11th May 1785
Reference Numbert17850511-2

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581. PETER SHAW was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 4th day of April last, one gold watch chain, value 50 s. the property of Edwin Francis Stanhope , Esq ; in his dwelling house .

A second Count, For feloniously stealing, on the 9th of April last, two gold snuff-boxes, value 40 l. one enamelled watch, value 5 l. 5 s. one gold dish, value 4 l. one silver watch, value 40 s. one other watch with the inside case made of metal, and the outside case made of shagreen, value 20 s. one other metal watch in a shagreen case, value 30 s. one other metal watch in a shagreen case, value 30 s. one other metal watch in a shagreen case, value 30 s. and one case of instruments mounted with silver in a black shagreen case, value 40 s. the property of the said Edwin Francis Stanhope , Esq; in his dwelling house.


I am a silversmith, in King's-street, Westminster; I know the prisoner very well, he applied to me to dispose of some property on the 4th of April, it was a gold watch chain, this is what I bought of him, at the rate of three pounds ten shilling an ounce, I believe it came to near three pounds.

Court. How much did you give him for it? - Above fifty shillings, he applied to me afterwards, on Wednesday the 6th with some gold and silver coins, and I suspected him, and I gave information to Mr. R. Abington, a Justice of peace, in King's-street, Westminster; he was apprehended in consequence of that information on Saturday the 9th, he was then I believe servant to Mr. Stanhope, he was apprehended in Tothill-street, at the sign of the Angel.

Was any thing found upon him? - A key, a few halfpence, and a watch.

Court. Did you know this man before? - Yes.

How long before? - About two months.

Had he before brought any thing to sell at your shop? - Nothing of any consequence, I did not know he was in service at that time, he told me the chain was left him by his father.


This chain is my property.

When had you last seen it, Sir? - I cannot say.

How long had he been in your service? - About a fortnight, this chain lay in a little box, made on purpose to hold various things of that sort, in a recess within my bureau in the upper drawer in my dressing room.

Who had the key? - I had the key, which he said, he took once, I can swear to this chain by a very particular mark, it

was a watch-chain of my wife's, and I made it for myself, it is much shorter than any other of the kind, I have no doubt of its being mine, it is gold.

Was your bureau kept constantly locked? - Generally, I did not miss this chain till it was brought to me.

Can you say whether you had seen this chain after he came into your service? - I believe I have seen it in that place where it lay, but had not taken it out.

Mr. Garrow, Prisoner's Council. Had not you a good character with this man, Sir? - An extraordinary good one, better than I ever had before, from a Mr. Moore, whom I believe to be a very respectable gentleman, though I do not know him.


The things that are in here, I got at the prisoner's lodgings, where his wife lived.

How do you know they were his lodgings? - His wife was in the room, and some of the things were found upon her, which Mr. Stanhope owned afterwards; and these things were in a chest in the room, and when the prisoner came home I found the key in his pocket which opened it, I unlocked the chest with the key, this was on the 9th at night; I suppose we had been three quarters of an hour in the house, before the prisoner came home. (Three gold snuff boxes, and a gold dish deposed to.) These things lay on a bureau in the room, but not in the bureau, these watches were all found in his chest, and all going. (A case of instruments deposed to.) I took the prisoner into custody he signed a confession.

Court. Were any promises made him?

Sir Sampson. There was not the least promise made in the world, nor any threats.

Court. Swear.


Was that confession made before you? - Yes.

Was it free and voluntary? - Yes.

No promises or threats? - Not the least in the world.

When was it? - It was on Sunday morning the 10th of April, it is nothing more than the examination that we are directed by the statute to take.


"Signed Peter Shaw . The examination

"of Peter Shaw , &c. taken before me Sir

"Sampson Wright, Knt. one of his Majesty's

"Justices, this 10th day of April,

"1785, who confesses that on Sunday the

"3d day of this instant April, he this examinant,

"stole out of the book-case

"in the dressing room, the medals and

"coins now produced and several others,

"and the gold watch chain which he sold

"to Mr. Baker, at two different times, that

"for the first quantity he received twenty-pounds,

"and for the second quantity he

"received ten pounds and one shilling; and

"that he stole out of the book-case while it

"was on fire two gold watches, and the

"seals, rings, and medals now produced."

Prisoner. I have nothing more to say than what I have said, I submit to your Lordship's mercy.

Mr. Garrow. I cannot carry his character any further than what Mr. Stanhope has said of him, but here is a gentleman who has the goodness to speak for him.

RICHARD BURKE , Esq; sworn.

The prisoner lived five or six months with my brother Mr. Edmund Burke , I did not lay in the house, but I dined and supped there almost every day; he was a remarkable good servant , and attentive, I had no reason to doubt his honesty then.

GUILTY , Death .

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

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