Offence: Royal Offences > coining offences
Punishment: Death > respited for pregnancy
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98. (M) Margaret, wife of Terence Larney , was indicted for that she feloniously and traiterously with certain files and other instruments, one piece of good and lawful money of the current coin of this kingdom, call'd a guinea, did unlawfully file and diminish, against the form of the statute in that case made and provided , Dec. 16 .*
Alice Diamond. I have been acquainted with the prisoner at the bar about three years; her husband is a hard working man. He sometimes work'd at labouring work, and sometimes work'd for a hatter.
Q. Where did they live?
Q. Did you ever see her do any thing to any sort of money?
A. Diamond. I saw her file one guinea.
Q. How did she file it?
A. Diamond. She had two files, the first was a broad file, and the other a small three-corner'd file.
Q. Should you know them again, if you was to see them?
A. Diamond. I should know the same sort of files (two files produced in court, one a flat twopenny file, about seven inches long, of the bastard fort, and the other a small smooth three-corner'd file, about four inches long.
A. Diamond. These are of the same sort.
Q. How long is it ago since you saw her file a guinea?
A. Diamond. It is rather better than ten months ago.
Q. Where did she file it?
A. Diamond. In her own room in Drury-Lane.
Q. Was any body else present at the time?
A. Diamond. Nobody but myself.
Q. How came she to let you see her?
A. Diamond. I call'd there as an acquaintance to see her; I had heard something of her doing it, but never saw her do it before.
Q. Who did you hear say she had done it?
A. Diamond. I heard her say herself she had filed guineas.
Q. Was this before the time you saw her file one?
A. Diamond. It was.
Q. Who did she say this to?
A. Diamond. She said so to me.
Q. What did she say she did with the filings?
Q. Did you hear her mention selling to him more than once?
A. Diamond. I did.
A. Diamond. I saw her once sell some to him.
Q. How much of it was there?
A. Diamond. I can't say how much.
Q. Did you see any more guineas she had when she was filing that one?
A. Diamond. I saw more in her lap.
Q. How did she get these guineas?
A. Diamond. By going to pawnbrokers, and carrying silver to be changed for gold.
Q. In what manner were they disposed of afterwards?
A. Diamond. That was according as she could, in publick-houses, or in shops; she would buy goods, pay in gold, and take silver in change. She was very poor, and if she could borrow money of any body she would. After she had bought linen or things she would go directly to the pawnbroker's and pawn them, get a guinea or more, and go directly to work upon the money.
Q. from prisoner. What reason have you for bringing me here before your sister-in law? she was the only person that first brought it up in London.
A. Diamond. If you had not done it, I should not have said you had.
Q. Could you tell what they were filed from?
Diamond. She told me they were the filings of guineas.
Q. Did she tell you what she did with them?
Q. Did you ever see them together?
Diamond. I have been with her and him at the Hole in the Wall, and at the Lancashire Witch, a little below that place.
Q. What did he give her an ounce for it?
Diamond. To the value of three pounds an ounce.
Q. How did she procure guineas?
Diamond. I don't know how she got them; but if she had any acquaintance that came over from Ire-land with a little money, she would inveigle it from them, and tell them she could get them better bread than to go to hard labour.
Q. Who did she say so to?
Q. What did she say she could take off from a guinea?
Diamond. That she could take off to the value of a shilling.
Q. Where have you heard her say this?
Diamond. At her lodgings.
Q. How often?
Diamond. Three or four times.
Q. Did you ever hear her acknowledge the putting off guineas that had been filed?
Diamond. Yes, I have, and have been with her at publick-houses when she has changed a guinea for liquor. She has pull'd out her purse and said, here is to the value of a guinea or 25 s. or the like, meaning in file dust, and has said, I have a couple of guineas to put off, and I have went with her.
Q. Did you ever see the filings weigh'd?
Diamond. No, but I have seen it in a paper.
Q. Did she ever acknowledge to you it was the filing of guineas?
Diamond. Yes; she has shew'd me the guineas that were filed, and I have seen her put them off.
Q. from prisoner. Pray where did I put off a guinea in my life?
Diamond. I know of two in particular, in St. Martin's Lane.
Q. Were they filed ones?
Diamond. She said they were.
Roger Boucher . I am a constable, and had a warrant from Mr. Fielding to search the prisoner's lodgings, who lived then by the Bull and Gate, Holbourn, in a court which I don't know the name of. This was on the 18th of December, being a Sunday night. The back part of the house looks into the Bull and Gate yard. The prisoner was sitting by the fire with a child in her lap. I saw another room, in which was a bed. I went in there, where I saw a box, which, I said, I must look into. She said, I need not give myself the trouble to look there, for there was nothing, and was very loth to have me look there. There were rags in the box, which she often put her hands in amongst, and seemed not willing they should be tumbled about; but among them I found these two files, which Alice Diamond has look'd at. They were wrap'd up in a piece of rag. I found also a bit of allum and some wax. (Producing them.)
Boucher. I don't know what it is, it may be Saltpetre, or Borax. Here is the appearance of gold very plain on the files to be seen now (the Jury look at the files.)
Prisoner. The constable ask'd me which way I got those files, and I said I did not know which way they came there.
Boucher. I believe I might ask her such a question, but I do not recollect what she said; she did not give me a positive answer.
I am wrong'd as much as any creature that ever was before you, I can deny it with all the pleasure upon the face of the earth. I was going to the Haymarket to carry my husband some dinner, when this witness Diamond met me in the Strand. I never saw him above three times before that. He treated me and my husband with a pot of beer. His wife was after being in a cheesemonger's shop; I asked him how his wife did, and said she was a great stranger; he said she wanted to speak with me, and she came over with a guinea. I said I would treat them with a pot of beer, and said I had as much money as would pay for it; but he said I was welcome to take share of a pot of beer. They went up into an alley, and call'd for a pot of beer; his wife pull'd a guinea out of her bosom, and paid for it. Then they went to another house, and he took another guinea out and changed it, and paid for that. I was going to buy a pattern of two shirts for my husband. Then we went in at the White Hart in St. Martin's-Lane, and call'd for some rum, and he pull'd out another guinea. The woman went backwards, and said to me, I cannot live with this man, I have a mind to leave him, I have heard so bad a character of him since I married him, and I'll be at your house by eleven o'clock to morrow. I gave her the marks and tokens of my house; it is No. 10. at Little Turnstile, Holbourn. She came two or three days afterwards, and asked for me, but I was out. She told the woman that I had left to take care of my five children, that she must go backwards. She went into my bed room, and the woman said she staid there about half an hour, and that she had some things in a handkerchief. She said when she came out, she had left some things in my room, and desired her to tell me not to touch the things that belonged to her. I came home, and the woman told me Mrs. Diamond had been there, and had staid in that room half an hour, that she had open'd the door after Mrs. Diamond was gone, and found she had pushed a handkerchief under the foot of my bed, that she look'd at it, to see what it was, and found two bits of iron in it (her husband never came to my house in his life) and told me she had thrown the things into a box till I came home. She had owed me a spight, I never saw a guinea of my own for a long time. She came one morning and watched at the door till my husband was gone out; she said why don't you get up, I said I am not in a way of getting up, the day is too cold for me She said if you'll come with me to Covent Garden, I'll give you tea and sugar enough, and then she said to me if I would go along with her every day, she would give me three pence for every guinea I would get her changed, that a man at the Temple allow'd her that, and she would allow me half profit.
For the Prisoner.
Q. Where was the prisoner then?
E. Roberts. The prisoner was not at home.
Q. What did she do when she was there?
E. Roberts. She came in, stop'd for a few minutes, desired to know if she could go into a back room, went in, and nobody went with her. She was there for a considerable time before she came out again to me. When she came out she said she had left something there, and desired I would not let the children meddle with them till she came back again. I told her they should not meddle with any thing, nor go into the room. I never went into the room till I went in to make the bed. I turned up the bed, and found two little things rolled up. (She looks on the largest file, and takes it in her hand.) One was like this, and the other a small one. I threw them into a box that was in the room.
E. Roberts. She never came into the room again in my time.
Q. What was in the box at that time?
E. Roberts. Nothing but a parcel of old rags.
E. Roberts. No, I only threw them into the box. I am very sensible Mrs. Larney had nothing to say to these things; I thought they were something belonging to William Diamond's accoutrements, he being a soldier.
Q. Who are you?
E. Roberts. I took care of the prisoner at the bar's children.
Q. How long was you with her?
E. Roberts. I was with her four or five months.
E. Roberts. It might be about two o'clock, but I can't tell the day of the month because I am no scholar.
Q. What time was it you went to make the bed that night?
E. Roberts. About eight at night.
Q. What time did the prisoner come home?
E. Roberts. She did not come home, I believe, till ten at night.
Q. Had you thrown these peices of iron by before she came home?
E. Roberts. I had.
Q. Did you tell her of them?
E. Roberts. I did. She asked me what I had done with them ? I said I had thrown them into the box.
Q. Do you know what that is that you took in your hand?
E. Roberts. Certainly I know what a file is.
Q. How then could you imagine they should be some of her husband's accoutrements?
E. Roberts. When I felt them rattle I thought they were some things belonging to him.
Q. Did not you say they were put up in something?
E. Roberts. They were wrap'd up in an old rag of a handkerchief.
Q. Did you open them?
E. Roberts. I did.
Q. Was any thing else in that rag besides the two files?
E. Roberts. There was a hit of cheese in the handkerchief.
Q. Did you leave them with the handkerchief
E. Roberts. I did, and left them as I found them.
Q. Was there a string round them?
E. Roberts. I cannot tell whether there was or not.
Q. Did you take care of the prisoner's children at the time she was taken up?
E. Roberts. No, I did not.
Q. How long have you left her?
E. Roberts. I left her two months ago.
Q. What did you do for a livelihood after you left her?
E. Roberts. I went to wash and iron for a laundress, on the other side of Lincoln's Inn-Fields.
Q. Did you see the prisoner at justice Fielding's?
E. Roberts. I did.
Q. Did you tell this story there?
E. Roberts. No, I did not.
Q. Did you tell one single syllable of it there?
E. Roberts. No, I did not.
Q. Do you remember she was asked by the justice of the peace how she came by the files?
E. Roberts. I was not let into the office.
Caroe. In Ireland, in the first place.
Q. When did you see her last?
Caroe. I have not seen her for about nine or ten years.
Q. Had you ever any great acquaintance with her?
Q. Had you ever any dealings with her?
Caroe. No I have been in her company, and she has been at my house. I never heard any thing amiss of her before this. I took her to be an honest woman all my life. I don't know how far she is guilty of this.
Q. What is her general character ?
E. Fielding. I never heard any other character, but that of a poor honest woman. I never heard any harm of her before this.
A. Diamond. I and my husband were taken up, and brought before justice Fielding.
Q. How long is that ago?
A. Diamond. It is about a month ago.
Q. Do you know the woman at the bar?
Marsden. I do. I went with Boucher, the constable, to search the prisoner's lodgings; it was on a Sunday evening, but I am not certain of the day of the month.
Q. What month was it in?
Marsden. It was in December.
Q. Did you see the files?
Marsden. I did. When we came to search the box she said there was nothing there, so we need not to search it. We were soon obliged to hold her, she flew into such a passion. She got her hands in, threw the rags about one way and another, and wanted to prevent our looking amongst them. At last we found the two files wrap'd round with a bit of a rag. There was another woman there. The prisoner called her boy, and said to him, did not you find those files in the cellar yesterday? He said, no, mama, I did not find them. (She wanted to speak to him, and pull'd to get him from the constable) Then she said to the old woman that was there, why don't you tell the Gentlemen? you know the boy found the files in the cellar.
Q. What did the old woman say to that?
Marsden. She took the hint, and said, yes, it was so; but said very little to the purpose. We searched, and found a bit of wax. Then we sent some people with her to the Round house. She wanted to stick to it, that they were found in the cellar, and the old woman was ready to stand to it.
A. Diamond. No, I was not; I did not know where she lived at that time. It is about five months since I was in her room, and that was when she lived in Drury-Lane.
Guilty , Death .