15th September 1784
Reference Numbert17840915-147
VerdictNot Guilty

Related Material

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

923. WILLIAM ANDERSON was indicted, for that he, on the 13th of August last, one piece of false and counterfeit milled money, to the likeness and similitude of half a guinea, the same not being then cut in pieces, unlawfully and feloniously did put off to one John Pritchard for two shillings and one sixpence, being of the value of 2 s. 6 d. against the form of the statute .

Another Count in like manner for putting off a guinea for 5 s.

The Indictment was opened by Mr. Reeves, and the Case by Mr. Silvester.


I used to go to a tripe-shop to buy some tripe and calves-feet; on the 13th of last month I was informed by the shopman, that there were some persons opposite that dealt in bad gold, and he told me to apply for one William Anderson , at the Horse-shoe and Magpye, in Clare-market.

Court. This is not a conviction to be countenanced, for a man to go for the purpose to lead a man to commit a felony, and then to bring evidence against him.

Court. With what intention did you go to enquire for Anderson? - The shopman told me them people could sell me some bad pieces, and he said if you have a mind to buy some bad gold, you may; I said I would, for I could pass them: he sent me to the Horse-shoe and Magpye.

Then you went to buy it on purpose to pass it? - No, my Lord, on purpose to apprehend him.

Is this the first time you have employed yourself that way? - Yes.

Let us hear the conversation? - The conversation was to apprehend such people, to bring them to justice.

What did you go to the Horse-shoe and Magpye for? - For Anderson.

For what? - On purpose to buy half a guinea of him.

What did you intend to do with the half guinea? - I intended to deliver no money for it till I went to the runners; when I saw him he produced half a guinea; I had only three shillings in my pocket; he said he would take five shillings, which I agreed to give him; he told me he would take half a crown in part of payment; I told him if he would come with me I would give him the five shillings; I told him I lived in Leather-lane.

Where did you give him the money? - No, he took the half guinea back in his pocket: then he came up with me to Turnstile, Holborn, but he would not go with me for the money; I told him I did not like to run in trust, but I was going to take him to another house; then I turned up into High-street, Bloomsbury, there I met Umpage, I told him about it, then Umpage told me to go and buy it; I went for it, and gave him half a crown, and I promised him the remainder; when I went back for the bad silver, he gave me the half guinea, and I gave him the half crown; he said he would trust me till the next day.

What excuse did you make him for not bring the whole money? - I made no excuse at all, he took the half crown very contentedly; I was to bring the half crown at night, Mr. Umpage, and I, and one or two, went down to look for him, and did not find him: about eleven on the Saturday I met with the prisoner at the Horse-shoe and Magpye; I asked him why he did not come at night; he said he could not get what he was to bring. He was taken up that morning; I gave the half guinea to Mr. Umpage.

Court. Is that the same you bought of the prisoner? - I am sure of it.


I attend the office at High-street, Bloomsbury; I have half a guinea that I had of the last witness, ( produced) I have had it ever since; there is a particular mark, so it is very well known.

Did you examine the prisoner at the time? - He had two bad shillings found upon him.

Court. Have you had this half guinea ever since? - Yes.

Do you know what metal it is? - No.


I am one of the moniers of the mint, this is bad.

Are you clear in that? - I am clear of it.

From what circumstance do you know it? - By the making.

Is it gold or false metal? - False metal.

I immagine that cannot be told without it is assayed? - The missing is not like the Tower milling, I have no doubt at all.

Court to Umpage. When did this happen? - Pritchard came to me on the 13th of August.

Prisoner. I wish to ask the prosecutor what money he gave me; I leave myself entirely to the Court to plead for me: He offered half price for it; I would not take half a crown for it; he came to me on Saturday morning, and brought a crown piece and half a crown piece, here, says he, I have got money enough, you must bring the half guinea. I never had a half guinea but that in my life; I never saw a bad half guinea before.

Court. If you supposed this to be a good half guinea, why did you sell it? - I am partner in a news-walk, I received a little money, and this amongst it, and I suspected a man, and he said if I would go and take my oath before a Justice of peace, he would take it of me: you must think me a madman to fell this to strangers I never saw before.

The prisoner called six witnesses who gave him a very good character; and one witness, who said he believed the Prosecutor would swear false, if he could get any thing by it.

Court to Jury. This is a felony, by the act of King William, without any specific punishment; here is a very great difference between the means used to obtain evidence of a felony already committed, and drawing a man into the commission of a crime; it is just the same, as if anybody hearing that a man had the character of a thief, was to leave property in his way, in order that he might steal it, and then prosecute him for the felony: it is extremely different from making use even of indirect means to obtain proof of a felony already committed. Here the felony was committed at the instigation of the witness; he does not stand

directly in the light of an accomplice, in which case, there being no evidence but his, the law would not admit you to convict the prisoner on his testimony alone; yet he does not appear more deserving of credit, and the whole rests on his single testimony; for all that any other witness can prove is, that he himself produced a bad half guinea; but the prosecutor has fully proved the charge against the prisoner, if you think him intitled to credit, however you may disapprove the manner in which he acted.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

View as XML