Margaret Smith.
11th December 1678
Reference Numbert16781211e-14
VerdictGuilty > theft under 1s
SentenceCorporal > public whipping

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8. Margaret Smith Indicted, for that she, the 17th. Octob , 1678. did steal six yards of Silk of a small value, two Silver Candle Cups 3 l. 10 s. one Silver Salt-cellar 30 s. one Silver Porringer 10 s. four Silver Spoons 1 l. 4 s. a Livery Gown 3 l. a Chamlet Cloak 30 s. and 15 l. in Money , from one Messinger . She pleaded Not Guilty, and put her self on the Countrey.

The next was Margaret Smith, for robbing one Messenger of some Sarsnet, and Plate, and Goods, to a very great value, and Money. Messenger, the Party robbed, deposed, That she lodged in his house, and in the time of Southwark-Fair last desired him, and his Wife and Kinswoman, to go with her to the Fair, where she would make them merry, and left her Maid at home; who when they were all gone, got the Apprentice to go for a Peck of Oysters, and in the mean time stole away the other things, all but the Silk. When they came home again, she asked for her Maid; and being told she was not within, she cried out, I pray God I be not robbed; and so going to look, they found they were indeed robbed, and so she pretended she was too. The next morning she would have gone out, but the Kinswoman would not let her go alone, because she had some jealousie of her; and so went with her up and down where she pretended to go see for her Maid, and to see among the Brokers Shops for the Goods: At last, when she was in a House at Houndsditch, she slipt from her, and was not seen, till a Friend of hers coming to Messengers house, undertook to find her out, and met with her. She led them another dance, by pretending to go and receive money, which she would fain have been permitted to do alone; but the Kinswoman telling her, she would not leave her, she continued with them, and brought them to a Pewterers shop, were being sate down to drink, the young Woman pull'd off her shoe to ease her foot, and the Prisoner took advantage of it, and ran away; but being overtaken, was committed to Prison, And as to the Silk, she had it on now at her Trial, which was left at the time of the Robbery.

The Prisoner denied any hand in the Robbery, and said, that she had run away, because being not very rich, she was afraid of a Prison, which they threatned her with. That for the Silk, she did think it had been a Piece she had sent by her Maid to be Died, but could not prove it; nay had, after she had come from the Fair, acknowledged to the Kinswoman, it was none of hers, but the Maids.

The Court examined her about her Quality and Estate. She said, She had a Brother, a Gentleman in the Countrey, allowed her 20 l. a year, with which, and working to the Exchange, making Mounteer Caps , she maintained her self. But the Court asking her about her acquaintance with one John Spittle , now in Newgate for Felony, she could give no good account of it, which rendred them suspicious of her. However, not finding any thing sufficient to prove her guilty of the Robbery, except as Accessory, they so directed the Jury, and that as to the Silk, of which there was manifest proof, they should consider the value, being Dy'd Silk.

With the Charge of these Prisoners the Jury went out, and had an Officer sworn to keep them.

Then the Clerk for London Arraigned another Prisoner.

That Margaret Smith is guilty of stealing the piece of Silk, which was but of the value of 10 d. as to the rest not guilty; whereupon the Court ordered an Indictment to be drawn up against her, at Accessory to the other Felony, of which there was strong suspicion.

The Verdict being Recorded, the Court Adjourned till 3 a Clock in the Afternoon.

Post. Merid. eodem Die.

[Whipping. See summary.]

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