Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 26 July 2014), February 1814, trial of JAMES BLANCH JOHN BRENNAN (t18140216-25).

JAMES BLANCH, JOHN BRENNAN, Theft > grand larceny, 16th February 1814.

211. JAMES BLANCH and JOHN BRENNAN were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 20th of January , ten yards of Russia duck, value 30 s. the property of our Lord the King .

SECOND COUNT, for like offence, stating it to be the property of George Hall .

And TWO OTHER COUNTS, stating it to be the property of other persons.

GEORGE HALL . I am master of the ship the Lord Harlington, from St. Petersburgh to London. I brought a general cargo, among other things Russia linen. My vessel laid in the London Docks for being unladen. The two prisoners were Custom-house officers stationed on board my ship.

Q. About what time was your cargo delivered - A. She was cleared the 9th of this month, and in the course of delivering the goods I was two pieces of Russia duck deficient. The bale was opened for the purpose of getting it out of the place; it was stationed in my state-room; it was too large to get it out whole, therefore they took it out by pieces, and on my finding that I was two pieces of Russia linen deficient I mentioned it to Blanch.

JOSEPH BECKWITH . I am an apprentice on board the Lord Harlington.

Q. Were you in the docks in that ship in the month of January - A. Yes. On Tuesday the 18th, Luke Rochford was clearing the forecastle, I saw the two pieces of Russia duck in the shot locker; this bag was underneath the two pieces of Russia linen in the shot locker. About eleven o'clock in the forenoon I saw it again in the same place in the shot locker.

Q. What time was it you saw it first - A. A little after breakfast, and I saw it again between three and four in the afternoon in the same place. I saw part of it in the same place; part was gone; about half a piece apparently was gone.

Q.When was it you saw a half piece - A. On the 19th, the next day. I perceived a piece and a half was left, and that half a piece was gone. On Wednesday I saw the other half piece underneath the bed cabin. It was about one o'clock I saw it underneath the bed cabin. I first saw a piece and a half, the next day I saw the half piece.

Q.About what o'clock did you see the half piece - A. About one o'clock I saw the half piece underneath the bed cabin in the forecastle; that was a few yards from the shot locker. On Wednesday I mentioned it to Blanch; the other prisoner was on shore. I told him on Tuesday I saw the two pieces underneath the shot locker, that it had been removed. Blanch said Brennan was on shore; we should tell him of it; he added that it would be better to tell the captain, and we should not be blamed, and then they would make a seizure of it. He said there were two boys who had run away, it might be imputed to them, and they would be transported for it. Wewaited till Brennan came on board; Brennan came about twelve o'clock; then Brennan sent a man to call me in the cabin; I went into the cabin; I found the two prisoners in the cabin. Brennan said they would take the two pieces of Russia linen; they would give me a few shillings out of it, and they would do the best they could with it.

Q. How soon afterwards did you miss the Russia duck out of the place where you saw it - A. Directly after this conversation I went to the place where I had seen it, and found it was missing.

GEORGE NORTH . I am mate of the Lord Harlington. I was informed where the Russia duck was; I was directed by the Captain to watch who should take it away from that place; for the purpose of seeing that, I placed myself close to the bulk head, forward; I then commanded a view of the sleeping place of the two prisoners; they were in bed at the time I was stationed there. I saw Brennan get out bed. I saw one of the prisoners take the Russia duck from under the bed cabin; he placed it in the clew of his hammock. The other was by at the time. Then Brennan got on his back; he was partly dressed. I cannot say which of them laid it on his back; they were both together. Blanch tied his breeches with rope yarn; the waistband would not meet.

Q. Then the Russia duck was in the waistband of his breeches - A. Yes. I then went on deck, and sent for a police officer; the officer came, and found the duck on his person.

Mr. Alley. Smuggling is done as secret as possible - A. Yes.

MR. CLARK. I am a Thames police constable. The captain came for me. I took this piece of Russia duck from Brannan's back; it was fastened round his waistband with rope yarn. This is the half piece I took from his back; the other has not been found. When I found it upon Brennan he said it was the first thing he had done ever since he had been in the employ.

Q. to Captain Hall. Was that the Russia duck that was on board your vessel - A. Yes; it is ten yards.

Blanch's Defence. This piece of Russia linen the two boys that run away from the ship, they said they bought it in Russia; they asked us to buy it; we gave them twelve shillings for it.

Brennan said nothing in his defence.

Brennan called five witnesses, who gave him a good character.

BLANCH, GUILTY , aged 29.

BRENNAN, GUILTY , aged 32.

Transported for Seven Years .

Second Middlesex jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.