Martha Richardson.
17th April 1765
Reference Numbert17650417-43

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263. (M.) Martha, wife of Thomas Richardson , was indicted, together with three others not taken, for stealing 100 pounds weight of raw

silk, value 100 l. the property of John Sharrard . ++

John Sharrard . I am a silk-throwster ; the prisoner has worked some years for me; I carry on a very large manufactory in Goodman's fields , where I employ near a thousand people: I have, within two years, found I lost a great deal of silk, but could not tell which way it was gone: I believe I have lost a thousand pounds worth of silk within a year, taken at various times: I was very exact in my accounts, and complained to my people that I was robbed; still I lost more and more: I came to a resolution, if I could not find it out, to close up that manufactory and drop it. I was taken ill, and was in my bed, when the prisoner was detected with seven bobbins in her pocket; she was brought to my bed-side, she went down on her knees, and owned she had robbed one of the best of masters, and begged forgiveness: she said she had carried it on by putting in empty bobbins, (we go by tale): she, to keep the tale always right, dropped in so many empty bobbins and took away full ones; this she acknowledged to me. She acknowledged she had robbed me about a year and a half, or near two years.

Prisoner. My master is a worthy gentleman, and I am sorry; I acknowledged my fault, and went down on my knees to him for mercy; but he employs thousands of folks as well as me: I never was guilty of a third part of what is laid to my charge: I own to six bobbins.

Trucella Bridges. I detected the prisoner with seven bobbins in her pocket: I saw her take them three or four times, before I told her of it: I took these out of her pocket, with her own consent. (Seven bobbins, full of silk, produced.)

Ann Hannah . I know the prisoner brought a great quantity of silk home, but I did not see her steal it; she lived with me some years: she always carried her work home very well, till near two years ago; she used to lay it by till she had an opportunity to draw it off; sometimes she would bring two bobbins, sometimes three, sometimes none all the week.

Q. Did she tell you how she came by it?

A. Hannah. No, she did not; but she must think I knew she could not come honestly by it.

Q. Were the bobbins marked?

A. Hannah. There were I. S. on them: I knew that to be Mr. Sharrard's mark, (four empty bobbins produced, marked I. S.) they were marked like these (a quantity of bobbins, full of silk, produced.)

A. Hannah. (Takes up two of them,) This silk here, came from off Mr. Sharrard's bobbins: I saw the prisoner draw the silk off.

Mary Sampson . I have seen Ann Hannah and the prisoner together, three or four times: I have seen them at the ship alehouse.

Joseph Walliton . I keep a public-house: I have seen the prisoner and Ann Hannah together several times, at my house; they used to come and cad for a pint of beer, and sometimes two, and pay and go away.

Q. Where do you live?

Walliton. I keep the Brown-bear, in Good-man's-fields, about a quarter of a mile from the prosecutor's.

Q. to Ann Hannah . What was done with the silk that she brought home?

A. Hannahs. It was sold to Mrs. Daldon and two others: I have gone to them along with her.

Prisoner's Defence.

I own to seven bobbins; as to Ann Hannah , her word is not to be taken; what I brought to her she received, and wound it off, and sold it.

Guilty . T .

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