JOHN CANNON, Theft > grand larceny, 13th January 1790.

Reference Number: t17900113-82
Offence: Theft > grand larceny
Verdict: Guilty > with recommendation
Punishment: Miscellaneous > fine; Imprisonment

206. JOHN CANNON was indicted for stealing, on the 9th of January , two quires of writing paper, value 3 d. three pounds weight of refined sugar, value 2 d. one pound of coffee, value 6 d. one stone pot, value 1 d. a quantity of raspberry jam, value 1 d. a quart glass bottle, value 1 d. one printed bound book, in quarto, entitled the London Cook, value 3 d. one other ditto, value 3 d. one other ditto, value 3 d. one base metal watch key, value 1 d. one yard of thread lace, value 4 d. one thimble, value 2 d. one iron register stove winder, with a wooden handle, value 6 d. the property of Edward Strong , Gent.

EDWARD STRONG , Esq; sworn.

I live in Great Ormond-street ; the prisoner was my butler , and his wife cook, two or three years; I had missed stores, but could not fix on what servant; my suspicion rather increased; but before I could fix on any body; the wife of the prisoner was discharged, being near her time, and she took all her trunks and boxes with her; soon after this, I received some intimation to suspect the prisoner, and I lay by some few days, to see if I could detect the butler taking any thing out of the house; I could not do that, and on Saturday, the 9th of this month, after supper, and the butler came up to clear his table; I told him I apprehended I had entertained by far, too good an opinion of him, and that I had good reason to suppose I had lost a good many stores, and a great deal of wine, and that I had every reason in the world to suspect that he and his wife were the thieves; he denied ever having robbed me; we were alone in the parlour, and I put the question to him two or three times; he still persisted in his innocence; I then told him I must search his private drawers, and his boxes, and his pantry, to convince me of his innocence; which he said, I might very readily do; I immediately went down with him into his pantry: nobody was there, but him, me, and the foot-boy, Thomas Newton ; I desired the boy to hold the candle, and ordered the butler to open his drawers, and unpack his boxes; he then unlocked three drawers; in the first I found two or three quires of writing paper in a leather case; I examined the paper, and looked at it, and asked him if it was his; he made me no answer; I repeated the same question two or three times; he then said it was mine; I said, if that be the case, I shall certainly take it; it was office paper; the next thing I found, was the top of a loaf of double refined sugar, about one pound; (I had made him no promise or threats at all) I asked him whose that was; I was obliged to put the question to him again, once or twice, and then he said, it was mine; I said, then I shall certainly take it, which I did: the next thing I found, was a paper bag of sugar tied up, and broke very small for use; I asked him whose that was; he said it was mine and I put it on one side: the next thing was a whole pound of coffee, as it came from the grocer's, with his paper and string on it; I asked him who that belonged to; he said, it was mine; and I put it also on one side: searching further I found another parcel of sugar broke, of the same quality as the other that was in the bag; I also found a bottle of flour of mustard, as it came from the shop; I then found a brush, which the other servant claimed: I then asked him how he could be such an ungrateful fellow; and he asked for mercy: I believe I said; I fear you have a halter about your neck, it depends on me, whether I shall pull it tight or not; that was all the answer I made him; I then pursued my search, and I found some books in one of his boxes; I did not claim them that night; I then found a key with two wards, one at each end; he said it was a park key; it did not strike me as a thing of any consequence, and I put it back: in another box amongst his clothes, I found a pot of raspberry jam; he said that was mine; then I told him, he could not think of staying in my house, but he must have his plate and every thing ready in the morning, and what I should do with him,

I did not know, and I ordered him and the boy to bed; accordingly in the morning when I came down, my son looked over the plate while I was in the room, and agreeable to the inventory we found it right; but having suspicion I had lost wine, it occurred to me that I would try this key, and I insisted on his unpacking his things, which he had packed all up and corded, and I took out the three books in the indictment, two of which had my own hand writing in, but the law book had not; I cannot say whether they were the books over night, but I remember seeing the law book over night; for I asked him if he had been studying the law; he said those three books were mine, and I had the key tried, and it opened my wine cellar: I saw the evening before, a winder wrapped up in paper, in one or other of his boxes; he had three or four boxes; he told me the over night, when I asked him what it was with some suspicion; that it was a winder of a clock of his in Gravel-lane; in the morning I took it out, and said, surely, this is the winder of a register stove, and he said it was mine; I tried it with a new stove up stairs, and it fitted exactly: my son took out this little silver thing from one of his boxes; it is a silver wax-light; it does not belong to me, but in the inside, was a silver top of a cork, with ring marked brandy; I asked him whose that was; he said it was mine; then we found in his box, a silver thimble, and a bit of thread lace, wrapped up carefully in a bit of paper, about a yard of very narrow mecklin lace, they were both claimed by my daughter, and he said were mine, and once or twice more he hoped for mercy; I made him no sort of promise; but then I was very well satisfied who plundered me, but that I had not yet made up my mind, whether I should go to Bow-steet, or not; but that he should call of me on Wednesday, (this was Sunday morning); I asked him if he wanted any money, and I gave him seven guineas on account, and he left my house directly: after he was gone, on enquiry I was more dissatisfied, and thought it was a debt I owed the public to prosecute him: on the Wednesday morning about twelve, he came to my office, and I had then one of the Bow-street people to take him, and he was taken into custody; the property has been in my possession and my servant's, from me to him, and from him to me; in fact, it has been in my possession ever since.

(The property produced: the two books deposed to, having the prosecutor's hand writing in each.

Mr. Garrow Prisoner's Counsel. Had you any house-keeper in your family? - No.

Who was the proper person to have the custody of your stores? - The stores that had been in general in care of the butler; were such as oil and vinegar, and mustard, and those kind of things; but not sugar, because the sugar is in general hung up in the kitchen, and is delivered to the butler for the purpose of breaking it only.

He said they were your property? - Yes.

Many of them, for instance, a loaf of sugar, if delivered to him to break, might have remained in his possession without much hurt? - Yes.

I suppose those two books had been delivered to the cook, to assist her in the kitchen? - They had.

That cook was the prisoner's wife, and was gone to lay in? - Yes.

Was she expected to return? - Yes, because she was so good a servant.

Those two books which had been delivered to the cook for her use in the management of the kitchen, were found in in the custody of the butler, locked up in some drawers belonging to her, in his care? - They were packed up in the morning; but over night they were in the drawer.

He came according to your promise on the Wednesday? - He did so.

You charged him at first, I believe, with petty larcency, in taking a ready dressed fowl? - I meant only to indict him for a petty larceny.

Do you happen to know whether this is,

or is not a key of the park? - I do not know.

Mr. Garrow. I can prove it is.

I believe you sent to him since, to pay him his wages, which he refused to receive? - Yes, I did.

There had been no warning given him? - No, the cook had been pressed to return, and refused it; they were going to set up in a shop.

ALEXANDER STRONG , jun. sworn.

I was present at the search, on the Sunday morning, when the boxes were unpacked, and I picked out the three books, and I knew the confectionary and the cookery books, by the writing in them; having seen them before; the prisoner said they belonged to my father, and the winder he also said belonged to my father; and says he, what I told you belonged to me last night, was one for a clock, and he pulled another out of his pocket; I found the silver of a brandy label; I said, this belongs to a cork; I do not remember what he said; he said the thimble belonged to my sister; he said, he hoped Mr. Strong would not be too hard with him; Mr. Strong had made him no previous acknowledgements in my hearing.

Mr. Garrow. I should think this winder of the register stove would not be of much value to any body, but the owner of the stove? - I do not know.

It is a new stove, is not it? - Yes.

Might not it have been left in the butler's pantry? - I cannot say.

What do you think it is worth? - I do not know.

He told you without reserve what things were your father's? - Yes.

And came again on the Wednesday to have his wages paid according to appointment? - Yes.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

These stores were by my master intrusted to my care, to give out as they were wanted; he frightened me, I was not used to such treatment, and when I bundled up my things, I did not know what was there; in the morning when I unbundled them they were there; I have the man here now, that I bought the key of.

Court. I do not think the key is material.

Jury. We are convinced it is a key of the Park.

The prisoner called three witnesses who gave him a very good character.

GUILTY .

Recommended by the Jury, to be fined one shilling and imprisoned twelve months .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Baron THOMPSON .


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