23rd February 1785
Reference Numbert17850223-2

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293. JOSEPH HITCHCOCK otherwise CHURCH , JOHN MILES , and JAMES GRAY were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 6th of October last, ten thousand ounces of silver, being dollars, and parts of dollars, value 2400 l. three wooden casks, value 2 s. one wooden box, value 12 d. ten linen bags, value 5 s. forty watches with two silver cases, and one out-side metal case covered with tortoise-shell each of the said watches, value 40 s. three other watches, value 3 l. fifty-seven other watches, with two silver cases each, value 57 l. one wooden box, value 12 d. and one hundred other bags, value 2 s. the property of Joel Goddard ; being in a certain ship called the Elbe, on the navigable river of Thames .

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

The witnesses examined separate at the request of Mr. Morgan, except the Captain and the Gentlemen of the Bank.


Examined by Mr. Garrow.

On the 5th of October, I remember 10,000 oz. of dollars, weighed out and packed up for the ship Elbe, they were in three casks and one box, they were packed up at the Bank, I attended them to the wharf, and delivered them to one Morris a lighterman at Porters-key, there were three casks and one box.


I am a Jew merchant, I sent one box of watches on board the Elbe, it contained one hundred watches, and nothing else; I delivered them to Captain Goddard on Tuesday the 5th of October; they were different watches, some three cases, some two cases, some with enamelled landscapes, they were watches made for foreign markets.


I am a lighterman, on the 5th of October, I received from Mr. Boddiker, three casks and one box, I delivered them on board the Elbe, to the mate and Captain Goddard; Mr. Goddard was there, I have the mate's receipt.

Mr. Morgan, Prisoner's Council. Did you know Mr. Boddiker? - Yes.

Had you ever seen him before? - Yes.


I am Captain and commander of the ship Elbe , on the 5th and 6th of October, she lay off the Tower, on the 5th I received three casks and two boxes from Mr. Samuel and Edward Morris , and stowed them underneath.

my cabin in the state room, I thought them to be as safe as the other part of my cargo; I left the ship on the 6th in the afternoon, she was laying at her moorings, we fell down to New Crane, we could not get any further with the ship, and we moored her off the New Crane; I returned between six and seven, when I returned, I missed the three casks and two boxes.


I was on board the Elbe on the night of the 6th of October, between twelve and one, three men came on board and came down to my cabin, their faces were blacked, I went and told the pilot and two officers, I went into the state room with the pilot, and I set down in the state room and concealed myself, I could not see the men in the cabin, they staid about ten minutes and went away.

Court. Had you ever seen any of the prisoners before? - No.


I was an officer belonging to the Customs on board the Elbe, on the night of the 6th of October, between six and seven; I was upon my watch, and two men came into the cabin, and made a blow at me with the end of a boat hook about a foot long, they struck at me twice; the other came down with a cutlass in his hand, and he came behind the other, and he said cut him down, murder him, then I dropped; with that the men that had the cutlass, ordered me to turn my head between two coffee hogsheads, and put a pistol to my head, and said, if I turned my head he would blow my brains out, I was a dead man; with that the other came down, but I could not see as I was confined; the men went immediately into the state room, and lifted out the barrels of silver, and hoisted them from one to the other.

Did you observe the persons of the two men? - I observed them as well as I could, but they came on a sudden upon me; the first of them was a tall one, the other was a short one, I do not know the men, their faces were blacked, they might be in the whole in the state room about twenty minutes, or something better; after they were gone, I went upon deck, and found my companion done up with a handspike and a rope to fasten him down; and the sailors were fastened down with a handspike corded down over the hatchway.


I know the prisoner Gray, on the 7th of October last, about nine in the morning; I saw Edward Payne who was convicted here last sessions, and the prisoner Gray came to me in the city, to the synagogue, they called me out; Mr. Gray applied to me, and said, if you will give me the same price that you agreed to give Payne for the dollars, you shall have them, I agreed for three shillings and eight pence a piece, the same I gave to Payne; in the evening I saw Gray at Mr. Brown's, in London-street, and he told me if I would call at his house I should have them; accordingly I went by his appointment to his house, in Denmark-street, Ratcliff-highway, and received from him four hundred and seventy dollars; and I returned back a little time after, and went to Brown's in London-street, and paid Brown seventy-five pounds for Mr. Gray.

Did you see Gray afterwards? - I saw him a little while after, and I asked him if he had received his money of Brown, and he told me yes; and then a little while after, he said, if I would call for the remainder of his share of the dollars at Brown's on Saturday night, I should have the remainder; on the same evening I received twelve silver watches of Mrs. Gray, at Gray's house, and I gave him ten guineas for the twelve watches; on the Saturday night I went to Brown's, and received the remainder of Brown, being six-hundred and ninety dollars; a little while after I saw Gray at Brown's house, and I paid Gray sixty pounds in payment for the six-hundred and ninety dollars, and the next morning I paid the remainder to Thomas Brown for Gray; when I received the watches of Gray's wife he was not present.

Court. Had you any conversation with Gray about the watches? - No.

Mr. Shepherd, Prisoners Council. You was examined here last sessions? - Yes.

You said nothing about Gray being with Payne? - No, because he was not in custody.

Do not you recollect swearing that Payne came to you alone that morning? - Yes, he came alone at four in the morning.

But just now you said that Payne and Gray came to you together, did not you say that Gray came a second time alone? - No.

Did you give the same account before the Magistrate you have done here? - I said, I had paid sixty pounds.

Did you swear there that Gray came with Payne? - I made a mistake and told Sir Sampson I should rectify it.

What did you swear the other day? - I swore before Sir Sampson, that Gray came along with Payne.

What are you? - A tobacconist.

What sort of a tobacconist are you to deal in dollars? - If a person can get a penny in an honest way.

What is the value of a dollar, Mr. Wolfe? - When I bought them they were worth four shillings and two pence half-penny, I was obliged to get a partner to do it, I could not find the money myself.


I know Miles and Church, I saw them in October last, on the 7th about eight.

Where did you see them? - At a public house in Jewry-street, one May Cook was with them; he told me there was a ship done with dollars, but they would not stir in it till the noise was over.

What does done signify? - I understood it was a ship that was robbed of dollars, they asked what we would give apiece; my brother Solomons said, he would give three shillings apiece, and they said they could make three shillings and nine pence of one Wolfe.

Who did you pay the money to? - To Miles, a ten pound Bank-note; the next day, I told Miles my brother had sent that ten pounds to him, concerning the watches my brother had of him.

Mr. Chetwood. You had no dealings or transactions with either of them yourself? - None at all.


I know the prisoners Miles and Church, I saw them on the 7th of October last, at the Cheshire-cheese in Jewry-street; there were Joseph Church and one May Cook, they said, they did a ship of some dollar, and they would stir none till all was quiet, and then they would work them up; he asked me and Joseph, what we would give apiece, I told them three shillings, they said, Wolfe gives three shillings and nine pence; we parted and saw them no more, but in the evening between four and five, I was sent for by Dolfin and Miles to the Anchor and Crown, in Swan-street, in the Minories; and Dolfin said, in the presence of Miles, if I came down to the Old White Lion, in Gravel-lane, says Miles, I have a share of dollars and watches, but I shall stir none of my dollars as yet; accordingly we went to the Old White Lion, and Dolfin gave Joseph a handkerchief, containing three hundred and seventeen dollars; some watches were brought to my house when I was not at home, and I told Joseph to pay Miles ten pounds, I believe it was a note for those watches that had been left at my house.

Mr. Chetwood. You say May Cook and Church came to you at a house in Jewry-street? - Yes, at the Cheshire-cheese.

Was this conversation in the tap-room? - Yes.

There he told you he had committed a capital felony? - Yes.

They must have a good opinion of you? - They told me so in the tap-room.

How many people might be by at the time? - I cannot justly say, we were in a box together.

But there were several people in the room? - There might, I was not a stranger to them.

Mr. Morgan. Pray what are you? - I am a Jew.

There is very little doubt of that; what is your business? - I travel the country, and serve watchmakers with all manner of materials.

Do you deal in watches? - If I can buy them worth my money.

Where do you live? - In Woolpackally, Houndsditch.

Have you been long acquainted with the prisoners? - Not to exceed a twelvemonth.

I suppose that was some of your first dealings? - No, Sir, it was not.

Did you buy any of the dollars? - I bought some of Dolfin.

How much might you give him? - I bought them at the rate of three shillings apiece.


I live in Old Gravel-lane, I keep a chandler's shop, and fell fruit.

Look at the prisoners, do you know them? - Yes, I saw them in October last, I cannot recollect the day; but the last time I saw them, was the Sabbath day at night.

What o'clock did they come to your house? - They did not come to my house.

Where did you see them? - Joseph Church and May Cook came to my door on the Thursday in the afternoon, that was the Thursday before the Sabbath day, they came and asked me if John was within.

What next did you see? - I saw nobody after, nobody came to my house that day, nor never have been nigh my house since, to my knowledge; Jack Miles came there, just came in to see my son and went out again.

Did you meet any of them after that? - Yes, on the Sunday night after that, I met Joseph Hitchcock and Jack Miles , at the foot of London Bridge, I cannot say the house; Hitchcock's mother came to my house, and asked me to go a little way to see her son Joe, he had something to say to me; and when I saw him, he asked me how my son did, and they wanted me to go and tell him his property was found, and he should have it.

What property? - That I cannot say, I did not ask them; they said, he should have his property, and they would pay part of his expences, if he would not turn evidence against them.

What was he to turn evidence against them for, did they tell you that? - No, Sir, they said, they were not affraid of any body but him.

Why were they affraid of him? - Because he would turn evidence against them.

Mr. Chetwood. Do not guess, tell what they said? - Joe Church said, May Cook was a good little fellow, and that he trusted his life in his hands; that was all that passed that I can remember.

Did they say what property was safe, or where it came from? - No, Sir, not one word of that kind.

Mention the names of the persons you saw on Thursday morning? - The two first persons I saw on Thursday morning, were Ned Payne and James Gray , they came in the morning, and my son got up from breakfast, and went out and met them at the door.

Was any thing found in your garden afterwards? - One of Mr. Green's men came in in the morning, and found something, but I cannot say what it was, I did not see it.


I know all the three prisoners, by working upon the river; the first time I saw them before this was at Dunkirk, about three or four months ago, it was in the winter, we dined together and spent the evening together afterwards.

What did they say? - I do not recollect any thing particular that they said, they talked about dollars, and asked us about one Payne, they heard he was in Newgate; I do not recollect what they did say about them rightly.

Why Mr. Johnson, what did they ask about Payne? - They asked whether Payne

was taken up and put in Newgate for dollars, and we told them yes.

What did they say then? - I do not know, I did not charge my memory with it.

Did you know that Payne was acquainted with them? - No further than their asking after him, I never saw him with them in my life, I knew Payne worked on the river.

Do you mean to say now, that upon your telling them that Payne was in Newgate, that there the conversation was at an end? - I do not recollect.

Did they say what they were doing at Dunkirk? - Not that I recollect.

How happened you to be at Dunkirk? - I carried over some gentlemen as passengers, I was two days in company with these people; I do not recollect they asked me any questions about the dollars, I do not recollect what they did say they came there about.

Had you any conversation about ships or the river Thames? - I cannot say we had, they were no acquaintances of mine, we had no conversation about the ship Elbe, or the ship that had been robbed; I do not recollect any particular circumstance that passed; upon my oath, I do not recollect any thing more than I told you.

And you never stated that you recollected any thing else? - No, Sir.

Mr. Shepherd. This was a subject of universal conversation upon the river? - Yes.

It was very well known that a man of the name of Payne was taken up, was not It? - Yes.


I am a waterman at Gravesend, I never was at Dunkirk but once; about three or four months ago, I was in company with these three young men, and John Jackson was in company and another man who is not here.

What passed? - I do not recollect.

Tell us what you can recollect? - I did not take particular notice, I was not quite so sober then as I am now.

Did you ask them what they did there? - No, Sir, there were several words passed, several of them were talking about dollars, that they took them down the river and where they shared them.

Who were talking about that? - The three people I saw at Dunkirk.

What did they say about them? - I did not hear them say what house they took them to; I heard them say they shared them.

How many shared them? - I did not ask them, I do not remember they told the number.

Did they tell you any thing particular how they were dressed? - No, I was saying to them, that I heard their faces were blacked when they entered the Brig; and they said, they were so disguised, that they did not know each other.

How many did they say were on board the brig? - They said seven, I told them that I heard that there were twenty one; they said, no, only seven, they said their faces were so black, they did not know one another at the time, I did not ask him any particulars, nor how they divided them one of them said, as I understood them, that they shared them in a piss-pot; I did not think of ever being called in question, therefore I did not keep it in my mind.

Mr. Chetwood. You say you was in liquor at the time? - I was not sober, nor yet very much in liquor; I was not rightly sober.

What dollars they were talking off, you did not know, nor the ship? - I certainly knew the ship, because I was on board of her, when she failed out of the port of London.


I have seen all the three prisoners, but Church and Miles I know better than the other, I never saw them but once, I was in company with them, they came to our house together in September.

How long is that ago? - I do not know rightly, nor what time in September it was, I suppose it is near five months ago.

Are you sure as to the month? - It was in September.

What did they do in your house? - Church and Cook came there with a couple of bags, I asked them what they had there, they told me copper; I afterwards saw them, they moved them out of the bags and they contained dollars, there were a good many I cannot tell how many, there were some hundreds I dare say; I saw all the three prisoners the week following, they came to our house and stopped a while and went away again.

What did they come for at that second time? - I do not know, not for any thing particular.

What became of the dollars? - Church and Mills came afterwards and took them away again all of them.

At the time they came first to your house had you heard of the ship being robbed? - No Sir, I did not hear it for a great while afterwards.


I am husband to the last witness, I remember Church and May Cook coming to our house, it was on a Thursday to the best of my knowledge, I believe it was in September; they came there with two bags and left them, and came in presently after and put them backwards, and left them there for a day or two, then Miles and Church came and took them out; I think they said they were dollars, there seemed to me to be two thousand or upwards, they put them backwards at my house, I believe they put them in my garden, I do not know whether they put them under ground or above ground; Church and Miles came back for them the next night, and went backwards into my garden for them, they brought two bags with them and took them on their shoulders and went out of doors.

Had you any conversation with Church and Miles about them since? - No never from that time to this, but about a fortnight ago I saw Church at Tothil-fields, and he told me he put them in a field behind the inn-yard where I used to work, I think the field belongs to Mr. Hudson.

Mr. Morgan. How long were they in your house? - Not a great while.

Mr. Chetwood. This conversation was in September you think? - Yes to the best of my k nowledge.


Do you know the prisoners? - Yes.

State in your own way whether any thing passed in company with them on the 6th of October? - On the 6th of October last, Joseph Hitchcock came to me and gave me information of some dollars and some money being on board a brig, he said that Cook gave him the information; we agreed on the Wednesday evening to meet at the Red Cow in Old Gravel Lane, at eleven o'clock; there were Joseph Hitchcock , John Miles , James Grey , Thomas Brown , Edward Payne and myself, and May Cook was in the boat; we went down to King Edward Stairs, and we went on the other side of the water, and there we took another boat; we rowed on board a brig laying off New Crane, we had our faces blacked with soot, the brig was laying swinging by herself at anchor, there were seven of us went on board, we fastened the forecastle down, and Hitchcock, and myself, and May Cook went down into the cabin; Hitchcock went into the state room and took the captain's chest and upset it: we unbuttoned a little bit of a door under the captain's cabin, and rolled out three casks and two boxes; Hitchcock and myself lifted them up upon the deck, and put them in the boat, and we rowed down to Limehouse, down to Robert Brown 's back door; Thomas Brown went round and knocked Robert Brown up and was let in, then we hoisted in the casks and boxes into the back door, and began to open the casks and boxes, and they contained dollars, and began sharing them out five at a time, but we found that was too tedious, and we took a two quart pan to measure them. Robert Brown burnt the casks after we divided the dollars and the watches; my share of the watches was thirteen, and we carried them into Robert Brown 's parlour.

How many dollars came to your share? - I do not know, we went and called Robert Brown down, and gave him fifty-eight dollars for the use of his house, and Hitchcock and Cook took and carried as many dollars that morning as came to 75 l. to one Cushman and Farmer, that is Joseph and Solomon who have been just now examined; the same morning James Gray and Edward Payne took theirs and sold them to Benjamin Wolf , and Thomas Brown was going home to his own house: Miles took us to Thomas Brown 's house, I asked Brown to let me take mine there; on Thursday evening I went with Miles to Limehouse, to Thomas Brown 's house; there Miles and myself took his part out, and put them in a coach, and I saw them taken to Bunhill Row to his mother's, and there he buried them in the kitchen: on the Friday evening I went to Thomas Brown for my part, and he said they were gone, but I had three hundred and seventeen that I sold to Farmer and Cushman; on the same evening Cushman met me at Crutched Friars and paid me a ten pound note, and likewise he gave John Miles a ten pound note for his watches; I, a sold three hundred and seventeen to Joseph, who paid me ten pounds for them, Cushman is Joseph, I sold them to them both, he gave me a ten pound note and ten guineas in cash.


Mr. Taylor being robbed he applied to Sir Sampson for assistance, and the business was then put into my hands; and on the 19th of October I had received a private information, that there were dollars hid under the stones in Mr. Miles's mother's house, at a court in Row; I went there; after searching some time I put the end of my stick between two stones and I felt it go soft, and there I found this bag of dollars; I afterwards had twelve watches of one sort, and fourteen of another sort given to me by Farmer and Cushman and Wolfe, twenty-six by Wolfe and thirteen by Farmer; which watches I delivered to Mr. Samuel, he swore that they were part of the property taken out of that ship before Sir Sampson Wright.

(Samuel produces some of the watches which are the same he had from Mr. Clarke.)

Mr. Morgan. Was not the wash-house an open place to which any one might have access? - Yes, I believe it was.


I know all the prisoners, Hitchcock told me last Monday was three weeks, at Tothill-fields, that he and May Cook carried some of those dollars to Mr. Castle's, that were taken out of the ship, I think he said two thousand five hundred or three thousand, I will not be clear; he said Mr. Castle was a tanner in Long Lane, he said they were buried in his garden, and were removed from there and carried into a field.

Mr. Chetwood. How came you to go to gaol to have this conversation? - I did not go on purpose then.

You have not been there before? - I knew Mr. Wright the keeper of the gaol and I informed the prosecutor.

Did you or did you not go there for the sake of getting information? - No, not the first time, I went afterwards purposely.

Court. At the time when you went to him, was he in custody upon this charge? - Yes, I was not employed at all.

Did you do it as a mere act of treachery? - No, I did it for the sake of Mr. Taylor, that he might get his property again; I know Mr. Taylor, but I had no particular conversation with him.

You knew he was to be tried for his life? - No, I did not.

What induced the conversation? - I told told May Cook, the best way he could do, was to give me the best information he could, that Mr. Taylor might get his property again.

Was you ever desired by any body whatsoever to go there? - I was never desired by any body before; I knew Hitchcock for years, when he was first an apprentice.

Did you or did not you tell Hitchcock

would be better for him? - I did not tell him so.

Did you begin the conversation or him? - I began it myself.

Was Hitchcock by at the time, when you told May Cook it would be better for him to confess? - No.


I found twenty-six dollars in a hole in a field, in the back of a tan-yard, the other side of the water, the place where they described; it had been opened, and two men were digging in the field, and we called them and they found these dollars.

Prisoners. We leave it all to our Council.

Court to Samuel. Do you know that the watches that were delivered to you by Clark, were part of the watches that were on board the ship? - Yes, they were.

The prisoner Hitchcock called six witnesses, who all gave him a very good character.

The prisoner Miles called two witnesses who gave him a very good character.

The prisoner Gray called two witnesses who gave him a very good character; and his master said, he would take him into his service again, if he was acquitted.


Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice BULLER.

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