William Hardwidge, Edward Woods.
23rd February 1757
Reference Numbert17570223-23
VerdictsGuilty; Guilty
SentencesDeath; Transportation

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116. 117. (M.) William Hardwidge and Edward Woods , were indicted, the first for stealing three bank notes, one for the payment of 300 l. another 30 l. the other 25 l. the same being then due and unpaid , the property of George Warren , Esq ; in the chambers of James Cecil , and the other for receiving the 300 l. note, well knowing it to have been stolen , January 29 .*

George Warren. On the 28th of last month being Friday, betwixt twelve and one o'clock, I went to Mr. Cecil's chambers in the Temple. Mr. Wilson his clerk informed me he was not there, and ask'd me if I had any particular business with him. I told him I believed he could do the business as well. It is only to lay two informations against a man that had been very troublesome in the country. Mr. Cecil is solicitor to the association of gentlemen for the preservation of the game. Mr. Wilson told me he did not recollect me. I told him I had not given in my subscription myself, but I would shew him Mr. Cecil's last receipt. I pull'd out a little red pocket book, in which was the receipt for the subscription money, and shewed it him. Then I put it in again and pull'd out the two informations. After I had finished my business with him, I went and walk'd in the Park, and then home; then I dressed myself and went to the play. At the play I missed my pocket book, which I recollected I had left at Mr. Cecil's.

Q. Where do you live?

Warren. I live in Grosvenor street I came immediately home and wrote to Mr. Cecil, that I had left my pocket book and a stick in his room, and desired he'd send some careful person early in the morning to look for it, before the maid had been in it, and I would be with him punctually at ten. I call'd upon him at the time appointed next morning, and he return'd the stick to me, but said he saw nothing of the pocket book, and said he had search'd the room very carefully. I went from thence immediately to the Bank to stop the 300 l. note, being the only one of the three that I could recollect. (They were all in my pocket book.) In my return home I call'd at Mr. Cecil's again, he was not then in his chambers, but Mr. Wilson was. I told him I thought it was very odd they did not see my pocket book. He said I don't remember you had a pocket book here. I said, Sir, to convince you I had a pocket book, do you remember my shewing you the receipt for the association subscription. Said he, now I do remember that you pull'd out a little red pocket book; from thence I went home and endeavoured to find out the numbers of the other two notes.

Q. What was the number to the 300 l. note?

Warren. That was 104; as soon as I had learn'd the number of one of them, which I imagined I had from Mr. Shad a jeweller (this was the 25 l. note.) I advertised that and the 300 l. note, and the other the number forgot. I think in a day or two after this Mr. Cecil's clerk came to me with a letter that he had receiv'd from the prisoner at the bar. The purport of which was, '' That he was going abroad, and was sorry he '' could not bring the key of the chamber himself, '' being in such a hurry.''

Q. What was the prisoner?

Warren. He was another clerk in the office. I told Mr. Wilson when I return'd from the Bank, that I had stopt the payment of the 300 l. note; at that time I said to him, if you remember, there was a person writing at the other end of the room, (which was the prisoner at the bar). I went immediately with Mr. Wilson to Mr. Fielding, who

examined the porter who brought the key and letter from the prisoner Hardwidge; from which we had great grounds to suspect the prisoner. Then Mr. Fielding proceeded in a very judicious manner, and the prisoner was apprehended in a day or two after at Windsor. There was found upon him 200 l. in bank notes, some money, a watch and some silver spoons, which the justice return'd to me; there was likewise some money found upon Woods, who was taken with him.

Cross Examination.

Q. Can you be certain you did not drop the pocket book upon the stairs, after you had been in the room?

Warren. I am positive I left it in the office, and I shew'd Mr. Wilson how I left it upon the table.

Q. Who was sitting at the table when you put it down there?

Warren. Mr. Wilson was, and the prisoner Hardwidge was sitting at a desk at the upper end of the room.

Q. Did he stir from his seat when you was there?

Warren. No, he did not, I saw so little of him that I thought him to be a boy.

Q. If any body had come there and Mr. Wilson continued there, was it possible any body could come and take it without his seeing them take it?

Warren. Yes, because I put it behind the desk.

Robert Wilson . I am clerk to Mr. Cecil; on the 28th of January between twelve and one, capt. Warren came to his chambers; I and the prisoner Hardwidge were there; he produced two informations to me, which he said he had of his steward in the country. On my looking them over I found I could not bring any action upon them, because they were out of time. Then the captain put them into his pocket book again; we had some discourse how they should be drawn in case the steward should find any others. Then he produced me a receipt for his last year's subscription, and in a little time after he went away, I can't charge my memory with the pocket book at all.

Q. What day of the week was it?

Wilson. It was on a Friday, and Mr. Cecil was attending the house of lords. When he came in the morning he produced a letter from capt. Warren, wherein he said he left a book upon the desk. About half an hour past nine on Monday morning, a porter came to our chambers with a letter and the key of the chamber.

Q. Do you know whose writing it was?

Wilson. I have it here, I know it to be the prisoner's writing. The contents were to this purport.

Monday morning.

'' Sir, The bearer hereof will give the key of '' the chambers. I am oblig'd to set out some time '' to day to go abroad with a gentleman. I have '' not had time, or I should have brought it before.

Your humble servant, William Hardwidge .''

I ask'd the porter where he brought the letter from; he said from a gentleman in Cheapside opposite Bow-church. I ask'd what sort of a person gave it him. He describ'd him so that I by that knew it to be the prisoner. I said, it is proper to know where you live, that I may fetch you again, if I should want you. He told me, and I took it down in writing. When I shew'd Mr. Cecil this letter, he desir'd me to go to the capt. about it; so I fetch'd the porter nam'd Robert Cook ; and by that means on Tuesday morning the prisoner was taken. The justice examin'd him; he said, he found a pocket-book upon the stair-case, in which was contain'd a 300 l. bank note, that he took it out and burnt the book. He denied there being any other note; but upon Mr. Fielding's telling him it was much better to tell the truth, as it was an offence of a high nature, he own'd the other two notes, and that he had chang'd them, but where I cannot tell now.

Q. Do you know any thing with relation to any knowledge Hardwidge has of Woods?

Wilson. Woods has come to our chambers several times to him, but not lately.

Q. When was the last time?

Wilson. The last time was about a month ago; he ask'd for Hardwidge, but he was not there at that time.

Q. Had they used to converse together?

Wilson. They had, but they hardly continued together above five or six minutes.

Cross Examination.

Q. Who quitted the chamber first, Hardwidge or you, that day Mr. Warren was there?

Wilson. Mr. Hardwidge did.

Q. Did he come near your desk, before he went away?

Wilson. I don't know that he did.

Q. If he had, should you have seen him?

Wilson. No doubt but I should.

Q. Was it possible for him to have taken the book away from the desk, and you not have seen him?

Wilson. He goes away to dinner at one, and returns at three; and I go at two, and return at four; he might have come and taken away the book at three, when I was gone; he had a key of the chambers.

Q to prosecutor. Where did you lay the book?

Prosecutor. I laid it down on the table behind the desk where Mr. Wilson sat, near the window.

Q to Wilson. Could the prisoner, when he sat at his desk, see any thing upon that table, or the desk?

Wilson. A person might see the desk, but not that part towards the window.

Q to prosecutor. Did you put it under any paper out of sight?

Prosecutor. No, I did not, but I put it on that part near the window.

Q to Wilson. What time did you return to the chambers that afternoon?

Wilson. At four o'clock.

Q. Might not the prisoner have been at the door when you was absent, without your knowledge?

Wilson. He might.

Prosecutor. The prisoner acknowledg'd before the justice he had been to the door, and he found the book on the stairs at three o'clock, that it was so dark that he could not distinguish what it was at first, and he return'd without going in.

Q to Wilson. Did you see the book on the staircase when you went away at two o'clock?

Wilson. No, I did not.

Q. Is it a very dark stair-case?

Wilson. It is.

Q to prosecutor. Were there any other things in your pocket book?

Prosecutor. There were two or three other little promisory notes from people that I had lent a little money to, and a card with some message upon it, a letter, and some trifling things.

Q to Wilson. How long has the prisoner been with Mr. Cecil?

Wilson. He has been there above two years.

Q. What is his general character ?

Wilson. He has as fair a character as any in England, no man a better.

Daniel Remey . The two prisoners at the bar came to my shop in Newport-alley. (I am a leather-seller ) on the 29th of January between eleven and twelve o'clock. Woods ask'd to see some goods; he was a customer to me before.

Q. What is he?

Remey. He is a leather breeches-maker. I shew'd him some, and he ask'd to see a pretty large quantity of good s.

Q. Had he used to buy such quantities ?

Remey. No, he used to buy smaller quantities; he is what we call a chamber master. I ask'd him if he was going to set up; he told me he was. I ask'd where; he said he believ'd at Windsor; he said, the person's master that was then with him had lent him 40 l. to buy goods with. After Woods had look'd over several goods, Hardwidge said see what these goods come to, for we are to lay out no more than 40 l by my master's order. So I took a pen and ink, and just rough cast them up; they came to 38 l. and upwards; upon which Hardwidge told Woods that was near the sum his master order'd him to lay out, and he would have him look at no more. Woods comply'd with it; then they tender'd me a bank note of 300 l. to change, to take my money, and order'd me to make a bill of parcels and a receipt.

Q. Did you look at the number of the note?

Remey. I did, it was 104.

Q. Which of them tender'd the note?

Remey. Woods did.

Q. Did he receive it of the other prisoner?

Remey. No, not in my sight. Hardwidge desired I would not give them all the change in cash, for his master desir'd to have a note. Then I laid down a note for 200 l. and another for 50 l. and 50 l. in cash; it was taken up by Hardwidge from off the counter, who took up the receipt also, and said he'd go and shew his master what money he had laid out, and went away and left Woods to pack up the goods.

Q. Did he tell you who his master was?

Remey. He did, and spelt the name to me Wm. Goats, Esq; he said, he liv'd at Windsor. That I wrote on the back of the note. I carried it to the Bank; the entering clerk is here to whom I shew'd it.

The note produced in court, and read.

No. 104. Wrote on the back of it Esquire Goats, Jan. 29, 1757.

The note was dated Nov. 22, 1756.

Robert Cook . I received a letter and a key of the prisoner Hardwidge, on a Monday, about half an hour after eight in the morning. I do not know the day of the month.

Q. Where is that letter?

Cook. Mr. Wilson has the letter. I carried that and the key to him.

Hardwidge's Defence.

On the 28th of January, about half an hour after two o'clock, going to my master's chambers, on the second pair of stairs I pick'd up a letter-case. I directly returned to my lodgings. I looked in it, and found three bank notes; one for 300 l. one 30 l. and one for 25 l. One of them Mr. Woods and I changed at the leatherseller's. There were some notes advertised in some paper, but they were quite different from what I found. Mr. Warren says in the Advertiser for the 1st of February, he lost two; one of 300 l. No. 1041. The No. I found was 104. The two other notes I found, one was No. 33, and the other 3, D. The captain says he lost a pocket book, but I found a letter case. I never was near Mr. Wilson's desk from the time the captain was in the chambers, nor was the captain near mine.

Woods's Defence.

Hardwidge and I have been acquainted four or five years. I was at his wife's room. He came in with this letter case, and said, he had found it upon Mr. Cecil's stair-case. We went to Ludgate-Hill, and there changed a small note, to pay a small debt which I owed at Windsor. Then he changed the 30 l. note in St. Paul's Church-Yard, at a silver-smith's. After that, he consented to give me 40 l. to put me into a way of business, I having fail'd a little before. I told him I thought that would not be enough, and said, if he would give me 50 l. I would change the note. Then he gave me 10 l. more. I know no farther than that the thing was found. I intended to settle at Windsor, and went there to ask several people for their custom.

For the Prisoners.

William Turrel . I have known Hardwidge about five years. He was a writer to Mr. Brookland at Windsor, during which time he behaved well, and when he sent him to town, he desired I would recommend him to a place (he behaved so well) and said he would be answerable for his honesty.

Robert Taylor . I came from Mr. Brookland's in April, 1752. The prisoner was there when I was, and to my knowledge he was trusted largely there. We received gentlemens rents in the country, and he always gave a true account. While he was there he had it in his have wrong'd his master, if he had been so minded Woods came to me, and asked me for my custom, and said he was going to set up.

John Goldwing . I have known Hardwidge about twelve years. He is a very honest, sober man. I recommended him to Mr. Brookland. I was backwards and forwards, and saw him often; I never heard any thing amiss of him before this.

Q. Have you known him lately?

Goldwing. I have not, within these two years.

William Stratford . I have known Hardwidge six years.

Q. What is his general character?

Stratford. He has a very good character. I was with Mr. Brookland the same time he was.

Thomas Felts . I have known Hardwidge seven or eight years. He always behaved very well. Mr. Woods once lodged with me at Windsor. He is a very honest man.

John Churchil . I have known Hardwidge ten years.

Q. Have you known him within these two years last past?

Churchil. No, I have not.

James Cecil . Hardwidge has been with me about two years. He behaved extremely well, very soberly, and very honestly, till this happened. I always looked upon him to be an honest young man.

Prosecutor. The young man seems to have an extreme good character from all that I have heard of him; but for my part I know nothing of him.

Hardwidge guilty , Death .

Woods, guilty .

[Woods: Transportation. See summary.]

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