15th February 1797
Reference Numbert17970215-56

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174. THOMAS HAYES was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 8th of February , a yard of printed calico, value 2s. 6d. the property of James Thompson .

(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoner.)

(The case was opened by Mr. Jackson.)

JAMES THOMPSON sworn. - Examined by Mr. Jackson. I am a calico-glazer ; the prisoner was a servant to me; having lost a good deal of property, and suspecting the prisoner, on the 8th of February, I appointed William Tugwell to watch him; in consequence of some information from Tugwell, I sent for a constable, and as the prisoner was coming down stairs to go out, I took him into the counting-house, and challenged him with the robbery, which he denied; that was before the constable came; I then called in William Tugwell and Matthew Brand , two of my servants, and in their presence I charged him with the robbery, which he denied; I then insisted upon searching him; after some hesitation, he allowed me to put my hands into his pockets; I found nothing; I perceived a fulness in his breeches; I insisted upon his taking down his breeches, which he refused to do; I then informed him I would send for a constable, who would do it for me; the prisoner then observed it was not decent to do it in that place, but if I would allow him to go up stairs, I might search him if I pleased; I complied with his request, and carried him up into a two-pair of stairs room, still in the presence of William Tugwell and Matthew Brand ; he then turned his side to me, unbuttoned his breeches, and produced a piece of calico, and desired the men to withdraw, because he wished to have some conversation with me; they withdrew, and he confessed he was guilty, and had practised it.

Q. What did you say to him before he said this? - A. I had not spoke to him; he said he was guilty, and had made a practice of it; those were his words to the best of my recollection, or the sense of them; he requested I would take compassion upon him, for he had a family; and desired to know what my determination was; I told him I did not know what my determination was, but it was a matter of serious consequence; he asked me if I meant to dismiss him my service; I said he should not enter my door again; Tugwell had the charge of the calico; the constable was then arrived, and I left the room and went to Bow-church-yard to take the advice of the persons who put the calico in my charge.

Q. Are you accountable for the calico to those persons you receive it from? - A. Yes; there was about a yard and an eighth.

Q. Do you allow your men any perquisites? - A. None.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. Don't you, when you glaze this calico, cut off the fag end? - A. The person who is employed to sold the goods, after the operation of calicoing has been performed, separates the frame mark and excise stamp from the whole piece, leaving it connected only by a small slip, when the goods are intended for exportation.

Court. Q. Is this only done when they are intended for exportation? - A. The separation is only made when intended for exportation; when they are not, that separation is not made.

Q. As you have not the final management, you cannot tell whether this was intended for exportation? - A. I only know I had the orders to cut it in that manner.

Q. When it is folded, and they cut off these marks, does it not sometimes happen that a double sold is cut? - A. I don't know that any instance of it ever came within my knowledge.

Q. You don't know the fact one way or the other? - A. I cannot speak to a negative fact.

Q. The prisoner told you no more than the truth, that he had a wife and small family? - A. I believe he has.

Q. His wife is as big as she can tumble? - A. I believe she is pregnant.

Mr. Jackson. Q. When the stamp and frame work is cut off, how much of the linen is it necessary to cut? - A. From half an inch to an inch.

Q. Is the cutting off a double sold likely to happen? - A. No.

WILLIAM TUGWELL sworn. - Examined by Mr. Jackson. I am servant to Mr. Thompson: On Wednesday morning, the 8th of February, between ten and eleven, I discovered the prisoner cutting off a piece of printed cotton from the main piece now in question; accordingly I went to Mr. James Thompson, and gave information of what I had seen; he cut it off with a knife that is used to cut off the sags, and make up the goods; I saw him conceal it about him; I described to Mr.

Thompson the pattern and quality of the piece; in a few minutes after, as the prisoner was going out, he was called by Mr. Thompson into the counting-house; I went into the counting-house; his pockets were searched, but nothing found; his waistcoat was opened, and nothing found there; Mr. Thompson applied his hand to the thigh of his breeches, and immediately said, I think here is something here more than a man ought to have; Mr. Thompson desired him to unbutton his breeches; he seemed rather unwilling, and said, you will not desire me to strip before these men; Mr. Thompson said in reply, no, for decency sake we will go up stairs; accordingly we went up stairs into a two-pair of stairs front room, and there, in the presence of Mr. Thompson, Matthew Brand, and myself, the prisoner unbuttoned his breeches, and pulled a piece of calico out; this is the piece,(producing it); this is the piece I saw him cut off; there is about a yard and an eighth of it.

Q. Is there the excise and frame mark upon it? - A. Not upon this; here is the fag belonging to it; I have had it ever since.

Q. When he took it out of his breeches, what did he say? - A. He held it out to Mr. Thompson, and he received it into his hand; he said nothing in particular then.

Q. Did you hear him say any thing about it at another time? - A. Never; he said nothing about it; I was in the room till the piece was produced, then they were left by themselves.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. He said nothing at all? - A. Not concerning that same piece.

Q. What had the prosecutor said to him? - A. He asked if he had any more; he said, no.

Q. What did the prosecutor say respecting the calico? - A. Nothing, while I was there, further than what I have related; I was ordered out of the room directly.

MATTHEW BRAND sworn. - Examined by Mr. Jackson. I am servant to Mr. Thompson; I was present when the prisoner was searched, and saw him deliver the piece of calico; this is the piece; I was ordered out of the room when he produced it, and left him and his master alone.

Q. (To Mr. Thompson). Look at that calico; do you know whether that is the piece that was taken from the prisoner? - A. The appearances of it convince me it is; (compares it with the piece it was cut from) it matches, it is the piece.

Q. What is the value of that piece? - A. The least value I can put upon it is 2s. 6d. it was sold for 3s. 2d.

Prisoner's defence. May it please your Lordship and Gentlemen of the Jury - In the morning I came to work extremely late; there was a quantity of ell-wide calicoes; I was behind with my work; I made up fifteen or sixteen pieces in a hurry; taking my knife up, I accidentally cut off two folds, instead of one; I endeavoured to conceal it, but finding I was discovered, and a person following me down to my employer, I put it in my pocket, thinking how I should inform my employer; I kept it in my possession, and kept my mind to myself, being unwilling to speak before my enemies; I desired to go up stairs; they immediately came up, and I took it out of my waistcoat pocket, to tell Mr. Thompson My error; I can bring people who have been guilty of the same error of cutting two folds instead of one, in the hurry of business; I never meant to take it away, I only meant to shew it Mr. Thompson, which is the misfortune that brought me here; I have lived four years with Mr. Thompson, to the comfort of myself and all my family; Mr. Thompson nor his men knew nothing amiss of me; this is a matter of treachery, on account of my abilities, which are greater than any man's; he has enjoyed my merits more than four years; Mr. Thompson now wishes to do without me, which I support is the cause of my destruction; I can bring a great many witnesses to my character; I cut it off by accident, and was going to shew it to Mr. Thompson.

The prisoner called ten witnesses, who gave him a very good character; there were many others, who were not called.

GUILTY (Aged 30.)

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.

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