12th September 1781
Reference Numbert17810912-38

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507. JOHN BURROWS was indicted for that he falsely, deceitfully, feloniously and traiterously, one piece of base coin, resembling the current legal coin of this realm, called a shilling, did colour with materials producing the colour of silver, against the duty of his allegiance, and against the statute , September 8th .

Second count. For colouring counterfeit sixpences.


On the 8th of this month, myself, and some more officers from Bow-street, went to a broker's shop in Crown-court, Knaves Acre . We got there about eight, or a quarter before eight o'clock in the morning. The broker was taking down the shutters of the shop. We asked if Mr. Burrows lodged there: he said, he had no lodgers in the house. I was not satisfied with that, but ran up stairs immediately. In the two-pair-of-stairs back room, the wife, I believe it is of the prisoner, was in bed: I did not say any thing to her; but she immediately jumped out of bed in her shift, and said, the man you want is in that room; that was the room opposite: she directly ran up the garret stairs. I thought what she was about, and ran by her upon the stairs. I went into the sore garret; there were there three, four, or five of the prisoner's children. Out of the garret on the left hand, there was a further room: there was a door-place, but no door. In that room, I saw the prisoner sitting at work, at a table at the further end of the room, with his back towards me; I could see him as soon as I got to the top of the stairs: he was in his waistcoat, without sleeves, and had a handkerchief tied over his head, and a green apron, or cloth, before him. I immediately ran towards him; he turned his head round: he had some scowering paper and a pair of knippers in his hand, which had either a counterfeit shilling or sixpence in it. I saw him fling it down, and there were three pieces lay together: I immediately catched hold of him as he was rising out of his chair, and then Prothero and Phillips came in. I held the prisoner's hands, and Phillips searched his pockets; he took some silver out of his left-hand pocket, and some colouring along with it.

(A great quantity of blanks and counterfeit shillings produced in court.)

Carpmeal. These were all upon the table he was at work at. They are all base-metal counterfeits of shillings and sixpences in different stages of the process: here are some that were rubbed with scowering paper.

(A quantity of utensils and materials produced.)

Carpmeal. Here are some of the filings of the base metal; here are cocks and sticks, which they smooth them with the last time before they put them into the liquor. We found some aqua fortis in the other garret, a pot with pickle in it, that is a composition made with aqua fortis; it makes a dampness upon the metal, and makes them have an old look.

Who was with you besides Phillips and Prothero? - Jealous and Macmanus. There was a neighbouring gentleman, Mr. Poole, came up into the room.


I went with the other officers from Bow-street. Mr. Carpmeal and I went up stairs: Mrs. Burrows was in bed in the two-pair-of-stairs room: we went into the room: said she, the man you want is in the room opposite. We were going to look through the key-hole of the door: she ran by, and ran up towards the garret; Carpmeal and I followed her, and got before her. In the back garret I saw Mr. Burrows, just as he had got up from the chair. Mr. Carpmeal went first into the room: he took hold of him, and I searched his pocket; he was in his waistcoat, and had a handkerchief tied about his head; I searched him; and in his left-hand waistcoat pocket I found these five counterfeit sixpences

loose, and some stuff for pickling: and I found a half-guinea and a half-crown in his breeches-pocket, good money, which I returned him. In the same room I found this pipkin, with the stuff that is now in it: in the fore room I found two phials of aqua fortis.


I went with Carpmeal and Phillips to this house. When I first went into the shop, I asked the landlord of the house if he had any lodgers; he told me no; I said I was very sure he had: I desired Carpmeal to go up stairs; he went up, and in half a minute I followed him. When I got up stairs, they had got the prisoner in custody; he was close to the table. I saw all these implements there.


You have been employed by the Solicitor of the Mint in most prosecutions for coining? - I have, for these fourteen years past.

Look at these blanks, and the implements produced, and give the Court an account of what they are. - These blanks are cast in flasks, upon a spray; then they are separated, and filed on the edges; then with scowering paper they take off the roughness the sand occasions; after that, they are put into aqua fortis, which forces the silver to the surface of the copper, and turns them white: then they are thrown into water; that mollifies the strength of the aqua fortis: then they are rubbed with sand and water, which takes off the stain left by the aqua fortis. Here is one sixpence in the rough; that is a blank: here is another finished, which is cast from the same pattern. These things produced are a complete apparatus for the colouring the metal. It is the custom now to cast them in the country, and send them up to London to be finished. Here is one sixpence found upon the table in the room, which is perfected; it is exactly the same impression of those found in his waistcoat pocket.

How much silver is there in one of these counterfeit sixpences? - To the value of 2 d 1/2 or 2 d 3/4 in a shilling.


I am one of the Moneyers of the Mint (cuts that sixpence). This is counterfeit.

Prisoner. I leave my defence to my Counsel.

For the Prisoner.


My husband keeps the house where the prisoner lodged: he lodged with us fourteen months. He has a most worthy character: I never heard any other till the morning these gentlemen came to our house after Mr. Burrows.

Counsel for the Crown. You knew his name? - Yes, Burrows.

You saw these men come and ask for him? - I did not see them come in: I was just that moment gone down stairs: when I came up, they were all gone up stairs.

Prisoner. Was there not a great many old paint pots and some lumber in the room, belonging to the broker, when I took the room? - There were several paint pots and things, but I can't justly say what they were.


I have known the prisoner about nine months: I never heard any harm of him.

Jury to Elizabeth Hamilton . What part of the house did the prisoner rent of you? - The three pair of stairs.

Jury. Did the back garret belong to him? - Yes, he rented that also.

GUILTY . ( Death .)

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice ASHHURST.

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