3rd June 1789
Reference Numbert17890603-23

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428. JOHN WOOD was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 16th day of May , six ounces of silver filings, value 30 s. and six penny weights of other silver filings , the property of George Burrows , the elder.

GEORGE BURROWS , the elder, sworn.

I am a silver-smith , the prisoner was a journeyman of mine, I have missed filings for ten months past; in consequence of an information I received, the prisoner was watched, and on the 16th of May, between eight and nine in the evening, six penny-weights of silver filings were found upon him; I saw them taken out by the constable.

Mr. Knowlys. How long has the prisoner worked with you? - Thirteen or fourteen months.

Have not the journeymen an opportunity of working at their lodgings? - If any person chuses to employ them.

Do not the filings sometimes exceed in weight what you would expect, and sometimes fall short? - Sometimes they exceed, but very seldom; if there is not enough to answer the weight, we send them back to sweep the board to make up the weight.

Can you distinguish the filings of one workman from another? - If it is not adulterated

we cannot distinguish the filings of different people, if the silver is of the same quality.


I am clerk to the prosecutor, I melt the filings; for ten months past, we have found three ounces deficient in twelve pounds weight more than usual; when it was melted it was five pennyweights worse by assay, it should only be two pennyweights worse, because it had passed the hall; in consequence of which I put every man's work separate, I melted them afterwards, and every man's was right but the prisoner's, both in quality and weight; the prisoner's was half as much more waste than I expected, it was owing to some base metal that was put in it; the quality from one assay master was nineteen pennyweights worse in quality in one pound weight, besides the deficiency; I then made another assay by the Goldsmith's Company, and they made it, one ounce one pennyweight and an half worse; we then thought proper to watch. The prosecutor and his son were in the shop, I went down the shop and was close to the prisoner, he was looking at the prosecutor and son, and I saw him put something in his pocket from the hubbing-box; the prisoner turned and saw me, and looked confused; (describes the manner in which the prisoner did it); I called Mr. Burrows and son into the compting-house directly; when the prisoner's work came in that day, I examined the filings, and saw a quantity of lead or pewter in it; I then weighed him out some more; after tea time, about six or seven, he went to sweep his filings up, he took some oil from a crucible, and held it up in one hand, and drew the other hand out of the hubbing-box, and put it in his left-hand breeches pocket: Mr. Burrows had him apprehended.

Mr. Knowlys. Were the prisoner's filings ever melted in his presence? - No.

Did you ever say any thing to the prisoner? - No.

Is not melting silver into the form of an ingot the most saving way? - No.

Were these filings produced to the magistrate in the state of filings? - Yes.

Are they now in the state of filings? - No, the magistrate said they had better be melted to prove the assay; these were not found upon him, they are what was produced from his work.

How much were found upon him? - Four or five ounces at his lodgings, and six pennyweights on him.

GEORGE BURROWS , junior, sworn.

I was in the shop between twelve and one; as I was passing the prisoner, I perceived some paper on the hubbing board, I informed the clerk of it; after Mr. Wild had weighed some other work in the evening, I went into a back shop and looked through a hole, and he was at the trough, and he drew his hand from the trough, and put it in his left-hand breeches pocket; I informed my father and the clerk of it; some buckles were found at the prisoner's lodgings, which did not belong to us.


I searched the prisoner, I found some silver in his left-hand breeches pocket, in some paper, I gave it my brother officer, and he has had it ever since; (produces the filings) I did not go to his lodgings.

- FIDLER sworn.

I searched the prisoner's lodgings, and found this silver in some boxes, (produces it) the prisoner told me where he lived; in one box I found three papers of silver, and in another I found one more; I had it ever since.

Mr. Burrows, senior. They are silver filings which were taken out of his pocket, and the other are all silver but one, which seems to be flux, which we use in our business.

Mr. Knowlys. Can you swear these filings to be yours, which were found in the prisoner's pocket? - No; I believe them to

be mine, another person's filings may be like them.

Court to Burrows. Who found those buckles produced at the magistrate's? - One of my men.

Was it not in the state of an unfinished buckle? - Yes, any person might file one like that.


I leave it to my Counsel.

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


Transported for seven years .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. ROSE.

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