THOMAS SMITH, Theft > grand larceny, 29th June 1785.

Reference Number: t17850629-48
Offence: Theft > grand larceny
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Transportation
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655. THOMAS SMITH was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 22d of June five pieces of printed callico for gowns, containing twenty-four yards, value 4 l. the property of John Hunt .


How old are you? - Between thirteen and fourteen.

Do you know the nature of an oath? - If I false swear myself I shall be perjured, and shall be punished both here and hereafter. I was going up Holborn last Wednesday was a week, to carry a parcel to Mr. Wilson's, in Castle yard , I knocked at the door, the maid took the parcel, and gave me another to take back, which contained five chintz patches, I counted them myself, and was going back to Mr. Hunt's in Wood-street , the prisoner overtook me, and clapped me over the shoulders, he said, halloo my boy, are not you just come from Mr. Wilson's, I said yes; he then took the parcel from me, he said, you must go back to Mr. Wilson's, he took the parcel off my head, he said he would give me six-pence for myself, but he gave me a shilling, then he said do not you know me my little boy? just after he said that a gentleman came up, and asked me if I knew him, I said no; the gentleman insisted upon Mr. Smith's going before Mr. Wilson, to see whether he sent him for the parcel; the prisoner said he would go to Mr. Wilson, and when he got partly up the hill, he did not like to go, so the gentleman laid hold or him, and made him go; just as we got to the house, I asked him if Mr. Wilson was at home , and he said yes; says I, that cannot be, for he is not at home, so then he said Mrs. Wilson is, that is all the same.

Prisoner. I beg to ask a question, which I hope will appear particularly in my favour ;

when I returned him the bundle I told him I presumed I was led into an error, in consequence of which I desired him to go with me to Mr. Wilson; and going up Holborn-hill I desired the gentleman to stop, to let me look for the gentleman on the other side of the way, and the man that took me refused? - No, Sir, I do not remember that he did.

Prisoner. Recollect yourself my dear? - I did not hear that he did.


On Wednesday last but one, I was going on some business to Bloomsbury, when I was past the end of Fleet-market, about twenty or thirty yards above Fleet-market, I saw the boy which since proves to be Mr. Hunt's boy, coming down the flag pavement with a parcel on his head, I saw the prisoner in the horse-way, the first I saw of him was about three yards distance from the boy with the parcel, he was running, he came to the boy and put his hand to the parcel, I thought he was going to wrong the boy of the parcel, because I have heard of many such instances, the boy stood on the flag pavement, and to the best of my knowledge the prisoner had one foot on the kirb stone, and the other on the horse-way, I stepped between them, the prisoner had his head rather stooping down, I saw him with a shilling in his hand, and I saw him put the shilling in the boy's hand, and heard him say to him make haste, he then had the parcel under his arm, the prisoner said Mr. Wilson sent him, I asked the boy who that Mr. Wilson was, the prisoner answered, he lives in Castle-yard, Holborn; and the boy in the mean time laid hold of the parcel he had under his arm, and he let him have it, the prisoner agreed to go to Mr. Wilson, the boy put a question, did Mr. Wilson send you? the prisoner said, yes, the boy said that could not be for he was not at home, he said Mrs. Wilson sent him, that was the same thing, or words to that purport, the prisoner made many excuses not to go to Mr. Wilson's; one of us knocked at the door, the prisoner began, I spoke and the boy spoke, so there was such a confusion, that I believe Mrs. Wilson did not understand it at first, she said, the parcel was safe, and thought it better to let the man go; I took the prisoner to Mr. Hunt's, and related the affair there; the parcel was left in the care of Mrs. Wilson.

Prisoner. Did I desire to stop in the street to speak to anybody on the other side of the way? - I cannot positively answer that question, he did mention something about a friend.

JOHN HUNT sworn.

I know nothing of the robbery, the prisoner at the bar was brought to me charged with taking a parcel from a servant of mine, he acknowledged that he had taken the parcel, but was employed by an acquaintance of his, the bundle was left at Mr. Wilson's, in Castle-yard, I did not see it till the next day.

- FLETCHER sworn.

The bundle was delivered to me before the Alderman, I received it from the clerk to the sitting Alderman.

- WILSON sworn.

I cannot identify the parcel, I suppose the boy or Mr. Hunt can.

Was there any parcel that night to have gone from your house to Mr. Hunt's? - Yes.

Do you know the prisoner? - Not till this affair.

Did you ever send him? - I did not, nor did I send any body else.

Court to Ely. Was the parcel that was left at Mr. Wilson's, the same that you saw the prisoner have? - Yes.


I delivered the parcel to the boy when he brought another, in about a quarter of an hour, I saw it again, the boy and that young man brought it back, I opened the door to him when they returned, and they left the parcel in the passage upon the

bench, it was left at our house an hour or two afterwards in the passage, then it was moved into the office till the next day, my master had the care of it, it was the same parcel that was brought back, I opened it, and looked at it, this is the same I am sure.

Prisoner. I perceive Mrs. Wilson is in Court, and I wish to have her examined, if it is not intruding on the Court, and the Gentlemen of the Jury.

Mrs. WILSON sworn.

Did I say a person employed me to fetch the parcel, and give one shilling? - He said a person had sent him, a man had met him in the street and told him to give a shilling to the boy.


With submission, I trust the situation I stand in at present will plead my excuse for troubling the Court with a defence; permit me to inform you, that on the day this unfortunate affair happened (I am by profession a clerk, and out of employment) I met with a gentleman I personally knew, and he said how do you do Mr. Smith, how does the world go with you; he said will you give that boy a shilling, and desire him to go to Mr. Wilson's, I did so, and the boy gave me the shilling again and thanked me for the shilling; in consequence of this that man came up and asked the boy if he knew me, the boy said, no, I said, are you an officer, he said no, but he would go with me; I said, I see I have been led into an error, and going to St. Andrew's church, I stopped and asked to go across the way to speak to the gentleman that I saw , who employed me, but they would not stop, and I went to Mr. Wilson's, and I went to Mr. Hunt's, Mr. Hunt would have been very glad to have cleared me that night, I know the gentleman personally.

What is his name? - I do not know upon my word.

He knew your name it seems very well? - Yes.

How come you not to know his name? - I do not know.

Where have you been acquainted with him? - I presume in company with some of my friends.

Do you recollect any one person that ever saw you in company with this man? - I cannot; I have very good friends, but I did not communicate this circumstances to them, I have a wife and child, and they depend entirely on my support and in h y .


Transported for seven years .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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