14th January 1784
Reference Numbert17840114-54
VerdictNot Guilty

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199. AMBROSE COOK was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 15th of December last, one tin nutmeg grater, value 1 d. one other nutmeg grater, value 1 d. and one guinea, value 1 l. 1 s and 9 s. 6 d. in monies numbered, the property of Thomas Adams , privily from the person of Elizabeth, the wife of the said Thomas Adams .


The back part of our house fell down, that we had not a bed in the house, and my husband and I was out looking for a house, being over and above fatigued we came home, he fell asleep, and I fell asleep by the side of him, and while I was asleep I had my pocket picked of these nutmeg graters and money, I was sitting by the fire in the shop, it was on the Monday night, December the 15th, I awoke with feeling something at my pocket, I awoke and fell asleep again, I saw nobody there but the prisoner, and I thought I had no disturb of him, I was not truly awake.

When did you awake again? - I awoke the last time a quarter after nine, when I awoke I missed my property, I put my hand in my pocket soon after and missed nine shillings and six-pence in silver, that was loose in my pocket, and two nutmeg graters, one was full of receipts and duplicates, and the other had a guinea wrapped up in a piece of paper; it was all gone, I did nothing that night, the prisoner dropped two notes that were in the nutmeg grater.

Mr. Garrow Council for the Prisoner. You was not by? - He was taken up the

next day; I know the prisoner very well, and took him and maintained him, he is a gardener , I made a bed for him in my own house, he had lived in my house before.

Did you see him that night? - No, I did not.

You have known the prisoner many years? - Yes.

You knew him before he went to sea? - Yes.

You knew him when he lived at Bristol? - Yes.

You lived there too I believe? - Yes.

Pray what business may you carry on at present, Mrs. Adams? - I keep an old clothes shop .

An open shop? - Yes, the door is always open.

At this time a part of your house was broke down? - Nobody could come in.

Nobody could come in to the house, the door of which was always open, and the back part broke down; is that what you mean to tell the Jury? - Nobody could come in at the back door.

But could not somebody come in at the front door? - Not without my seeing them.

Can you see in your sleep, it should seem you have all your faculties in your sleep; you feel in your sleep; you felt a hand in your pocket. - I saw nobody but my husband.

Then it might be your husband picking your pocket? - He never picks my pocket nor I have no occasion to pick his.

We shall talk a little about that by and by? - I know he did not pick my pocket.

Did you see who did pick your pocket? - There was nobody but the prisoner and my husband.

Was not you asleep all the time, and knew nothing at all about the matter? - I am sure it was picked at that hour.

How are you sure of that? - I am sensible I had the money when I sat down, I saw my nutmeg grater at eight o'clock at night, I paid money for the carriage of that chap's clothes.

You had been out all day seeking for lodgings? - I had.

You was a good deal tired and had been drinking a little I believe? - Very like I might.

Upon your oath, when you came home did not you lay down upon the floor drunk? - No, please your worship, I was not drunk.

Was you upon the floor asleep? - I was not, I was sitting on a basket.

Upon your oath, you was not laying upon the floor asleep? - I was not.

One would think you must have felt a good deal, when he picked your pocket? - A great many rogues will pick pockets quite easy.

Perhaps you know more on that subject than I do, have you no lodgers in your house? - No.

None of the same description you had at Bristol; have you no ladies lodge in your house? - What do you call ladies?

Why women, come? - There was nobody in the house at that time.

Your husband was there at the time? - By the side of me.

You did not tell him a word about loosing your money? - No.

Nor any body else? - No.

Now upon your oath, did you or not see the prisoner after this, that evening? - No, I did not.

Upon your oath, did not you ask him to eat bread and cheese that evening? - No, I did not.

Nor ask him what he would have for his supper? - I did not, if he had bread and cheese in my house it was whilst I was asleep.

Did not he come there and sup? - If he did it is more than I know.

Did he go to bed as usual that night? - He went to bed between twelve and one o'clock, as I was told.

In his usual lodging? - Yes.

He went to Hoxton the next day, to his uncle? - Yes.

What were these notes and papers that were in the nutmeg grater? - Some of them were duplicates, and others were receipts, that I paid money for.

Nothing else? - No.

No insurance papers? - There were some few insurance papers.

I believe the prisoner was so much in your confidence that he was your agent in insuring? - Never, I have sent him to know if such numbers were, never intrusted him with my papers to insure, I never gave him my papers, I have put the marks on his hat.

Do you recollect his bringing you a guinea as the produce of some of your insurances? - He never brought me a guinea in his life.

Did your husband know any thing about your insuring? - He always knew.

Did your husband know about your pawning the coat to pay for the insurance? - I do not know that I pawned any thing that he did not know of, if I did it was my own.

Upon your oath, do not you know that you pawned a coat of your husband's to pay for insurance? - Never in my life but what he knew, I did nothing but what he knew.

Do you recollect telling the prisoner at the bar, that the guinea he brought you would bring you pretty well round again, for you expected to have a dust with your husband, or a bustle? - No.

Do you talk in your sleep? - No.

I believe you lost a good deal of cash by insuring, did not you? - What I lost was my own, I do not think I was three shillings out of pocket.

And upon your oath, there never was that conversation passed between you and the prisoner? - I will take my oath on it.

Tell the Court now whether it was so or not? - There was not.


Court. What are you? - I am a coachman's wife.

Where do you live? - In St. Giles's; the prisoner came into my house that same night.

What night? - I am not positive to the night, the next day he was taken up; he used to come down to see us, and he insisted upon sending for two pots of beer, says I, Harry, it is going late, we do not chuse to have any beer; when I sent the girl to order two pots of beer, he put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a handful of silver, to the amount of a guinea as I think; I would not tell a lie for the world; says I, in the name of God where had you this money, have you got it honestly; says he, I have, my father is come to town, and has given me a guinea, and says he, tomorrow I shall have twenty guineas; I said, I am very glad you are relieved out of your trouble, and says I, for God's sake go and pay some part of that money to your distressed landlady; in shewing this money he dropped some papers, and I picked them up, and Mrs. Adams swore to them papers.

Court. What papers were they? - The Justice desired me to take care of them, they are papers belonging to the insuring office where they insure. (The papers produced.) The prisoner said they were his papers when I shewed them before the Justice.

Court. What day of the month was this? - I cannot tell.

How came you to be surprized at his taking out a little silver? - Because he never worked, and was always living on this poor distressed woman.

Mr. Garrow. You deal a little in insurance now and then? - No, I never did insure.

You know what insurance papers are? - No, I do not.

You know these are not pawnbroker's duplicates? - Oh! I am sure of that.

He took out a guinea's worth of silver? - About a guinea's worth.

Was there eight shillings in his hand? - I will swear there were three half crowns, and the rest all in silver; it was a guinea's worth of silver.

What sort of business are you in? - In the woman's clothes way.

Upon your oath, were there fifteen shillings worth of silver in his hand? - Upon my oath there was above.

Did he tell you how much there was? - A guinea's worth, there he is himself.

Did he tell you it was a guinea's worth? - I swear to twenty shillings; I would sooner say less than more.

Only tell the truth, that is all that is required of you here. - I do tell the truth if possible, I get nothing by it; I would sooner shew him mercy than not.

I ask no mercy of you Mrs. White, only stand up and be a little decent if you can; seeing this man with twenty shillings in his hand, you advised him to pay something to Mrs. Adams? - I said, take that trifle of money to give the poor distressed woman something, because I thought it right for him so to do; she had been a friend to him, and I thought it was right.

Never mind what you thought, let us have less of your comments and more of your evidence; did you say that which I have repeated to you? - Repeat what!

Did you say you were told he was going to have twenty pounds, and you begged to him to give his poor distressed landlady something? - I desired him to give her some of that twenty shillings.

When did you tell Mrs. Adams he had dropped these papers? - She never knew it till I came before the Justice, I went to give them to him.

So you went accidentally? - I went to see him; I did not know any thing about the robbery before; I never told Mrs. Adams, only what I spoke before his worship; I told her at the Justice's; I had not told her before I spoke to the Justice; I shewed them to the woman before the magistrate; Mrs. Adams did not know that I had them, till I went to the Justice's with her.

Court. What was the prisoner taken up for? - I do not know what.

Had not you told Mrs. Adams before this man was taken up, that he had dropped these papers? - I will take my oath, I never did tell her so, the man was in confinement before I knew he was.

How long is it ago, since you said you would do him? - Lord! I do him!

How long ago is it since you said before the Justice, it was I that did him? - I do not recollect it.

Upon your oath, you never said so? - I do not recollect that I did.

Do you know Mrs. Fordham? - She is nothing to me.

Will you say, upon your oath, that you never said it was you that done him, before the magistrate? - Upon my oath, I never said that I would do him over.

I do not ask you whether you said you would do him over, I ask you whether you said you did him? - I did not say it was me that did him, I am sure I never did, I never did say so.

How came you to tell me just now that you did not know whether you had said so or not? - I never did say so.

You are sure of that? - I think I am.

Now you lose sight of it, your recollection fails you now; did you at any time say it was you that did him? - I never said do him over.

I do not say do him over, I say, did you ever say it was you that did him? - I never said so that I know of.

Court. Will you swear whether you did or did not? - I never did say I did him over in my life.

Did you ever say that you did him? - I never said such a word in my life, nor any thing like it to any body; God forbid I should.

Who was it that you told, that you, through the window, saw this man picking the witness's pocket? - I never said so, the woman that said so is out of doors, this woman the witness lodged there as far as I know.

How many more lodgers has she? - I do not know.

Court to Mrs. Adams. How came you first to suspect the prisoner? - I had nobody else lived in the house but him and my own husband, he was in the house when my husband and I sat down together.

Why did not you say so before? - I said he was there.

Did not you say that the reason you suspected him was because he dropped some of the papers that were in your pocket? - Yes, that made me quite sure.

Was that the reason that you had him taken up? - Because I knew nobody else did it but him.

How did you know nobody else did it but him, how came you to tell me that you suspected him, because some of the papers that were in your pocket was dropped by him? - Jane Cavalley told me of it before the man was taken in custody.

Court. Now I will ask you a third time, when did the witness that is going to be called, tell you what she knew of the matter? - The next day.

What time the next day? - I cannot say whether it was while we were going to Hoxton, it was after he was taken up.

Which do you stick by, was it before or after? - It was after but it was the same day, it was after he was taken up.

Was it the same day or the next? - Really I cannot positively say, it was after he was taken up.

Why was not she carried by you as a witness before the Grand Jury to find the bill? - I did not know that she saw any thing of it.

What not when you went before the Grand Jury? - I did not know of taking another witness with me then, any more than was on the back of the bill, they said one witness was enough to go to find the bill, and if there was any more wanted I might call them in here, they told me it was no odds to take any other woman with me.

Who told you so, name the person that told you so? - I was told so by many.

By whom, name one of them? - My husband for one.

Who else, can you name any one person that told you so? - My husband told me so.

Can you name any body else? - I cannot say I can mention their names.

Is your husband here? - Yes.

When did Mary White first tell you what she knew? - She told me on the next day.

What the next day after you lost the money? - She did not tell me of it the next day, but she told the maid the next day, a woman that used to wash for me, and my maid told me, I can stick to that.

What is this maid's name? - Jane Cavelley .

Then that witness that is there is your maid? - She washes for me.

Did she tell you any thing about these insurance papers? - I never knew she had them till she came before the Justice, I took Mary White with me for company.


What are you? - A servant.

Whose servant? - I am out of place.

Whose servant was you last month? - I lived in Hogg Lane at Mrs. Adams's.

In what station did you live at Mrs. Adams's? - She gave me my victuals and drink for what I did for her.

What do you know of this business? - Between eight and nine at night, I was putting up the shutters, and I saw the prisoner put his hand to her pocket, and as I came in he took his hand away, but I did think he had picked her pocket, I did not know he had.

Where was she sitting? - Behind the counter asleep.

Was there any fire in the room? - Yes, her husband was sitting close to the fire, and she was sitting behind him.

What was she sitting upon? - I cannot tell, I believe it was upon the corner of a basket.

Was she sober or in liquor? - Sober as far as I know.

Where was Ambrose Cook ? - He was next to the counter, close with his hand over Mrs. Adams, in this manner, Mrs. Adams had her head in the chimney corner, there was a vacancy, a little part that any body might come by.

Had not he room enough to go up to her? - He was sat upon the side of a chair and put his hand over her, when I came in I asked him what he was doing, and he took his hand away.

How long did he keep his hand at her

pocket? - He took it away when I came in.

How long might that be? - Not many minutes, he took his hand from where her pocket was, but I did not think her pocket was picked, I asked him what he was waking Mrs. Adams for, he made some kind of an answer, I do not know what, he said, he wanted her to go out somewhere or other, I do not know where.

Recollect as well as you can what answer he made? - He said, he wanted her to go out with him, and that he would not go himself.

Did he wake her? - Yes, she awaked at the time, but I believe she fell asleep again, she spoke to him.

Do you recollect what she said to him? No, I cannot indeed.

You are sure she spoke to him? - Yes.

How long was it before she went to sleep again? - Not above a few minutes.

What became of him after she went to sleep again? - He went out.

When did you hear that your mistress had lost any thing? - She sent me up to know whether he was come into go to bed, and he was not come in, she waked about nine I believe, about half after nine, it was about half an hour or three quarters after.

What was she doing till eleven o'clock? - We got our suppers and went up stairs.

Where did he sleep? - In Denmark-street.

When did she say, she had lost any thing? - In the morning she told me to go to pay the water tax, and she told me, she had lost some money the night before, that she had borowed for that.

Did she give you the money? - She had got none. I heard her say, she borrowed money for the taxes, and she said, she must go and look after Ambrose.

What did she first say about the loss of the money? - She said, she had lost a guinea out of her pocket, and nine shillings and sixpence.

What was she to look after Ambrose for? - To see if he knew any thing of the money.

What did you say to her? - I did not make her much answer.

Did you tell her that you had seen Ambrose's hand at her pocket? - Yes, I told her that before she went to Hoxton.

Before she went to Hoxton, you told her what you had seen? - Yes.

You are sure of that? - Yes.

What did she say to that? - She said she was very sorry as I saw such a thing.

Such a thing as what? - As he picking her pocket, because she had been such a friend to him.

Then she had no suspicion of Ambrose before you told her what you had seen? - She did not express it to me before I told her.

How came you did not go before the Justice with her to keep her company as well as Mrs. White? - I did go, but I was not called on, he was fully committed without.

Did Mrs. Adams desire you to tell the Justice what you knew? - He was fully committed before I was called.

Who were you called by? - Nobody called me.

Then how could it be before you were called? - I was never called.

What did your mistress take you there for, if you were not to be called? - I went to speak what I saw.

Your mistress knew all this before she went to the Justice? - Yes.

Mr. Garrow. She knew it too before the man was apprehended; you know you told her in the morning before she went out of the house? - I told her what I saw.

Consequently she knew it before she went to Hoxton? - Yes.

Did you go with her to Hoxton? - No, not when she went to take him.

When did you go? - The second day.

Did Mrs. White ever tell you any thing about papers? - Yes, that day she went to the Justice's, the last day she produced them there.

When did she tell you of them first? - That was the first I heard about them.

Never knew of them before? - Never.

You said just now, Mrs. Adams said she was sorry that he had served her so? - Yes.

Did she say any thing about being sorry that you should see such a thing, or such an indecent thing? - She said she was very sorry that he had done such a thing to her, for any body to see such a thing.

Now about this loss of money; her husband had given her money to pay the water tax, and she had lost it? - Not by the insurance, she never insured money that I know of.

Did you pawn the coat to pay for the insurance? - No.

How many lodging rooms have you? - The house is down, we did not sleep in the house; there was nothing but a few things in the shop.

You asked him what he was doing, and he said he was waking her, and she refused to go out? - I would not let him wake her enough.

But he did wake her? - She waked but she fell in sleep again.

He asked her to go out, and she said she would not, and he said then he would not go out? - Yes.

In two or three minutes after this she fell asleep? - Yes.

Those are outside shutters I suppose? - Yes, I fetched them from the passage; I saw him with his hand at her pocket, thro' the window as I was putting up the shutters.

Did she send you after to invite him to supper? - No.

Did he lodge at the same house with her? - Yes.

What time did you go to your beds? - We were going to bed then.


Court. Where have you been waiting now? - Just by here.

Who was with you? - No person.

Was not your wife and you together? - No.

When did your wife first tell you of the loss she had met with? - I was obliged to go to my watch; I went that night a quarter before ten o'clock/; and before that I had been taking a bit of a doze in my shop.

Where was your wife? - By my side, when I went to sleep she was sitting by me.

Who else was there? - There was Jenny the maid.

And who else? - There was no person else.

Nobody else? - I think not.

Who was there when you awoke? - When I awoke there was my wife and this woman.

Nobody else? - Nobody else that I remember.

How long after you waked was it that you went on the watch? - Directly, my wife was in a great hurry, but she did not tell me any thing; in the morning, about seven, when I came home she desired of me to go and look for Ambrose; she did not tell me the sense of it.

Did not she tell you what for? - No, she did not.

How long was it before she told you what you was to look for him for? - I got up about ten o'clock, she then desired me to look for Ambrose.

Did she tell you why? - No.

When did she first tell you she had lost any thing? - Not till I got to Hoxton; then when we saw Ambrose, she desired him to give her what he had taken from her; I heard nothing of it before; she had the money to pay the taxes; I gave it her the day it was lost.

Did not she use to insure a good deal in the lottery? - Only what I knew about a couple that night, I knew of that.

Did she lose money by it? - Not as I know; she sent me several times to see if the tickets were come up; I went one night with Ambrose.

Who did you send that night that you fell asleep? - She desired Ambrose to go, and gave him directions on his hat; that was before I fell asleep.

Did you see Ambrose come back again? - No; she insured that night, but I do not know what she paid that night; she was expecting the tax man.

What did Ambrose say to her when she desired him to give her what he took from her? - He took out some halfpence in his hand, and said, that was all he had; he began to swear, and she desired me to get a constable; then she told me what he had taken from her; and he said, he had nothing but halfpence.

Mr. Garrow. The lottery was pretty near an end? - I believe at that time they were sixteen pence or eighteen pence.

Do you know of her pawning your coat? - She told me since, she pawned one of my coats.

You have found that out lately, ha! Now pray who let you into that secret, did Ambrose? - No.

Who told you? - I found it out myself.

How did you find it out Master Adams; come, do not be ashamed, it is no disgrace, a better man than you has had his coat pawned? - My wife told me by my orders.

How did you find it out? - I knew it without her telling me.

How much was it pawned for? - Not half a guinea.

Court. Was it before or after she had lost this money? - I knew of it before four or five days; I consented; I told her she might put out something or other, because she was desirous to keep it up a little; she went a guinea that night.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, if you have any doubt in this case, I will call the witness, and ask her as to these papers; but if you are satisfied, if you see the evidence in the light I do, I think it will be unnecessary.

Jury. My Lord, we are very well satisfied.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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