Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 23 October 2014), June 1813, trial of PETER BROWN (t18130602-146).

PETER BROWN, Theft > receiving, 2nd June 1813.

662. PETER BROWN was indicted for feloniously receiving one hundred and fifty-two books, value 76 l. five sets of the Abbey Church of St. Peter, Westminster, value 16 l and two sets of the Microcosm of London, value 2 l. the property of Rudolph Akerman , whereof Thomas Sutherland has confessed himself guilty of stealing .

RUDOLPH AKERMAN . I am a printseller in the Strand,

Q. Did you publish the History of Westminster Abbey - A. I did, and the Microcosm of London.

Q. At what price were these books selling lately - A. The Microcosm at thirteen guineas, and the History of Westminster Abbey fifteen pounds. I have lost a great many of them. Sutherland is an artist. Hankey was my foreman; he has absconded.

THOMAS SUTHERLAND . Q. You are an artist in the employ of Mr. Akerman - A. Yes.

Q. Did you sell the prisoner Brown any sets of Westminster Abbey and Microcosm of London which you had taken away from Mr. Akerman - A. Yes, about five sets of Westminster Abbey; the first two sets at five pound each, and the others at four pound ten shillings. I swear positively to having sold from seven to ten sets; seven I am sure I have sold. The Microcosm was the same price, and about three sets at four pound ten shillings. I am sure I am speaking within compass of the number. I received money and goods both for them; the goods were furniture and birds. The agreement was to take part money and part goods.

Q. How long have you known the prisoner - A. From ten to twelve years; he has carried on the business of a green-grocet, print and picture dealer; his house is in Crown-street, Soho. The application for dealing in this was made by Brown; I was passing Brown's house; he asked me how I was, and where I was; whether I was still in the service of Mr. Akerman. I told him I was, but that I should shortly quit it. He then said, Mr. Akerman has published some pretty works, and that he should like to possess them if he could get them cheap; he asked me if I could help him to any. I asked him what price he would go to. He desired me to name my own price. I named eight pound or eight guineas; I would get him a set of the Westminster Abbey; he ridiculed the idea. I told him the trade price was ten guineas, and the price to the public was fifteen guineas; he said, that would not do; he could get them cheaper; he did not mind what the trade gave. I took him one set, which I sold him for five pound.

Q. When you afterwards took them what you sold for four pound ten shillings, do you remember his giving you any reason why he would not give more than four pound ten shillings - A. He said he could buy them cheaper at sales. I wished to rise the price on account of their being proof impressions; he said he did not care for that so that they were cheap; I could afford to let him have them a great deal cheaper than that, for in the way that he should dispose of them I need not fear any thing; he would take to any extent, and always pay ready money. On Thursday morning, the 15th of April, I saw Mr. Simpson come out of his door, and when I came up Brown was at the door; he asked me if I knew that gentleman. I said I did, it was Mr. Simpson, a friend of Mr. Akerman's. He then said he suspected all was not right, Mr. Simpson had been there the night before; his son had told him there were many copies in the house; he begged me to take away two sets, if I could deposit them safely. I took away two of the sets I had sold for four pound ten shillings.

Q. Had you deposited any pawnbrokers tickets with him - A. Yes, I sold him some duplicates of sets I had pawned. Brown told me he expected to get into trouble, but he would not give up my name, nor was I to mention his.

HENRY MORLAND . Q. Do you know the prisoner - A. Yes; I exchanged with him for one set of the Westminster for a leaden figure that stood in my yard. I communicated it to Mr. Akerman.

JOHN SIMPSON . Q. I believe you are acquainted with Mr. Akerman - A. Yes, and I at the request of Mr. Akerman went to Mr. Brown on the evening of the 14th of April. I saw the son as he representedhimself; he came to me in the shop; he shewed me two sets of Abbey; I told him I would call the next morning. I made an appointment to see the father. On the next morning I called between seven and eight, I saw the prisoner, I told the prisoner I called in consequence of seeing two sets of Westminster at his house the evening before, which his son had shewn me, that I had come to see these and ten or twelve sets that his son told me he had up stairs, that I wished to see them as well as the two sets that I had seen the night before; upon which he told me he had none. I told him that he could not be correct, for I had seen two the evening before; what had become of them. He then said a stranger left them; he would have nothing to do with them; he sent them away. I then told him that his son had told me that he had sold upwards of twenty sets before; then he declared to God as an honest man he never bought one set in his life. I then wished to see his son; upon which he told me he was a youth, subject to fits, and was silly, and did not know what he said. Not being able to make any thing more of him I went to Mr. Akerman and told him what he said.

JOHN GILLMAN . I am an officer. I produce an history of Wetminster given up by Mr. Morland, and these two were given up by Mr. Poplin. The prisoner told me Mr. Poplin was his attorney; he had sent them there.

PARR PERRY POPLIN. These two sets of Westminster were sent to me by Mr. Brown on the Thursday night for me to get an estimate of the value of them.

The prisoner left his defence to his counsel; called fifteen witnesses, who gave him a good character.

NOT GUILTY .

First Middlesex jury, before Mr. Recorder.