21st April 1773
Reference Numbert17730421-51

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423. (2d L.) JOHN MARTIN was indicted for that he not being employed in or for the Mint, in the Tower of London, or else where, nor being authorised by the Lords of the Treasury, against the duty of his allegiance, knowingly, feloniously, and traiterously had in his custody and possession, an engine not of common use in any trade, but contrived for marking of money round the edges with graving, resembling the common current coin of this realm .

Second Count called an engine contrived for making money round the edges with marks resembling the coin of his Majesty's Mint.

Third Count called it an edger for marking with gravings round the edges.

Fourth Count an edger with marks resembling the current coin of his Majesty's Mint.

(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoner.)

William Morris . I was a prisoner for debt in the Compter: on the 27th of last February, soon after eight o'clock, I saw the prisoner sitting on a bench in the tap room; he was brought in for some quarrel in the night or something; I went up stairs, then I came down again with a Mr. Essex a brother debtor; and I saw the prisoner sitting upon the same bench; I observed one of the felons seemingly busy at his coat pocket; and I went throught the tap-room into the back kitchen; I was going to mention it as soon as I got into the kitchen, but a woman there said she thought it was a pity nobody took care of that poor man who seemed to be in liquor, for the felons were busy about his pockets; I went to him, tapped him on the shoulder and said my friend, step this way; he went with me into the kitchen; I said what have you in your coat pocket? have you lost nothing? he put in his hand, and said no; as he stood up I saw there was a piece cut out of his breeches; and his pocket was cut; I said why they have cut your breeches pocket, he looked and said, Lord bless me so they have; I asked him if he had any money; he answered no, nothing but a bit of per; several of us thought it was a shame the felons should use him so bad; so we advised him to go up and complain to Mr. Kirby the keeper; we went up but he was not at home; then we applied to Mr. Baron, the under keeper; he was gone to market I believe; we came back to the tap; then the prisoner asked me to have some purl; I refused it; he then called me into a long passage, which is so dark that you cannot see without a candle; there he put his hand to his pocket, and took some things out that were loose, some out of one pocket, and some out of another, and desired me to take care of them till he returned from my Lord Mayor's; I put them in my pocket not knowing what they were; and it was so dark I could not see what they were.

Q. What time of day was this?

Morris. Between nine and ten o'clock I believe; I went up into my own room, when I came to the top of the tap room stairs into the yard; there was a fellow, that had cut the prisoner's pocket, seemed to be making a stir; he was angry that we had been to Mr. Kirby to have him locked up, and said, d - n him, he is a clipper and a coiner, and was shewing something he had; it a little surprized me to think what he had given me; I then called one Mr. Richards a watchmaker, another debtor, and took him into the coffee-room with me; then I pulled out the things the prisoner had given me, and shewed them to him; I had not seen them before; he said something which gave me suspicion; I said I would go and deliver them to Mr. Baron the under keeper which I did; I had them in my custody, not more I suppose than half an hour; I went down stairs to the tap; Mr. Baron came in in two or three minutes; I desired the prisoner might be called; he came; I said what things are these you have given me? I do not know what they are, but let them be what they will, I shall deliver them to Mr. Baron, in your presence; he made no answer at all; I took them out and delivered them to Mr. Baron

in his presence; Baron said this is just such a tool as the man was cast for last session. *

* See the trial of Joseph Piddack last Sessions.

Q. What did the prisoner say to that?

Morris. I did not hear him say a word; one thing I have omitted; while I waited for Mr. Baron's coming in after I had found what things they were, the prisoner walked in the yard with me, and begged for God's sake that I would secret those things, and I should never want for a guinea; Mr. Essex and I were walking together; the prisoner signified he had something to say to me; Mr. Essex walked on and then the prisoner said what I have just mentioned. I made him no answer at all.

Q. How long, might this be before Baron came?

Morris. I believe about ten minutes.

Q. Did you see Baron before he came into the bar?

Morris. No, I did not; when he spoke to me to secret these things, he said he hoped that the person that cut his pocket would not offer it for sale, for if he did he would be stopt, for they were clippings; he did not say of what, nor did I ask him; I did not say any thing to it.

Q. Did you deliver the same things to Baron that you received of the prisoner?

Morris. I did.

Q. Was he taken before my Lord Mayor the same day?

Morris. Yes; I did not go before my Lord till the 30th of March; then I was examined and bound over to appear here.

He was asked on his cross examination; whether Essex heard the prisoner ask him to conceal the circumstance of his having given him the things; to which he answered he believed not.

Ralph Baron . I am one of the under-keepers of Wood-street Compter: the prisoner was brought to the compter about one or two in the morning of the 10th of March, for a riot in the street.

Q. Do you know William Morris ?

Baron. He was in execution in our prison then; he sent for me about ten o'clock to the inside of the prison; I was without five the gate, in the passage leading from the tap room just by the bar door; he delivered me some things.

Q. Was Martin present when he delivered the things to you?

Baron. Not to my knowledge; Martin was then in the tap room I believe.

Q. How far was he off?

Baron. Four or five yards I believe; he was called into the bar; I think we sent for him in.

Q. What did Morris say in his presence?

Baron. I cannot recollect; Morris said he had got some things from Martin which he thought were of the coining kind.

Q. Where was Martin at that time?

Baron. He was not there; he shewed them to me; I told him I knew the use of them very well; I had seen some the sessions before; Martin was sent for almost directly; Morris sent for him to acquaint him that he had delivered them to me; he did acquaint him of it; I told Morris I should keep them in custody till I went before my Lord Mayor.

Q. Did you say any thing to the prisoner about it?

Baron. I am not sure whether I did or not; he was carried to the Mansion-house about two hours after on account of what he had been taken up for; I acquainted my Lord Mayor with what had passed about these things and produced them in Martin's presence; Martin saw them and said he found them in the middle of Hatton-garden; he was remanded back to prison touching this matter; my Lord Mayor sealed them up with three seals and I set the initials of my name by the side of the seals, and my Lord Mayor kept them; I received them sealed up from my Lord Mayor last Thursday, when I opened them before the Grand Jury; and I have had them in my possession ever since.

Q. Did you search the prisoner's lodging?

Baron. Yes; he told us where his lodgings were; one was No. 1 Huggin-alley, Wood-street; I found nothing particular at that place but a piece of a flint and a pot and a piece of stick; it was something of a melting pot, a small round pot with a hand in to it, it had some kind of cement in it, and it appeared to have been on the fire; and a piece of thin stick was in the pot; he had another place at St. Giles's which he gave the key of, in Nottingham-court, at the Red-Lion; I found there small hammer, a piece of file, a piece of box wood the same sort as that exactly, only it appeared to be a little more used in the same way as that is; I delivered these things to John Worsley the constable; we have enquired after him, and hear he is run away; I have not seen him this fortnight or three weeks; when the things were produced before my Lord Mayor, the prisoner said there was another piece of box of the same sort in his trunk, and when we went to his lodgings we found it.

On his cross examination, he said the prisoner readily delivered the key of his lodgings and of his trunk.

Counsel for the Crown. Do you remember his offering a man to prove that he saw him take them up?

Baron. Yes; a man who has since turned out to be one Draper; that was a fortnight after the first examination; he said on his first examination, he could produce a person to prove it; it was on the 13th of March; Draper came there and said he saw him pick them up; they disagreed in their accounts of the place, and my Lord Mayor would not let him be sworn.

Mr. Joseph Sage . I am one of the moneyers in the mint.

Q. Do you know of any use for these things that have been produced?

Sage. I know of none but edging of money; this file appears to have been used in filing of gold; this piece of box is what the coin has been run upon for the purpose of edging the money; it is put in this grove, and the box is run over it, which makes the impression upon the edges. (Several shillings were milled in court with it, with great facility.)

Q. Is that box wood what is used for the purpose?

Sage. We never use any box with us.

Q. Them scissars will cut a shilling I believe?

Sage. Yes.

Q. And these are gold scales?

Sage. Yes.

Cross Examination.

Q. There are other things you can edge with this instrument?

Sage. I do not believe you can edge any thing with it, but guineas and shillings.

Q. Did you never see a medal edged?

Sage. No, never in my life.

Counsel. Here are several that are milled (producing them); these were bought publickly this morning; all you know is that these may mill money, you do not say they do?

Sage. O, no.

Q. And these scales are only common scales?

Sage. Yes.

Q. And these are scissars they have in every stable to cut horses heels?

Sage. I think they would cut either a guinea or a shilling.

Q. Would not any strong pair of scissars do that?

Sage. Yes, every pair of scissars of that kind.

Prisoner's Defence.

I know nothing at all of the use of them; I found them; I was so much in liquor I did not readily know where.

For the Prisoner.

Hugh Henrietta . I saw my master Mr. - buy those seven medals, at Will's shop at the monument; he gave a shilling and had a sixpence in change.

Q. Did he buy them in the same condition they are in now?

Henrietta. Yes; I am sure there has nothing been done to them since.

Judith Lawton . The prisoner came to lodge with me this time twelve-month; he left me about six months ago, I never took any bad money of him; and he behaved very well.

John Tasker . I have known the prisoner thirteen or fourteen years; he was footman to a gentleman where I was at work; he bore a very good character; he left that service ten or twelve years ago; I have known him since he came to town.

Q. What business has he followed here?

Tasker. He has been in service.

Guilty . Death .

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