15th January 1783
Reference Numbert17830115-28

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (front matter) | Next text (trial account) >

118. CHARLES BREAWOOD was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 21st of December last, four ounces and a half

of silver, value 24 s. the goods of Peter Bateman .


On the 21st of December last, a servant of mine came down and informed me I was wanted in my work-shop; my foreman acquainted me with his suspicions of the prisoner whom he had stopped; I sent for an officer, and ordered him to search him; I was present while he was searched; there were four ounces and a half of silver, in a state of working, not finished, nor unfinished.

Court. Was there any thing in this silver that enabled you to know it? - I knew none of it.

What is the prisoner? - His father worked with me three years, and he was apprentice to his father at that time.

How has he been employed lately? - He has a mother; his father died last December was a twelve month; I believe he has been in a gentleman's service since.

Was he working with any body at the business at that time? - Not that I know, I have no particular knowledge of the silver; I gave charge of the prisoner, he was taken before the sitting Magistrate and committed.

Prisoner's Council. You have known this boy some time? - Three years.

Did not he several times come to your house? - Yes.

He had a free intercourse? - Yes.

Did not he inform you that he was out of employment, and should be much obliged to you to get him into employment? - Yes.

Have not you at different times told him that you would exert your self in that way? No sir, I deny it; the boy came backwards and forwards: I employ near 40 men.

Whether this young man did not when you saw him, make application to you to get him into some honest employ? - Once I allow, I never gave my promise more than once.

Did not you understand when that boy came again, it was for that purpose? - No, sir.

- FULLER sworn.

I am foreman to Mr. Bateman, the prisoner came to me, the 20th of last month, between four and five, he brought a silver seal in his hand and applied to me to know if I had one by me that I could finish the while he staid about that size; having one by me of that size, I did it while he stopped, except the polishing which was not my business; I saw no more of him that evening after he was gone, as his unbecoming behaviour in the shop, caused a general suspicion.

Court. Let us know what that unbecoming behaviour was? - Such as putting his hands where they file their linnel and turning it about, which was taken notice of: he came again on the 21st, I asked him whether he had got his seal polished, he said no; the polisher was not in the way then, but he should get it done; I saw him advance towards the box where we keep sundry articles of silver, in an unfinished state, this box stands against a window, which gives light to the place where the pack up their working boxes for their country connections; I left the shop of work, and went into this packing place, and close to the window I stood and saw the prisoner put his hand in that box sundry times, and take it out again and put it into his pocket; I could not see what it was; the prisoner moved from the place, and bid the men of the shop good night; I went down stairs before the prisoner, and went to see for the prosecutor; but he was not in his compting house, I then asked the prisoner to go up again as Mr. Bateman, wanted to speak to him which he did; I sent for the prosecutor, and when he came up, he sent for a constable and searched him, there was found upon him four ounces and half of silver, which had been in that box.

I knew the working of the silver, the prisoner said, if the prosecutor would go into another room, he would speak with

him; the prosecutor said, no, he should be searched there; he then begged for pardon; the prosecutor said, he should trust to the law for that; then the prisoner said, if you will not do your best, you may do your worst.

Prisoner's Council. You have known the prisoner some time? - Yes.

He has had frequent access to this house backwards and forwards? - Yes.

And without any degree of suspicion? - Yes, Sir, for me.

Do you mean to intimate by that, that there was any suspicion in the house? - No, Sir, not that I know of.

On the 21st the seal was finished? - No, on the 20th.

Then down to the 20th or 21st, you never had any reason to suspect the prisoner's honesty? - No, sir.

You described a very extraordinary curiosity in looking over the different things in the shop? - Handling them.

Is that a curiosity very extraordinary? - Yes, Sir.

Do not you think the same curiosity would have fallen upon me, or any other man in this court that had come into your shop, to have taken things up, and to have looked at them? - I do not think it would; where there is a great quantity of silver laying about, it causes suspicion.

If any other man had done that, would it have given you a suspicion that he was a thief? - It might.

You spoke of a box that had some silver in it? - I suppose it might have a hundred ounces, or two hundred; it has had three before now.

In what state was that silver? - It is silver in an unfinished state, in all degrees, some forwarder than others.

Did not that box contain silver in your shop, in the same kind of state that all boxes would contain silver in another silversmith's shop? - It might, or it might not.

Then I should suppose if another silversmith's silver was examined in your box, it would be impossible for you to make a distinct severance? - No, Sir, every man would know his own silver.

Can you then swear to this silver? - Part of it I can.

Did you see the prisoner take any part of it yourself? - I saw him put his hand in this box, and take it out, and put it in his pocket; I could not discover what he had in his hand when he put it into his pocket.

Had you any suspicion when he put his hand into the box, and put it into his pocket, that he was doing what was wrong? Yes, Sir.


I am journeyman to Mr. Bateman; on the Saturday before Christmas I was at work, and was going to finish, but my shopmate said, count over your work; I missed a button; the bell was rung; I was ordered into the counting house.


Here is the silver that I took out of the prisoner's pocket, I have had it in my possession ever since.

(The silver produced and deposed to by the Prosecutor.)

Court to Fuller. Do you know the silver? - Upon my oath, Sir, I say these three pieces were in the box at the time he put his hand in.

What reason had you to take particular notice of this? - Two or three of them came under my hands that afternoon, and one of them under the hands of a lad that works under me.

Edward Terris . The button and the studs are my making, and Mr. Bateman's property.

What do you know them by? - I had not finished them before; there is my master's mark on them; and every man knows his own work.

What mark is that? - H. B.


On the 20th of December I wanted a seal, and came to Mr. Bateman's, and asked Fuller whether he had finished it; I carried it down to the polisher's and he was not at home; I said, I could not stay, I had to go into the country; I came for it the next day, and went to the Blue Anchor, and there were three of Mr. Bateman's men intoxicated; and I went over for this seal, and they charged me with having the silver in my pocket; how it came into my pocket I cannot tell.


What are you? - I am a weaver.

Have you had any opportunity to day, of being in company with any of the parties that have given testimony on this trial? - I have seen this gentleman, and this, and the constable; I have seen him several times; and I saw this man here take the silver out at the Pit's Head himself, and shew it to the rest of the company; and I saw this man take the buttons out of his pocket, and shew him; and he shewed it on the table at the Pit's Head; and the buttons were in another paper, though he swore that they never were out of his custody; I saw the man open the paper, and shut the paper; the constable was not in the room at the time; it was not the constable that shewed it; it was this here gentleman in the brown coat; I saw it myself, I will swear to the thing myself.

Court to Edward Wells . Is this true? - No, I have been appraized of this circumstance before I came into court, by a person that is now here; she told me, says she, Mr. Wells, it has been represented to me that you have opened the paper, I said, it was a falsity, nor this paper never has been one minute out of my possession; I kept this paper in my breeches pocket; and Fuller said, you will oblige me to let me look at it; I never quitted the table; I observed to Ferris, says I, keep your hands away, I will have nothing taken out, neither shall there be any opportunity of putting any thing in: I was not one minute away.

Court to Ferris. Was you present when these papers were opened? - Yes.

There was nothing put into the paper, not taken from it? - No, Sir.

The prisoner called four witnesses who gave him a good character.


Transported for seven years .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

View as XML