well.

Q. Have you seen them all write?

Wright. I have.

Q. Do they keep any clerk?

Wright. No, they do not.

Q. Look at this bill of exchange, (he takes it in his hand,) whose hand-writing is the body of it?

Wright. This is neither of their hand-writing.

Q. Look at the names Thorleys and King.

Wright. I am very well satisfied these names are not their hand-writing: they have not been long in partnership.

Q. Was you present when the prisoner was apprehended?

Wright. I was: I think it was the 17th of October last: he was searched; he had, at least, upon him one hundred and fifty of these checks *, (producing eight or ten of them) and two bills ready filled up, in his pocket-book: I seeing him at the Swan and Two-necks, in Lad-lane, gave Mr. Taylor to understand he was a bad man, so he was taken up.

* Note, A check is the end of a draught, marbled or flourished, so as totally with the book it is cut out of.

Prisoner's Defence.

I never offered that bill to him: I never had or saw the bill: if Messrs. Thorleys and King were here, I do not think they would swear that is not their hand-writing: but I know nothing of it.

Guilty . Death .

See him tried, No. 3. in the last Sessions-Paper.


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