22nd February 1786
Reference Numbert17860222-3
VerdictNot Guilty; Guilty

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194. THE said THOMAS TATHAM and HUGH M'DONALD were again indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 1st day of December last, twelve pair of silk stockings, value 40 s. the property of John Archer , privily in his shop .


I live in Sackville-street , I keep a hosier's shop , I never saw the prisoner in my shop; on the 1st of December, I lost twelve pair of new white silk stockings, and one single odd stocking, it was a patent stocking.

JOHN IDLE sworn.

I am an apprentice to the last witness; on the 1st day of December, I saw the prisoner M'Donald in my master's shop, it was between eight and nine in the morning, when he came in, he asked for a pair of stockings, I shewed him several parcels, he went out without buying any, the stockings were laying on the counter, twelve pair and an odd one, when he came in; and about half an hour after, we missed them, and between the time we missed them and the time of his coming in, there was nobody there.

Did you see him take any stockings while he was in the shop? - No, I had no suspicion of him; then Mr. Archer went and gave information at Bow-street.

Mr. Morgan, Prisoner M'Donald's Counsel. When was this? - The 1st of December.

How long was it after you missed the stockings, that the prisoner was taken up? - I do not know.

How long is it since you was at Bow-street? - A fortnight to day.

When you came there, you was desired to look round the room, and point the prisoner out, was not you? - Yes.

You had never seen him from the first of December to that time? - Never.

Had you ever seen him before? - No.

I ask you upon your oath, if you could at first discover the prisoner or point him out? - I knew him directly as I saw him, I recollected in my mind, he was the man.

What, without the officer looking at you or giving you a single hint, or speaking to you? - Yes.

Is this a pretty public street? - Not very public.

Had you breakfasted when the man that took the stockings came into the shop? - No.

How long after did you breakfast? - About ten minutes.

Where did you breakfast? - In the parlour.

Can you now, at the distance of three months, swear that you breakfasted in the parlour, and that no person could come in and take the stockings? - Yes.

Did your master go into the shop? - Yes, but no strangers nor customers.

Had you a fire in the parlour where you breakfasted? - Yes.

How does the fire stand with respect to the window? - In a corner.

Did you sit with your face to the fire at your breakfast? - No, Sir, I sat on one side looking at the shop.

What had you for breakfast? - Tea.

What else? - Rolls and butter.

Did you butter them yourself? - No.

Who buttered them for you? - The maid, she came without coming through the shop, there are two doors into the parlour, one into the shop, and one into the passage, I am very sure the girl did not come through the shop.

Did none of your family go into the shop while you was at breakfast? - No.

And will you say you never turned your eyes off from the shop during the whole time of breakfast? - I am positive nobody was in the shop.

Is that an answer to my question, did you during the whole time you was at breakfast, keep your eyes constantly on the shop? - Yes.

Constantly? - Yes.

You never looked at the rolls nor the tea? - Yes, the door was fastened, I am sure of that, I fastened it, my master was down stairs then.

How many people have you in family? - Four, there is another apprentice besides myself, and Mr. Archer, and the maid.

Who went to fetch the rolls? - A person brings them.

Court. This parlour adjoins to the shop? - Yes.

Could any person come into the shop, without your observing them while you was at breakfast? - They could not.

It was your business to mind the shop while you was at breakfast? - Yes.

There was nobody else employed to mind the shop alone? - No.


I apprehended the prisoner Tatham, and Macmanus took M'Donald in Tatham's house, I was present, on the 2d of February, M'Donald stood round the table on left hand side of the shop as you go in, I found eleven pair of silk stockings.

Was there any odd stocking with them? - No, here are nine pair which the prosecutor has looked at, and two were delivered to the prisoner's wife back, that were not owned; I carried the stockings I found to the office, they were advertized, and the prosecutor come and searched them.

Mr. Morgan. What were the two pair of stockings that were returned? - Two pair of French ones, I returned them to Tatham's wife.


Gentlemen of the Jury, I hope you will do me the kindness to inspect into this matter; I have been very unfortunate, and am but young in business, and inexperienced; but I really had purchased these things in my shop, not knowing them to be stolen by different people.

Court to Archer. Did you describe these things? - Yes, on Wednesday the 8th of February, the stocking trimmer, whose name is Thompson, gave me information, and I went with him, there were eleven pair produced, nine of which were my property, I knew them by the welt, and two letters, and a figure which distinguishes the quality; I am perfectly clear that they are mine, I am sure these stockings were in my shop on the night before the robbery when they were missed, they were there ready to be sent to the trimmers.

Court. Describe the marks? - B. A. and 6. worked in the welt, the meaning of the mark is, when my father was in partnership, his name was Beckett.

Mr. Morgan. It may mean Benjamin Allen you know? - Yes, it may so.


I was very ill with a sprained ancle, five weeks before Christmas, ever since the 28th of November; I had a letter from Counseller Pile in Essex, on the same day that the boy came up, when I was taken up, and he said he believed I was the man, and the man said, are not you sure he is the man, and he looked at him with a stern countenance, and he said, he was.

Court to boy. You have heard what the prisoner now says? - I said, I was not very positive, but I believed it was the man.

Prisoner. He said it several times.

Macmanus. My Lord, the prisoner says I looked at the boy, and said, he must say it was him; when the boy went in the prisoner M'Donald was walking towards him, he went to the fire, and took the poker and stirred the fire.

Prisoner. There was no poker.

Prosecutor. There was a poker, I saw him stir the fire.

Court to boy. Have you any doubt now, whether he was the man or not? - No, Sir, I have not any doubt.

Mr. Morgan. I refer to the former trial for the character of the prisoner M'Donald.

Court. What are the value of the stockings? - About eight shillings a pair, that is not the extent of them.



Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron PERRYN .

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