John Smith.
26th May 1737
Reference Numbert17370526-1
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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1. John Smith otherwise Simms , was indicted for stealing five Pieces of Gold, value 3 l. 12 s. each; eight Pieces of Gold, value 36 s. each; two Moidores, one Piece of Gold, value 18 s. three Pieces of Gold, value 13s. 6d. each, 121 Guineas, sixteen Half Guineas, and 2 l 10 s. in Money, the Monies of John and Joseph Wight , in their Dwelling-house , April 17 .

Joseph Wight. I have known the Prisoner near five Years; he was my Father's Servant , and my Father is a Writing-Master , Mr. John Wight . The Money he stands indicted for, is the Property of my Father and me; I reckoned it and put it up on Saturday the 16th of April, and on Sunday my Desk was broke open, the Money was taken out, and a Drawer was missing; I can't say directly what Money was in it, but there was 175 l. odd in that one Drawer; there was 121 Guineas, there was sixteen Half Guineas, and five Three Pound Twelve Pieces: I have an exact Account] in Writing of the Money that was found upon him.

Q. How came you to suspect the Prisoner?

Wight. Because he absented himself from my Father's Service on the 17th of April in the Evening. We advertis'd him and described him, - about seventeen Years of Age, - a down Look, - very surly way of Speaking; and his Cloaths were described.

Q. How long was it before he was taken?

Wight. We had Advice from Justice Scroop and Justice Reynolds of Lincolnthat such a one was taken the Thursday before. The Money found upon him was 175 l and upwards.. I saw him the Night he was brought up, and asked him a Question, but he would give me no Answer, or nothing to the Purpose, nor did he confess any thing in my Presence.

John Wight I have known the Prisoner five Years and upwards; he was my 'Prentice. On Sunday the 17th of April between four and five in the Afternoon, he asked me Leave to go and see his Father for half an Hour; I gave him Leave, and his not returning Home, made me have a Suspicion he had done some Mischief; accordingly going into my Son's Room where we keep the Money, I found the Desk broke open; upon which I went to his Father-in-Law to acquaint him of it, but he could say nothing to the Purpose; so I went to the Printer of the Daily Advertiser, to have him inserted in the Papers the next Day, which was done accordingly. Then I apply'd to the Post-Office, to have Expresses sent to divers Places, and on Monday se'enight afterwards, I receiv'd a Letter from Mr. Scroop and Mr. Reynolds with notice that there had been a Person apprehended at Lincoln, which answer'd the Advertisement that was given of him, and that he had made a Confession before them, that he was my Servant, and had robb'd me, but not of so much as I charge him with. I sent down a Friend, and when my Friend came, he was call'd upon again, to a second Confession.

Q. Had you any Talk with him concerning the Fact?

Wight. No, I never went near him my self.

William Moreton . I have known the Prisoner 2 or 3 Years: I know nothing of the Fact, only I know that this Drawer was taken out of the Prisoner's Trunk; the Trunk was lock'd, and the Drawer was lock'd up in it.

Joseph Wight. This is the Drawer in which was 175 l. odd.

John Wight. This is the Gentleman I sent down to Lincoln.

Paul Brown . My Lord, and Gentlemen of the Jury. After the Wights had received Letters from Mr. Scroop and Mr. Reynolds, at their Request I went down to Lincoln, and I got there the 27th of last Month. I went to the Prisoner in Lincoln Goal, and after some Discourse with him, finding he confessed only 161l I advised him to give an Account of the whole Sum; and the next Morning when I went to him again, he gave me an Account wrote with his own Hand of 172 l. 9 s. 6 d. which Account is here; I saw him write it, and I witness'd the Account. He acknowledged 172l. 9s. 6d. After I had got this out of him, I waited on Mr. Scroop and Mr. Reynolds and it thought proper to take him before them, to get the Confession from him that they might be saved the Trouble of coming to prove the first Confession. This Confession I saw the Prisoner sign, and saw the Justices sign it too, and I witness'd it. After this was done I received from Mr. Scroop 154l. 14s. 6d. in a Bag; Mr. Scroop advised to have taken 156 l. 10s. 6d. but before they sealed up the Money, they gave the Prisoner 36 s to bear his Expences, which Sum taken out of 156 l. 10 s 6 d. makes 154 l. 14 s. 6 d. which was the Money I recieved.

Q. How old are you?

Prisoner. Sixteen.

John Wight. Look upon the Confession, - it is eighteen there.

'' The second Examination of John Smith , aged '' eighteen, taken upon Suspicion of robbing '' Mr. Wight, a Writing-Master; who owns '' that he went by the Name of Simms, but '' that his true Name is Smith; and that he '' was Apprentice to the said Wight, and '' robbed him of 161 l. and upwards, by forcing '' open the Lock of a Desk; and that '' he ran away from his Master the same '' Day, and made the best of his Way for '' York.

John Wight. We have miss'd Money several Times - small Summs.

Q. How did the Prisoner behave before this Fact?

John Wight. He behaved well, to outward Appearance, - about a Fortnight ago he made an Elopement.

C. That has no Relation to this Fact.

Thomas Aldridge . I have known the Prisoner from his Birth, and never knew him guilty of Theft in my Life.

Q. Did he behave well before this Fact?

Aldridge. As other Boys do; sometimes he would go to Play. He is my Son-in Law.

Isaac Walker . I have known him ever since he was born, and never knew any Thing dishonest by him till this Time, and I am heartily sorry for it.

The Jury found him guilty. Death .

But requested of the Court, that he might be recommended to his Majesty's Mercy.

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