BENJAMIN ROGERS.
9th September 1772
Reference Numbert17720909-26
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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631. (L.) BENJAMIN ROGERS was indicted for feloniously making, forging, and counterfeiting a certain order for the payment of money , in the words, letters and figures following, viz.

London, 30th May, 1772.

No. F. 1138.

Sir Robert Ladbroke , Son, Rawlinson, and Porkor, pay to James Cranstoun , Esq; or bearer, three hundred pounds.

John Alexander .

£. 300

with intention to defraud Sir Robert Ladbroke , Knt . Robert Ladbroke , Esq ; Walter Rawlinson , Esq; and John Porkor , Esq; bankers and copartners .

Second Count, for uttering the said order with the same intention.

Third Count, for forging the said order with intention to defraud John Alexander .

Fourth Count, for the like uttering with intention to defraud John Alexander .

Fifth Count, for uttering, as true, a certain altered order for the payment of 300 l. knowing the same to have been altered, with intention to defraud Sir Robert Ladbroke , &c.

Sixth Count, for the like uttering with intention to defraud John Alexander . +

William Murphey . I am clerk to Messrs. Sir Robert Ladbroke and Son, Walter Rawlinson , and John Porkor , they are bankers and partners in Lombard street.

Q. Do you know Mr. John Alexander ?

Murphey. Yes; he lives at Grocer's Hall; he keeps Cash at our shop; he has done so since the 16th of April, 1771; upon the 30th of May, 1772, about five o'clock in the evening, a person came to me, and presented this draught for payment of 300 l. (producing the forged draught) I paid it myself; I asked his name; he said it was Berg; I asked him who he received it for; he said for Mr. Westport or Westforth; I put it down thus, for Westport per Berg; I paid it in bank-notes, two single hundreds, two thirties, and one twenty pounds, and the rest in money; I entered the bank-notes immediately.

Council. Refer to your book.

Murphey. Here is the entry in the book, reads,

1261, 30th of May, 100 l.

(when the date comes within the year, we do not particularly mention it.)

367, 18th of May, 100 l.

K 11, 22d of January 20 l.

K 325, 11th of January. 30 l.

B 77, 9th of May, 30 l, and

20 l. in Cash.

we draw a cross over the name of the drawer; I made an entry immediately, thus,

J. Alexander Cranstoun , 300.

Q. Is there in that book the entry of all the transactions every day, in the order they arise?

Murphey. Yes; it is the original entry; this entry is made by John Hornedge ; it is entered also in Mr. Alexander's book; this entry is by one John Watson , another of the clerks.

Q. Do you know whether that account has been settled between Sir Robert and Mr Alexander?

Murphey. Yes.

Mr. Alexander. This is my cash-book, in which the account is kept between the banker and me ( producing it); I generally send it to be settled about once in two months.

Q. to Murphey. How long was it after the payment, before Mr. Alexander left his book to be settled?

Murphey. I believe he left his book about the 25th of July, it might lie two or three days before delivered back again; it was returned back on the 27th of July.

Q Had you at that time charged Mr. Alexander with this 300 l. as paid for his use?

Murphey. Yes; when we settled the book, we delivered up the vouchers in the pocket of the book; this draught was with the others; on the 27th of July, an hour or two after Mr. Alexander had received his book, he brought it back; he did not recollect that he had drawn such a draught, upon inspection it appeared to be a forgery. (The draught read.) We distinguished a cross upon the name, Alexander, had been erased, we perceived that the 1 of 1771, had been altered to a 2, to make it 1772.

Q. Do you remember ever after this seeing the prisoner?

Murphey. Yes; he came to our shop with Mr. Alexander's son; on the 29th of July, in the evening, between four and five o'clock; I sent over to the Bank to know if Mr. Larchen, the cashier, was there, in order that he might see him, I had been informed that one of the banknotes of 30 l. had been paid at the Bank on the 27th; Mr. Larchen was not at the Bank, an appointment was made for this prisoner to come next day at twelve o'clock; he promised to come, but did not; about a week after we heard he was going down to Gloucester by Mr. Alexander's son; we had notice, on the 10th of August, of the other 30 l. note, having been paid at the Bank; we were informed that he had negotiated this bill at Gloucester; I went down on the 10th of August at night to Gloucester, and we took the prisoner into custody on the 13th; he was taken in the house of Mr. Chamberlayne, at Colthorpe, within four miles

of Gloucester, the constable called me in as soon as he was taken. I asked him if he knew Mr. Alexander; he stammered or hesitated a good deal, and said he did not; I repeated the name several times; I then said you certainly must know Mr. Alexander, you have been a clerk there.

Q. Had you told him the occasion for which he was taken up by the officer before that?

Murphey. No; he then said he had been clerk, and knew Mr. Alexander; I then asked him if he recollected having any bank-notes in his custody lately; he said he did not; I then asked him if he recollected his having changed one with Mr. Everett of Gloucester; he made no reply.

Q. How did he appear when you asked him that question?

Murphey. He turned aside and made no reply; I said, you promised to come to Sir Robert Ladbroke 's last week, the day after you was there, and did not; he said he received a letter from Gloucester, promising him three months employment, he called it work at his business.

Q. Upon this discovery, and after Rogers was taken in custody, what has been done since? where did the loss fall?

Murphey. Upon Sir Robert, and Co. we have replaced the money to Mr. Alexander, and Sir Robert and Co. have charged themselves with the loss; the entry is in our cash book, that is the same book wherein he had been made debtor. (reads)

"J. Alexander, his draught paid a second time, 300 l. that is, creditor; in Mr. Alexander's book, it is passed to his credit, his draught paid a second time, and placed to his credit." It was placed to his credit the 19th of August.

Q. Has there been a balance struck since that?

Murphey. Yes; the book was balanced, and his account settled; he is totally discharged from that payment; the book is looked upon as a receipt.

Cross Examination.

Q. You have said, Mr. Alexander has kept cash since the 16th of April 1771, at your house, has he not often draughts for payment?

Murphey. Yes.

Q. Do you ever recollect to have seen the prisoner at your house?

Murphey. No.

Q. Nor you cannot say that draught was paid to him of 300 l.?

Murphey. No.

Q. Did you tell him when you went down to Gloucester who you was?

Murphey. No; I believe he recollected me; I fancy so.

Q. When you asked him, do you know a Mr. Alexander, then not knowing who you was, do you think he might not have imagined it a Mr. Alexander in that part of the world?

Murphey. I cannot tell; I thought it unnecessary to say Alexander of Grocer's Hall.

Q. You said he seemed to turn aside when you mentioned charging the note with Mr. Everett, might not that be by the common manner of turning himself?

Murphey. He appeared to be a good deal confused and made no reply.

Q. It did not seem a confusion arising from guilt?

Murphey. I imagine it was from guilt.

Q. from the Prisoner. As you frequently paid several considerable sums for Mr. Alexander to me by the name of Rogers, how came you to pay it to me then as by the name of Berg?

Murphey. I do not recollect to have seen him till the 27th.

Thomas Watson . This is the entry, I made by order of the partners, for replacing the money to Mr. Alexander; I made the entry of it in Mr. Alexander's book; I saw Mr. Porkor sign this balance.

Mr. John Alexander . I have kept cash with Sir Robert Ladbroke and Co. from the 16th of April 1771, downwards; the prisoner had been clerk to Mr. Bolt of Lyons-Inn; I had a good opinion of his abilities as well as his integrity; he had been employed as a principal agent in an office. I took him into my service, January 1769; he continued with me to about the middle of July 1771; I gave him a guinea a week.

Q. Had you no other clerk?

Alexander. None but my son, who was under him in the office; on the 30th of May; 1771, I drew that draught, and sometime afterwards the draught was returned and cancelled. It is always my custom to put the draught in a drawer among other loose papers, which all my servants know of; it was put amongst waste paper, clerks or servants might take them as they thought proper when they wanted waste paper; in July last, about the 27th, I had left my book to be settled; I called for it a few days afterwards,

and had my book with the vouchers returned; seeing that draught returned, I was surprized. I went back with the draught and the book to Sir Robert Ladbroke 's shop; I told Mr. Porkor I had not drawn such a draught at that time. Mr. Cranstoun was captain of the Intrepid, and was abroad at that time, I believe in the East-Indies. Upon inspecting it, the figure seemed to be altered; Mr. Porkor was of that opinion. I left it there; Mr. Ladbroke came to me, and said, that is the draught of 71, it is altered, the 2 is wrote upon a raiser, and the cross at first made upon my name is erased.

Q. And you have credit given you for the cash in account?

Alexander. Yes; and the account is settled.

William Holloway . I pay the bank-notes at the bank; I paid this bank-note, K 325, on the 11th of January 1772; here are my initials upon it, a mark I put when I pay a bank-note; I paid it the 27th of July last; I do not know who I paid it to; the word, Piccadilly, upon the face of the note, appeared to be Mr. Larchant's hand.

Q. to Mr. Alexander. You have no doubt often seen the prisoner write?

Alexander. Yes.

Q. From your recollection of his hand-writing, can you form any judgement or belief whether any of this is his writing?

Alexander. Here is a difference in the s in Westport; he seldom made a long s, which that is; he wrote an indifferent hand: the writing upon that bank-note, Geo. is like the handwriting of the prisoner, and the first part of the sirname, West.; I do believe it to be his handwriting. I discharged him about the middle of July, on complaint of a disorder in his head.

Mr. William Alexander . I am son to Mr. Alexander; on the 29th of July, after having heard what had been done with respect to this note. I wrote a note to the prisoner, by Mr. Ladbroke's desire, to come to me upon business.

Q. Where did he live?

W. Alexander. At Hoxton; He came; I took him to Sir Robert Ladbroke 's; he did not ask me what my business was with him. This is the note. ( Reads it.)

Mr. Alexander desires to see Mr. Rogers on the receipt of this, to ask him a question about business, or begs he will call at four o'clock.

1/4 past 2, 27 July 1772. Grocer's Hall.

Mr. Murphey was there, we sent to the Bank, but it was shut; he agreed to call upon us next day at twelve o'clock, but he did not come.

Q. You was, I believe, with your father when Rogers was his clerk?

W. Alexander. Yes.

Q. You have often seen him write?

W. Alexander. Yes.

Q. What do you think of that Geo. Westport ?

W. Alexander. The Geo. and the West. has a sort of resemblance to his hand-writing.

Cross Examination.

Q. He went with you to Sir Robert Ladbroke 's without any reluctance?

W. Alexander. Yes.

Court. Did you tell him before you came to Sir Robert Ladbroke 's your business with him?

W. Alexander. I either told him before we went out or by the way; I am sure I told him before I got there.

John Horledge . I made this entry in Mr. Alexander's book, giving him credit for 300 l. by direction of the partners. John Alexander debtor to Cranstoun 300 l. 30th of May 1771. I take this to be the draught; I took the draught, and crossed the name as usual; this was delivered up to Mr. Alexander the next time his book was settled.

Mark Everet . I live at Gloucester; I have seen the prisoner there many times; I have known him these twenty years; he came to me on Monday the 3d of August, and asked me to give him cash for a 30 l. bank-note; then he said he wanted but 10 l. in cash; I told him I would give him a 20 l. draught, and 10 l. in cash; he said he wanted two 10 l. bank-bills; I had none so small at that time by me; I went to Mr. Nibblet, and got three 10 l. bank-notes for the 30 l. note I received of the prisoner; I delivered the prisoner two of the 10 l. bank-notes.

Cross Examination.

Q. Is not the prisoner a Gloucestershire man?

Everet. I cannot tell; his father and family live there.

Q. He is very well known there?

Everet. Yes.

Q. He did not secrete himself there I believe?

Everet. I cannot tell.

Q. Did he tell you what time he was to stay there?

Everet. No.

William Johnson . I am apprentice to Mr. Nibblet, of Gloucester; I received this bank note of 30 l. from Mr. Everet, the 3d of August, 1772; I gave him three ten pound bank notes in exchange; I have here the memorandum of them: (reads)

355 (signed) William Gardner , payable to J. Penny. Entered by Lamberbt, 7th of July, 1770.

The second K 12 (signed) B. Sabberton, payable to P. Burrell. Dated 6th of August, 1770, entered P. Vitu.

The third H 242 (signed) Charles Jewson , payable to John Drummond , Esq; and Co. Dated 11 September, 1771, entered J. Warren.

William Nibblet . Mr. Murphey came to me to Gloucester, with a letter from Sir Robert's house, informing me of this forged draught, and that they suspected one Rogers; I assisted Mr. Murphey what I could to find him out; after some enquiry we found he was gone to Colthorpe, to Mr. Joseph Chamberlayne 's; Mr. Murphey and I went over, and we took two officers with us; we took him at Mr. Chamberlayne's; Mrs. Chamberlayne brought down this letter case, and this letter sealed in three or four places, but there was no direction on it: (producing them.) I opened the letter and found the two ten pound bank notes, paid by my clerk to Mr. Everet, and there were besides two notes of 100 l. each, and a 20 l. note, and she gave me eleven guineas and a half in money, which she said belonged to the prisoner; I found these three papers in the pocket book (producing them.)

Q. to Mr. Alexander. Please to look at these memorandums, and tell the court if you know whose hand writing they are.

Mr. Alexander, senior. I do believe them to be the prisoner's hand-writing.

Mr. Alexander, junior. They are the prisoner's hand-writing.

Q. The prisoner could write court hand, could he *?

* Part of the memorandums were in court hand.

Alexander. Yes; here is the Mr. Boult written upon one of the papers; the prisoner lived formerly with Mr. Boult of Lyons Inn.

Mary Chamberlayne . The prisoner came to my house at Colthorpe, near Gloucester, the Tuesday night before he was taken. He gave me this pocket book; I gave it to Mr. Nibblet the Thursday morning the prisoner was taken; there was a letter in it when he gave it me, sealed with three seals. I delivered it to Mr. Nibblet just as I received it from the prisoner.

Cross Examination.

Q. Did Rogers appear publicly when he came to your house?

Chamberlayne. Yes.

Q. He did not seem to be under any apprehension of any thing?

Chamberlayne. No; he was in very good spirits.

Q. He was known there, was not he?

Chamberlayne. He used to come down once in seven or eight years; (the bank notes read) th e two notes of 100 l. each were made payable to Sir Robert Ladbroke and Co. K 11

I promise to pay to Mr. Daniel Race , or bearer, upon demand, the sum of 20 l.

London, 22 Jan. 1772.

For the Governor and Co. of the Bank of England.

Edward Stone .

Entered G. Vitu.

20

Then the three papers found in the prisoners pocket book were read, which contained the exact numbers and marks of all the bank notes that had passed through his hands, arising from the produce of the draught, and also of several indor sements upon those notes. On the slap of the pocket book was written.

Benjamin Rogers ,

Lyons's Inn, Strand, London, 1765.

John Wells . I keep the Swan at Hoxton; I have seen the prisoner many times; he was at my house in August, 1771. There were some people stopping up a public path way there; he said he was employed to pull it down; I asked him who employed him; he said that was not material to me; he said he should not say any thing; there was something sufficient to carry a law suit on; he held something in his hand; he said I think it was of 300 l. value; he held it up between his fingers; it seemed to be much such a piece of paper as this (taking the forged draught in his hand.)

One of the papers produced, found in the prisoner's pocket book, contained the following memorandum, which corresponded with an advertisement, inserted in the Daily Advertiser, July 28, 1772, viz.

Bank Notes. On 30th of May last, the following bank notes were fraudulently obtained, therefore it is hoped that no person will give value for them,

and if offered in payment, it is earnestly requested that immediate notice may be sent to Mr. John Alexander , at Grocer's Hall, Poultry, who will give ten per cent. upon recovering all or or any part of the said sum. Payment is stopped at the Bank.

In the advertisement the notes are described.

Prisoner's Defence.

My council is instructed, my lord, in my defence.

Council for the Prisoner to young Mr. Alexander. Do you know of any notes the prisoner had given your father?

Alexander. No.

Q. Not a note payable in two months?

Alexander. No.

Q. to the elder Mr. Alexander. You remember, I believe, he gave you a note payable in two months?

Alexander. Yes; after he was gone from me.

For the Prisoner.

Robert Wyatt . I am a silk-dyer in Canon-street; I have known him upwards of twenty years; I never heard any thing amiss of him in my life.

James Scott . I am a confectioner; I have known him forty years; he always bore a good character.

Robert Thomas . I never had any connexions with him; I cannot say any thing to his character from my own knowledge.

Mr. Clark. The prisoner served his clerkship in Lyons inn; I never knew any thing amiss of him.

- Thomas and Beckerton who had known him between twenty and thirty years, gave him a good character.

Guilty . Death .


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