Edward M'Ginnis, Jane M'Ginnis.
14th May 1766
Reference Numbert17660514-36
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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322, 323. (M) Edward M'Ginnis and Jane M'Ginnis , spinster , his sister, were indicted for stealing 17 silver tea spoons, value 30 s. 3 silver desart spoons, value 10 s. 6 silver salt spoons, value 6 s. one silver standish, value 10 s. one silver handle of a cruet frame, value 5 s. one silver salver, value 30 l. 2 silver cups, value 10 l. 6 silver saltsellers, value 11 l. 24 silver table spoons, value 10 l. 9 silver desart spoons, 2 silver candlesticks, one silver cup and cover, one silver bread basket, 2 silver butter boats, one silver cruet frame, one silver marrow spoon, one silver soup plate, 3 gold watches, 2 other watches, one hoop diamond ring, one other diamond ring, and other plate, valued in the whole at 272 l. 10 s. the property of James Adair , Esq ; in the dwelling-house of the said Adair , May 8 . ++

Thomas Bay. I am butler to Mr. Adair; his house is on the north side of Soho-square ; I had the keeping the plate in the pantry; I locked it up and kept the key. Jane M'Ginnis was the kitchen maid ; she asked me for the key of the pantry on the 7th at night, and said she wanted to clean the pantry out; I would not let her have it; I am sure I locked it up on the Wednesday night, and about six or seven in the morning the maids came running up stairs; one said, is Jenny in bed; no, said the other; they said the house was robbed; I came down, and not a bit of plate was to be found, but tea spoons, which had not been in the pantry, (a small chest of plate produced in court) a silver tun-dish for wine, a chased tea spoon, and six plain ones, six silver salt spoons, three silver desart spoons, these are all my master's property, his crest is on the spoons; these were taken out of the pantry that night; these are all we recovered: I was before Sir John Fielding when the prisoners were examined; I heard Jane say there, she was guilty of letting her brother in at the back door at five in the morning, to rob the house; the other prisoner was not then before Sir John.

On his cross examination, he said there were no promise or threats made use of in order to this her confession; that she said there were other things that she had not taken, but if she had it would be the same thing, for she was sure to be hanged.

Mr. Stevenson. Last Friday morning Sir John Fielding sent for me; a porter had given information of these two prisoners, so I took three people along with me, a brother constable, Henry Wright , and the porter; he shewed us the house where he had carried the box; it was at the bottom of Leather-lane; when we came into the house, Mr. Wright and I went up stairs, he set his shoulder against the door and burst it open; there were Edward M'Ginnis , his wife, and his sister, all in bed together; I heard the man at the bar say to Henry Wright , he wanted to speak to him; they talked together, what was said I do not know; we found a large white box and a trunk, as much as two men could carry down stairs; we did not examine the contents; there were a pair of candlesticks made of French plate, (they are not laid in the indictment) I found a gold watch in the window under some things, and several other things; we put them in the box, and carried them to Sir John's: the man at the bar said, before we got there, he was sure he should be hanged, and he would confess where he sold the plate, and he would leave it to the mercy of the court; he said he had sold the rest of the plate, and he believed some of it

was melted down, and he was sure we should not find all. Sir John granted a search warrant for the house where he said he sold the plate, to a Jew in Houndsditch, and sent me to my Lord-Mayor to have it backed: the prisoner Edward said, he sold to that man a large silver salver, a pair of candlesticks, and other things; he said, he sold them at two guineas a pound weight; we had the warrant backed: when we came to the place the man was not to be found, but we found a woman, that the prisoner said was by at the time, and received the silver; we could not find any of the plate; we brought her to my Lord-Mayor, and my Lord gave us leave to carry her to Sir John; I sealed the box up with the things, and let Mr. Bay have it in his custody: I cut it open now in court; before Sir John the man at the bar said, it was the first robbery he ever committed, and if he could get the plate again, he would leave it to the mercy of the court; this he said before Sir John several times. All his confession was voluntary; there were no promises or threats made to him.

Mr. Fryer. I am a constable; Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Wright and I, went in at a passage door at a house where we had intelligence the man at the bar lodged; we asked the man of the house whether he had lodgers came in there, and that had a box; he said he had; this was in Hare-street, at the corner of Liquorpond-street; we went into the room, there was the two prisoners at the bar, and Edward M'Ginnis 's wife; there we found a great chest like a carpenter's chest, with a great deal of linen and wearing apparel, and a great deal lay spread on the floor; I took a good deal of it out and shook them up, and put my hand in again and found this plate, here produced in the box; we brought it to Sir John Fielding ; I observed the man at the bar called Wright to the door, but what was said I know not. The box was too big to be got into a coach, so it was tied behind: I went to Sir John with the prisoner's wife, the two prisoners went in the coach: the chest was opened at Sir John's; the man at the bar there said he did not trouble himself about it, for he knew he must be hanged; the sister said the same. There were no threats or promises, nor questions, but what the man said of himself voluntary; he said he had sold a great quantity of plate to one Solomon Hart , a Jew, in Houndsditch: Sir John granted a warrant, and we went to my Lord-Mayor and had it backed. Edward M'Ginnis went in the coach with us; we searched at two houses: we did not find the man; we found Hart's sister, and brought her before my Lord-Mayor, and as the people were waiting at Sir John's, my Lord desired us to take her there; she was examined and, sent to the Gatehouse; the chest was packed up, and sent to Mr. Adair's house before we came back.

Henry Wright . Last Friday morning I went along with Mr. Stevenson and others, to a garret up two pair of stairs forwards, in Hare street; when I burst the door open, there were the two prisoners and the man's wife: I tied the man's hands together, and afterwards he said, he wanted to speak to me; he took me to the door and said, you will not get above 50 l. by hanging me, and I'll give you 50 l. if you will let me go about my business; I said, I will talk to you by and by: we brought the prisoners and the wife, and the things to Sir John Fielding's; he said before Sir John, he received 24 l. of the Jew for the plate, and he was to have at the rate of two guineas a pound, for the large quantity of plate, that there were 39 pounds of it weighed by a pair of steelyards; that he sold it to a Jew in Duke's-place, and he was to carry the remainder of the plate the next morning, to receive the remainder of the money; then he was to go abroad: he went with us in a coach to the sign of the Mansion-house, till my Lord-Mayor backed the warrant; then we went to Houndsditch; he shewed us a house where were three rooms on a floor, in the farthest room were the steelyards that he said the plate was weighed with, tied up in a napkin: we did not find the Jew. Then we went to Hart's father's; there we found one Rosey Hart , which he said was his sister; we took her with us; when we came back to Sir John's, the man at the bar said his wife was innocent, that nobody was concerned in the robbery but his sister and he: she was set at liberty. I went to Newgate, and brought the girl at the bar to Sir John's again; she said, I know I shall die for it, but I hope my father will not hear of it; she said she had lived at that place but about four months. This confession was made without any promise or threats.

John Dateham The first time I saw Edward M'Ginnis was the 7th of this month; he came to me in Covent-garden; I am a porter, and ply there; he took me into Russel-street to carry a chest to Gray's-inn-lane; there were some wearing apparel in it; this was betwixt four and five in the afternoon; he went along with me and carried a hair chest; when I came to Gray's-inn-lane,

he said, a little farther; so we went to Liquor-pond-street, facing Leather-lane; there I left the chest, in a room up two pair of stairs.

Q. Describe the chest.

Dateham. It was a large chest, very near a yard deep, of a stone colour; I saw the chest, I saw it afterwards at the same place last Friday when the prisoners were taken; this I informed Sir John Fielding of, upon which account they were found out.

Q. Did you know Jane M'Ginnis before?

Dateham. No, I never saw her in my life before she was taken.

Mr. Adair. I missed such a watch out of a drawer in my escrutoire (taking the gold watch in his hand) I believe this to be the same; I never much examined it: it is a watch I had in trust for my brother's children. The woman at the bar lived servant with me three months and some days; the plate was missing between the 7th and 8th of this instant May.

Edward M'Ginnis's defence.

I know nothing how the goods came there; I never was in Mr. Adair's house in my life.

Jane M'Ginnis's defence.

My brother never was in Mr. Adair's house; I pray mercy of my master and the court.

Q. to Bay. What time did you miss the goods?

Bay. They were all taken away in the night, between the 7th and 8th of this instant.

To Edward's character.

Henry Fry . I live in Weaver's-street, Spitalfields; the man at the bar worked about thirteen months for my father; he behaved very well that time.

Q. How long is this ago?

Fry. This is six years ago. I know nothing of him either before or since.

Patrick Short . I live in Well-street; I have known him about ten weeks; I never heard any ill of him: I know nothing of his sister.

To her character.

Mrs. Smith. I have known Jane M'Ginnis two years and a half; she is very honest and sober; I have trusted her with plate and things in my house, and never missed any thing.

Mr. Robinson. She lived with me a year and three quarters.

Q. How long has she been gone from you?

Mr. Robinson. She has been gone from me about four or five months: she behaved very well; she was trusted with all that was in the house; we never knew she ever wronged us of a farthing.

Burch Anderson. I have been frequent in Mr. Robinson's house when she lived there; I never heard any ill of her.

Both guilty . Death .


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