John Cook.
27th February 1765
Reference Numbert17650227-42

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209. (L.) John Cook was indicted for forging and counterfeiting a receipt for money , to this purport:

"Received the 8th of January 1765. of

" John Girling , the sum of 7 l. 9 s. there being

"so much wages due to my brother, John Atkins ,

"otherwise Mongomery, on board his Majesty's

"ship America. I say received the same, by me

" James Mongomery , executor;

"with intention to defraud John Girling , or the proper person claiming the said wages, January 8 . ++

John Girling . I am a victualler , and live in Crutched-Friars; the prisoner applied to me, on the 8th of January, and said his brother, John Atkins , otherwise Mongomery, died on board the America, and he had proved his will in the Commons, but had not money to take the probate out, which he desired me to do, which I did accordingly; then he desired me to see what wages were due to his brother; I found it to be 7 l. 9 s. then he desired I would advance him that money, for he wanted to go to Edinburgh, or his own country. I did advance it, and took this receipt for it; he came in the name of James Mongomery , and signed his name so: I told him the money was to be paid at Plymouth: I took the probate, to secure myself. I wrote the body of the receipt, according to his instructions, and he the name James Mongomery ; I saw him; he told me he was the executor to the deceased. (The receipt and probate put in.)

The receipt read, as in the indictment.

The prisoner was taken up by a warrant granted by the commissioners of the navy. Mr. Sharp came and told me the prisoner had swore his name was John Cook , before my Lord Mayor: when this receipt was shewn to him he denied it, and said he did not sign it.

John Sharp . The prisoner had sent me a letter, dated the 18th of February, that if I stopped his papers he would serve me with a copy of a writ; he came the next day for them, and I stopped him; he had executed a power of attorney, in the name of John Cook , and said that was his name. When he was before Sir Charles Asgill , he said his name was neither Mongomery nor Cook, but that it was George Miln , and was captain's clerk on board the Crown storeship; he had received the money of Mr. Girling, and this administration which he produced to me, making this letter of attorney, was for me to receive some money for him, and send it down to him to Scotland: when he found I had got a warrant from the commissioners, to seize him, as I locked the door, and sent for a constable, he said if I had not taken him in the manner I did, he could have 50 l. of a stock-broker for it, and could have gone home upon that, and I might have received the rest and sent it after him: What, said I, upon that forged paper? he said, I own I forged both the wills of Mongomery and Cook; and that he was afraid of Mr. Girling having received the money of him in the name of Mongomery, but said nothing of the others.

William Gregory . On the 18th of February the prisoner was brought to my house, for security: I am keeper of the Borough counter, Surry: I perceived the warrant was granted by the commissioners, for a capital offence: I asked him his name; he said it was John Cook : I said which way could he be brother to Mongomery: he said he had forged that will: I asked him, if he knew the consequence of it? he said, it was necessity drove him to do it: I asked him if he had taken up any sum of money upon it? he said, he had taken up 7 l. odd money, of Mr. John Girling , who keeps the French Horn, Crutched-Friars: after that I gave notice of it, he confessed it to me twice; but when before Sir Charles Asgill , at Guild-hall, he denied it .

Q. Did he mention any thing about giving a receipt?

Gregory. I do not remember that he did.

Edward Omony . I know the prisoner, and have done business for him when he was clerk to Mr. Milbourn Marsh, the master shipwright at Mahon; his name is, George Miln : he has given me receipts under that name: I have sometimes received his salary in that name, and I have received letters from him under that name: he was also clerk at Gibraltar.

John Strahan . About the 4th of January the prisoner called upon me, with the will of one John Atkins , who had belonged to several ships, he said, particularly the Norfolk East Indiaman, and afterwards to the Kent, and last of all to the America: he applied to me to prove this will; he was executor to that will, by the name of James Mongomery , his brother: I said, How came you to be his brother? he said, the deceased ran away from such a ship, and changed his name, but his real name was Mongomery: having some little doubt, I consulted the ship's book upon that alias: he was sworn as the brother and executor of John Atkins , alias Mongomery; I had his order, first of all, to send the probate to Mr. Harper, but a day or two after I received an order from the prisoner to send it to Mr. Girling, of Crutched-Friars, and he was to pay the charges. The prisoner acknowledged, in my office, he had made a claim, by the name of Cook, under another will or administration, about the 9th of January; the landlord where he lodged produced this to Mr. Girling, and Mr. Girling went into the office, to compare the will of Benjamin Cook with the other will; they agreed pretty much alike: upon coming from the office again, the prisoner was at my house; he then did confess, in the presence of that landlord, Mr. Girling, Mr. Goodwin, and myself, that he did forge the will of Benjamin Cook , but with no intent to defraud any body, but to serve his cousin, who lived in Scotland; that he intended to send it to him.

Robert Jenour . I act as a proctor in Doctors-Commons: I was in St. Paul's coffee-house, talking with a gentleman; in the course of the conversation the word Doctor's-Commons was mentioned; the prisoner came up to me, and asked me if I belonged to the Commons; he said he had an affair to transact, and he would be obliged to me if I would put him in the way; he said it was to take the administration to a brother that was dead. I asked him if he had searched the navy office, to see what was due; he said he had searched, and there was somewhat about 40 l. due to his brother: he asked when he could come to take this administration? I told him if he would come on Monday I would do his business for him: he came, and gave me instructions; he said his name was John Cook , and that the deceased was named Benjamin Cook : the administration pass'd the seal the 5th of February.

Robert Hopman . I am a clerk in the Navy-office; there was one John Atkins , who served on board his Majesty's ship America, from the 28th of June, 1762, to the 3d of October the same year, and there was due to him 7 l. 9 s. as appears by this book in my hand, the muster book.

(The probate of the will read, dated 4th of January, 1755. James Mongomery , executor.)

Prisoner's Defence.

I am intirely innocent: I came to London to administer to the effects of my brother, who was in the America, in the East Indies: my name is not Miln. I came to Mr. Sharp's house; he used me very civilly; after that he had me taken up three times, and I was discharged: then he had me taken up by a warrant from the Navy-board, and I was carried before Sir Charles Asgill , who sent me to Newgate. I know nothing of Mr. Omony. I never was out of Great Britain in all my life.

Guilty . Death .

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