SAMUEL ROBERTS, THOMAS BACCHUS, Royal Offences > coining offences, 29th April 1772.

Reference Number: t17720429-59
Offence: Royal Offences > coining offences
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

381, 382. (1st. M.) SAMUEL ROBERTS and THOMAS BACCHUS were indicted for falsely, feloniously, and traiterously forging, counterfeiting, and coining one piece of false, and counterfeit money, to the likeness and similitude of the good legal and current money, and gold coin of this realm called a guinea, against the duty of their allegiance, and against the statute .

The 2d Count for coining a half guinea.

3d Count for coining a quarter guinea. Oct. 30th . *

The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoners.

John Hall . I am a carpenter at Marybone; I receive Mr. Meake's rents there; I had the list of his tenants; among them was the name of Roberts, in Conway Court; Patten lived in one house, Robert's in the next; I saw Mr. Patten's wife every time I called, she told me Mr. Roberts lived at next door; I called several times and found nobody at home; I saw a little wooden place erected in the back yard; at last I got over Mr. Patten's wall into the yard; I took a board of the shed down, and I saw an iron machine there; this was some day in November last; it seemed to be dug about two feet into the ground; the building was about five feet square and nine feet high. I ordered a person there to let me know if any thing should be attempted to be moved, that I might seize for the rent; he came and informed me that the machine was about to be taken away; I went to the house; it was in the evening; I saw some of Ripley's the broker's men moving the machine into a cart; I asked them who they belonged to; they said one Ripley at Clerkenwell; I said they must put it back till the rent was paid; I broke into the front parlour, and in one corner of the closet I found these pieces of metal (producing some pieces of flated copper.) I left a man in possession.

Q. How much rent was due?

Hall. Three pounds ten; the premises were a dwelling house and a little yard; this shed was erected by himself. My brother brought me some bad money that he found there, and I gave information of it to Sir John Fielding the morning after.

George Wiggan . Roberts took a house of me in Conway Court, Marybone, which belonged to Mr. Meake; Roberts lived in it about a quarter of a year; I lived next door to him at that time; I let it him in the last spring, he agreed with me for three years certain.

Q. How long did he live in it?

Wiggan. I believe two or three months; I don't know the exact time when he went away; it was about six weeks after Midsummer; he was to commence rent at Midsummer, but he came in before quarter day.

Roberts. I was to have the house on trial till quarter day, then to have it three years certain if I liked it; when I came to it having a great family, and no water laid on, I did not like it; and Mr. Wiggan brought the agreement to me, and I would not sign it.

Q. How long did he stay in the house after he said he would consider of it?

Roberts. Six weeks or two months.

Cross Examination.

Q. Was there any agreement drawn up, and tendered to him to sign?

Wiggan. Yes.

Q. What reason did he give for not signing it?

Wiggan. He did not give any; he said there was some odd things to be done; I don't remember that he mentioned the water.

Q. How do you know he staid any time after that in the house?

Wiggan. I saw him there a month after Midsummer.

Samuel Hall. I lived with my brother John Hall; he sent me to this house to move some things in the parlour; I saw the engine there, and I found several pieces of money in the closets of that house, in three different closets; I gave them to my brother (produced by John Hall) some stuck under the shelf, and some were wrapped up in pieces of paper.

Cross Examination.

Q. Was any body with you when you found them?

Hall. Only the man that was in possession, he is not here. There are thirteen guineas and a half; I found one on the first closet over night; the next morning I found two pieces in the first floor, and the rest were in a piece of paper on the two pair of stairs; they were sticking in the lime under the shelf. The first I had I paid to Mr. Snow; I did not know but it was good money; it was returned back to my brother next day; I took it for a good piece, and paid it away. The two I found next morning, the yellow of them was a little wore off, and they appeared whitish. I went into the country at Christmas, therefore delivered them to my brother.

Council for the Crown. Do you recollect how many days it was after the engine was stopped before you found this counterfeit money?

Hall. I don't know.

John Hall. They were found the next morning.

John Ripley . I am a broker; Roberts came to my house in Castle Street, Turnmill Street, Clerkenwell, and offered to sell me a stamp, which he said he had bought to let out to a man; I asked him what it worked at; he said he did not understand it, but the man paid him so much per week for the use of it; he said it was in Conway Court, Marybone. He came by another time and said he had sold it to another man, and had received a guinea earnest for it; about a fortnight after that he called upon me again, and told me the man had not fetched it away, and so had forfeited his guinea; he said he would leave the key of the out door, and I might go and see it at any time, when it happened to suit me; as I said I could not go then, he left me the key; I went to the house one day and looked at it; it was I believe in November. I found the number according to his direction; the house was shut up, so I enquired at the next door, if that house belonged to one Roberts, they told me it did, and I opened the door with the key; I went backwards into a little shed, and the machine was fixed in the ground; I suppose there are hundreds of them used in London in different businesses. I locked the door and went home; I sent him word, I think it was to Bull-and-Mouth Street, that I would give him so much money for it; he came next morning and told me, I might fetch it away; I was to give him 5 l. or five guineas for it; I sent my men to take it down, I think on Saturday; my men worked there all day. I was sent for next day to Sir John Fielding 's, and informed him where the prisoner lodged.

Cross Examination.

Q. You say these sort of presses are used in a great many businesses; in what trades are they used?

Ripley. In the copper plate trade; in the silver trade, and a good many other different branches.

John Clarke . Hall came to Sir John Fieldings , I think on the 30th of November, and said he had stopt a press belonging to Roberts, and that he suspected him to be a coiner; for that in searching the house they had found some counterfeit money; he said Roberts was off, but we might find him by applying to Ripley; I went to Ripley's house, and after some discourse I told him my business; we went up to Roberts's house at Marybone; there I saw the stamp; I desired Mr. Hall the rent-gatherer, to put his mark upon it, that he might know it again; which he did. We took the stamp to Ripley's, and he sent to Roberts to fetch the money; I attended with some others there, from seven o'clock till almost eleven; Roberts's wife sent word that he was not at home, but she would send him if he came home in time, if not next morning. I went with three men early next morning to Roberts's when the milk man came we got into the house; I fixed Taylor and Phillips at the door; I sent Broadhurst up stairs, I staid below. In the beauset in the parlour I found a blank die; in the cellar, this puncheon in a basket. I then went into the garret, there I found a furnace for melting, with skillets and tongs; that is what the castors use to run their metal in; I found some crucibles, a pair of flasks for casting some gilding wax, what is used in gilding, and here is what we call colour for gilding; after having gilt the metal they put this upon it; it is to turn any thing that is gilt of a more yellow colour; here is what they call cast metal, it is harder than iron, it is what the Bath stoves are made of; it is almost as hard as steel (producing the several articles.)

Q. Is Roberts a lodger in the house? did you see any other family there?

Clarke. I saw another family in the two pair of stairs; Roberts was a bed in the dining room. Mr. Patten was apprehended on the 16th of November; and he gave information of several people concerned with him in making of money; among them Bacchus was one; he lived in Cross Street, Hatton Garden; I went there and he was out; I saw his wife, and I told her I must search the house, which I did, and I found these little bits of metal and a file (producing them); the teeth of the file appear as if it had been filing bad silver. I waited three hours there before he came home; I asked him how he did; he answered, you have got the advantage of me; I said I wondered at that; then I told him there was an information before Sir John Fielding against him for coining; I told him if he behaved like a gentleman, I would not tie him; he said he would. I told him I must search him; I took a letter out of his waistcoat pocket; whilst I was opening the letter, he snatched it out of my hand; I thought the letter must be of some consequence; I seized him by the collar and took it away from him again. I took the keys out of his pocket and opened his bureau.

Q. What did he say when you took the letter from him again?

Clarke. He said nothing but that he would behave well. I took him to the bureau side, and made him stand by me whilst I opened it; there I found these counterfeit 5 s. 3 d. (producing them) one is quite finished, one half finished, some of them are crooked: I gave Mr. Chamberlayne one that was finished; I put them in my pocket, and said, Mr. Bacchus, I must take them; he said you may, I found them in the street. I also found some silings wrapped up with the counterfeit money; it appears to be metal and silver mixed.

William Taylor . I was with Mr. Clarke and Mr. Phillips at the apprehending of Roberts, it was about nine o'clock on Sunday morning; he opened the room door, I told him I had a warrant against him for coining money; he said he was sorry for it, for he never was taken at a poorer time than he was then, for he had no money scarce about him; Mr. Phillips and I searched him: Phillips took a piece of counterfeit money out of his pocket wrapped up in paper.

Q. Did he say any thing when these things were taken out of his pocket?

Taylor. Nothing particular that I remember.

Percival Phillips . I was at the taking Roberts; he was in the one pair of stairs room; he opened the door in his breeches; after I stood there sometime, I told him I had a warrant against him for making money; he swore and said something, that this was the second or third time he had been hobbled on a Sunday morning; I searched him, and in his fob pocket I found this 5 s. 3 d. (producing a counterfeit quarter guinea) and I found this (producing a bubb) it fits a 5 s. 3 d. exactly.

Thomas Patten . I am a buckle-maker; I have known Roberts about fifteen months; he was a baker , as I have heard him say. I have known Bacchus about twelve months.

Q. What trade is Bacchus?

Patten. I don't know. Roberts lived somewhere

where in the borough when I first knew him, and followed the business of a baker; Roberts, Bacchus, myself and several others coined money there at Conway Court.

Council. Give an account of the manner of coining.

Patten. We used to press them.

Q. Did you use any other instrument for coining besides a press?

Patten. No; I lived next door to Roberts's house at Marybone. I did not then know where Roberts lived.

Q. What time did you coin?

Patten. We used to work in the day time.

Q. Was the house open in the day time?

Patten. Yes; the press stood in a shed in the yard; we cut them out of flated metal, with a bed and punch; a bed with a hole and a punch to fit it, then we strike the impression with the press.

Q. What sort of metal did you use?

Patten. Sometimes metal, sometimes pinchbeck, sometimes silver, and sometimes silver and gold.

Q. How were they disposed of; were any orders given to make them?

Patten. Not to my knowledge.

Q. What proportion did they bear to the real value?

Patten. I cannot say.

Q. In what manner did you make them represent the genuine money?

Patten. We gilt them that were of silver.

Q. How long did you continue making money?

Patten. About a twelve-month.

Q. All at Marybone?

Patten. No; we milled the edges with a double tool with nicks.

Q. What use do you make of this tool that has been produced?

Patten. We call it a hubb; we use it to sink the impression in the dye; I have helped to make dyes with them.

Q. Have you ever seen either of the prisoners assist in making dyes?

Patten. I cannot say.

Q. If you don't know how they disposed of the counterfeit money, what profit had you?

Patten. So much in the pound.

Q. How much?

Patten. We had different prices according to the size of the pieces: we were paid by Roberts, and sometimes Bacchus's father.

Q. Have you seen Bacchus's as well as Roberts's coin?

Patten. Yes; I have seen them coin half and quarter guineas; I have seen Roberts coin guineas, but not Bacchus.

Q. Have you seen the stamp of a guinea stamped by them, upon any piece of metal?

Patten. I have seen Bacchus assisting, and I have seen Roberts turn the fly, to assist in stamping; I have seen Bacchus make half guineas in the same manner, at Marybone; the counterfeit money that has been produced in court, is like that we made.

Q. Have you seen them coin at any other place?

Patten. Yes; in Bull-and-mouth Street, at Roberts's.

Q. Who were concerned in coining there?

Patten. Cooper, Bacchus the father, the prisoner, Fuller and myself.

Q. Have you seen that press?

Patten. It was such a press as this we joined with, it being now taken to pieces; I cannot say whether it is the same.

Hall. This is the press that came from Roberts's; I set my mark upon several parts of it.

Cross Examination.

Q. When did you first give information against the prisoner?

Patten. When I was taken before Sir John Fielding .

Q. When did they coin at Marybone?

Patten. About June or July last.

Q. What part did you take?

Patten. Every thing in my turn.

Q. What kind of assistance did Bacchus give?

Patten. He edged and milled them.

Q. from Roberts. What part did I do in coining?

Patten. I have seen him help to stamp, to edge, and mill the guineas.

Mr. Yeo. I am an engraver in the mint.

Q. Can that hobb be made use of in the business of coining?

Yeo. This is the cast of an half guinea; the guinea is first moulded in sand, and in that mold they cast these of steel or iron, which has made the impression, being of a very hard metal; it is capable of making an impression in soft metal, that is the method we make dyes, ours are made stronger; but this will make the same impression.

Q. Can you guess any other use it can be put to?

Yeo. None that I know of.

Mr. Chamberlayne. I delivered Mr. Alehorne a piece of money that I had of Clarke.

Mr. Stanesby Alchorne. I am assay-master in the mint; I received from Mr. Chamberlayne on the last of December, a counterfeit piece of money, resembling a quarter guinea, which in consequence of my office he desired me t o try, in order to discover what it was made of, and what it was worth. Upon examination it was found to weigh 26 grains only.

Q. How much is that below the real weight?

Alchorne. Six grains. The surface appeared gilded, and on cutting, it looked silvery; on proper trial it was found to contain of fine gold seven grains, fine silver near fifteen grains, base metal above four grains; the value of the gold and silver together may be worth 16 d. or 17 d. and the piece was so well executed that it might easily have been imposed on any common observer for five shillings, and three pence.

Prisoners Council. None of the guineas were milled I believe.

Alchorne. No, none; the half guineas were and very well milled too.

The letter produced by Clarke, which he found in Bacchus's pocket, read, which is as follows,

Directed for Mr Backhouse at the Crown & horse shoe Holborn opposite Hatton Garden London

Grantham Novr. 11. 1771.

Sir

Please to send me 4 pounds worth of Quarters four for one let them be bent or they will not do & please to send me four pounds worth halfs three for one let them be of the sort that you & I made agreement of when I was at your house & let them be according to our agreement or else I will never deal with no more I am the man that You bought the Silk for a Gown & send them to Bawtree Yorksire by first Coach to the Anchor for John Brockleburst send them soon enough to be there at Old Martlemass day which is in abt weeks time send them to pay on delivery if the Coach will take them and if it will not I will send you a bill don't fail sending them.

Council for the prisoner. The post mark on that letter is the 21st of November.

Q. to Mr. Parkins. What is the mark upon that letter, and where was it made?

Mr. Parkins. It was made at the General Post Office, Lombard Street; the figures are not very visible; I rather suppose it to be the 18th of November.

Roberts's Defence.

The house in Bull-and-Mouth Street is not my house; there is nothing in it mine, but my goods; the first and second floor only belonged to me; the other house was let on the 23rd or 29th of May, I am not certain which.

Bacchus's Defence.

That letter is a planned thing to bring me into trouble; I don't know who it came from.

Roberts. This engine belonged to one Cooper; I had orders to sell it to Mr. Bowyer, a button-maker in Moorfields. I am a baker by trade; I know nothing about making money, they have done it among themselves and want to throw it upon me.

For Roberts.

Wm. Bowyer . I am a button-maker; I believe I have seen that engine before Roberts had it; it belonged to one Richardson; Cooper and Roberts came to me about last Michaelmas and offered to sell it me.

Q. Who did it belong to?

Bowyer. I believe not any body in particular; the key was left with me a fortnight; I went to a house somewhere in Marybone, I don't recollect the direction, to see it.

Q. Had you the key of Roberts?

Bowyer. No, he had it of me.

John Swan . I am a blacksmith.

Q. Will that cast-iron make a dye?

Swan. No; it would break with the smallest knock; it would not bear to make an impression.

Q. Will that make a dye on hot iron?

Swan. No; I am sure it would not, it would break to pieces; if it was pressed down with a screw it would fly in pieces.

Q. If it was put on a piece of hot iron and worked with a screw, would it bear to be pressed upon?

Swan. I never tried it; I cannot say I know; it would not bear to be hit at all.

George Lane. I live in the maze; I am a brewer's servant; I have known Roberts two years; I owed him 2 s. 9 d. we went to the Rosemary-Branch

in Rosemary Lane, and I paid him: he bought there a pair of breeches, and put them on; I said I think the breeches fit you very well; he said I think they do.

Q. Do you know whether any thing was found in the breeches?

Lane. No; I cannot tell.

Q. Were they new?

Lane. No; second-hand.

"He also called William Hayes , who had

"known him two years; William Taylor who

"had known him four or five years, and Sarah

"Robinson above twenty years; who all gave

"him a good character."

"Bacchus called George Hunsworth who

"had known him four years; William Burling

"nine months; Samuel Harris eighteen months;

" William Stow eight or nine months; and

" Thomas Smith eighteen months, who all gave

"him a good character.

Both Guilty . Death .


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