CHARLES LINSEY.
19th June 1799
Reference Numbert17990619-20
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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337. CHARLES LINSEY was indicted for that he, on the 9th of May , forged a Bank-note for two pounds with intent to defraud the Governor and company of the Bank of England ; and likewise for disposing and putting it away as a good and true Bank-note, knowing it to be forged, with intent to defraud the Governor and Company of the Bank of England . And, in other Counts, he was charged with uttering it with intent to defraud William Bunyan .(The case was opened by Mr. Fielding.)

WILLIAM BUNYAN sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You keep a butcher's shop ? - A. Yes, at No. 75, Lower Thames-street .

Q. Tell us what you know of the prisoner, and the note in question? - A. To the best of my recollection it was on the 9th of May, the prisoner came to me; however, to make sure, it was the day before the persons were tried for the murder last sessions; he came into the shop, about six o'clock in the evening, and looked about him; at last, he asked me what I called that; I told him, beef; he run his hand over it, and asked about how much four ribs would weigh; I said, between twenty and thirty pounds; I supposed he did not want so much; he never offered to agree for any price, or the weight; I put the hook into the beef again, and took no more heed of him than being a stranger, I left him to compose himself; he took himself out of the shop, and came back again between the hours of eight and nine, I am not particular to half an hour, it might be two hours and a half; I was behind the door, he knocked, and I asked who was there; he said, it is me; I let him in and he said, he had much difficulty in finding me only, he asked if I had parted with the beef; I took it down, and says he, I should like a piece about here, what will that weigh; I said, about twenty pounds; upon which I asked him how much he wanted; he said, about twelve pounds; I cut twelve pounds and a quarter bare weight, I did not charge him for the quarter; he said he had got ne'er a cloth; I think I said I would give him a sheet of paper; after the beef was put up, he desired me to put the price down, it came to seven shillings and sixpence; he got into conversation, and asked me whether I sold rumps of beef at the same price; he then offered to pay for the beef, and pulled out of his pocket two sixpences, two farthings, and a locket; he held one of the farthings pretty close to his eye, and said, I thought it had been half-a-guinea; he then put his money into his pocket, and pulled out a pocket-book, he opened his book, and laid it on the counter; I saw it had in it a five pound note, and another two pound note, beside the note he gave me; says he, can you change this; I said I would see; I took it to the public-house hard by, and I said, I think I have got a bad customer; I did not ask for change, but I asked for their judgment; I formed my judgement that it was a bad note; I did not offer the bad note, but I came back to the shop, and told him I could not help thinking it was a bad note; says he, God bless me! he looked at it at a distance, and said, it is a good Bank of England note; I asked him to go with me to the public-house, and one person said, the name at the bottom was not some man's hand-writing, that was all the objection they made to it; the remark I made, was, that the mark at the bottom looked newer; when we got to the public-house, the company seemed to be of opinion it was bad; I took up the five pound note which he had produced, and which I supposed to be good, and put it into my pocket, and told him, I should hold him in custody till such time as he proved where he got them. He did not give any particular account where he got them at that time; he pointed at some gentleman who knew him, and not wishing to hold an innocent man, I went to the gentleman's house, to Mr. Deputy Pinder, Ludgate-hill, he said he knew him; I went, and the gentleman was not at home; he then desired me to go to the Kings-and-keys, in Fleet-street, but I objected to his going there, my friends agreed to take him into the Hole-in-the-wall, in Fleet-street, and for him to send for

any person that could give an account of him, or who he was; he sent for an old gentleman, who did know him by name; there were a great many people in the house, and he made a vast complaint that I had robbed him of the notes, and that I wanted to swear his life away; and the people began to say I was doing wrong by holding the notes, and that I should have an action against me; so in consequence of that, I went up to the watch-house, and got a constable, and gave him in charge; he was taken, I believe, to the Compter; having delivered him to the constable, I left him.

Q. Look at the note, and say whether it is the same? - A. I have not the smallest doubt but it is the same, because I made a private mark upon it.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. When he came the last time it was night? - A. Yes.

Q.And not much light in the room? - A. Only one candle on the counter.

Q. Was it so light that a man, where he stood, might by change take out a farthing, and suppose it to be half-a-guinea? - A. He stood as near as this to the candle.

Q. When you said it was a bad note, he immediately exclaimed, with a great surprise, it was a good one? - A. He said it was a good note.

Q. But you afterwards told him it was a bad note? - A. I did not tell him it was a bad note at first, I told him after I came back to my own house.

Q. He went to the public-house? - A. Yes; I would not let him do any otherways.

Q. Did he refuse to go? - A. No, he did not.

WILLIAM BENNINGHAM sworn. - I am the constable who took charge of the prisoner, and conveyed him to the watch-house; I searched him at the watch-house, and in the search, I found a two pound note, some gold, two guineas I believe; and afterwards I found, in a bit of a leather sob, seven duplicates, two rings, and locket; and many other things, which I had no business with; I kept the locket, the two pound note, a one pound note, and a five pound note which the butcher gave me; I cannot positively say how much money, I think it was two guineas, two half-guineas, two half-crown pieces, a shilling and a sixpence; I had the five pound note of Bunyan; the prisoner declared it was his.

Q. Did you go with him the next morning to Mr. Winter's house? - A. I did not; he was taken before the Lord-Mayor by another officer; he said he had a great many accomplices, and they must all swing together, and that he was a dead man; that was all he said to me.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. What had you said to him before that? - A. Nothing at all.

Q. Were there two half-guineas upon him? - A. I cannot say.

Q. Was there one? - A. Yes, I am sure of that, CHARLES WATTS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Q. You are one of the clerks of the Bank? - A. Yes.

Q. Look at that note, and tell me whether the signature of "Watts" is your hand-writing? - A. Yes.

Q. You are authorized to sign notes for the Bank? - A. Yes.

Q. At the time you signed that, of what value was it? - A. A one pound note.

Q. It now appears as a two? - A. Yes.

Q. Is it in every respect the same as that you signed, except the value? - A. No.

Q. What has been altered? - A. Here has been several lines taken out; the one pound notes are enclosed in straight lines, this has angles to it.

Q. How does the alteration of the two instead of the one appear to have been made? - A. It appears as if it was cemented in by gum, or something of that kind, one piece is put in the room of the other.

Mr. GARNETT TERRY sworn. - I am the engraver employed by the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, I engrave the plates for the one and two pound notes; this was a one pound note off a one pound plate.

Q. Do the plates of the two pound notes differ from the plates of the one? - A. They do.

Q. Can you, from your knowledge, guess how that has been executed? - A. A bit of paper has been gummed and cemented in, and it has been altered by a composition, either by Indian ink or common ink, not from engraving.

Q. The Bank-notes are always engraved? - A.They are always engraved.

Q. Are you prepared to say that is a forged Bank-Note? - A. I am sure of it.

Q.(To Mr. Watts.) Is this Mr. Willis's handwriting? - A. Yes.

Q. What is his Christian name? - A. I think it is John, it is his handwriting; they don't always write alike.

NATHANIEL LAURIE sworn. - Examined by Mr. Filding. Q. Are you a clerk in the house of Messrs. Winter and Kay? - A. Yes; I remember the time when the prisoner was brought to the office, I took down, at the time, what he said; he was brought on the 10th of May, and after giving an account where he served his time, and what business he followed, he said, he resided at Wandsworth, where he had resided about two years and a half; I asked him where he got the note he offered to the butcher; he said his wife took it about a fortnight ago, when he was from home, in the shop, of a Frenchman; we sent for a man of the name of Cuthbert, who had taken a bad note; his wife was in Mr. Winter's

house at the time, he did not know his wife was there, but when he did, he said his wife knew nothing about the note, that she had not taken it in the shop, but that he knew from whence it came, and all about it, and that he would make a confession; this was the second conversation; after Cuthbert had seen him, I told him his wife was in the office.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. You had not said any thing to induce him to say this? - A. Certainly not; he said he would not make any confession except upon condition of pardon, for that he could make important discoveries, with respect to the Bank and with respect to the Post-office also, but he would not do it unless upon those terms; and if it could not be promised him now, he would reserve it when he should stand in need of it, and then he would barter for his life; he requested to see me in the prison, but he only stated to the same effect; I went with the officer and searched his house, we found a quantity of things, but I did not bring any thing away; I saw many mixtures of Indian-ink, but I did not bring them away, as I thought the prisoner was in the habit of using them in his business.

Prisoner's defence. On Thursday the 9th of May, as I was going along, I saw some meat at the prosecutor's door, I asked him the price, and walked in; it might be between seven and eight o'clock; I called again, and ordered as much as, I believe, came to seven shillings and sixpence, and he packed it up; I put my hand in my pocket and had not silver enough; I then pulled out my pocket-book, and asked him if he could give me change for a two pound note; he took it, and went away, and was gone about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, during which time I was talking with his wife, and if I had been conscious of guilt, I could have escaped; he returned, and said he did not believe it was a good one; I requested him to go and know the reason why they thought so, and I went with him; on coming in, I pulled the note but of my pocket-book, and some others; there was a young man took hold of the note, and said, he would positively swear it was not Charles Watts's hand-writing; upon that, I concluded he belonged to the Bank, but his appearance did not bespeak it; while the people in the house were examining the notes, he called the prosecutor to him, and said, distinctly,"stick close, stick close, a d-d snug thing;" I began to be alarmed for the safety of my notes; it was a common public-house, in the tap-room, quite in the lower order; I was recommended then to send to some creditable person who probably would give a more satisfactory account of me than I could of myself; in consequence of that, I mentioned Alderman Pinder, they said he was not an Alderman; he lived within a few doors of me when I kept a house in Pilgrim-street, and now lives at no great distance from me; upon being told he was out of town, I requested to go to Mr. Harrison's, in Fleet-street, where the Wandsworth coach goes from, and where I had sent a number of parcels; however, they refused to go there, and we went to the Hole-in-the-wall; upon that, I sent to Mr. Barrett, in Shoe-lane, and he came; there were a number of gentlemen present who conceived me to be ill-used, and they asked the prosecutor if he knew what he was about, and knew the consequence; he then declared, before the company, he had not taken me into custody; that was a second time I had an opportunity of escaping; however, the constable of the night was sent for, and I was taken to the watch-house; I was searched, and in the right-hand pocket there was found the silver he has mentioned, and two farthings, I thought there was half-a-guinea, but I had left it at home; and in my left-hand pocket was a sob, or more properly a watch-maker's bag, in that was some gold, a crown-piece, and some pawnbroker's duplicates, all wrapped up in a one pound note, just about enough, as my wife said, to pay the interest of the pledges; I had received the money having had a bill become due, they represented as if the money was separate from the other in my pocket; it was all done up in this leather sob; that money was appropriateed to get the things out of pawn; the things were taken from me, and I was had to the Compter; in the morning, I was bad to the Solicitor of the Bank,(I hope you will excuse me, because I expected the Counsel to do all this for me), who appeared a gentleman, he asked me of whom I had taken the note; I informed him my wife had taken it in the shop, of a gentleman, apparently a foreigner, that he bought a silver pencil-case; my day-book will shew the different articles and prices, and that she gave him change out of the note, and he went away. He and Laurie put a variety of curious, I may say, impertinent questions to me, to all which I cheerfully replied; after which, he mentioned several names, and asked me whether I was acquainted with a number of curious names, particularly Peake; he said, that twelve or fourteen were in custody for forgeries on the Bank; I declared I knew none of them; he talked of the liberality of the Bank, that they would provide for me and my family, if I would but bring forward my accomplices; I declared I had none; he said, it is no use to say you have no accomplices; he then went to a cupboard, and took out a parcel, and shewed me several notes, and asked me if I knew them; I did not; they said, we know; so, come, you may as well confess. I know nothing of the note now in question, or any of the others. But

now, come, come, you may as well confess, and provide for yourself and family for life. When I found they would not believe me, as I had told the truth, I replied, "as you know so much more of the matter than I do, you may set down what you like;" they talked of sending me away to prison, I was afraid they would not take very good care of me; and I told them, if I see how well you behave I shall come forward, and tell you something to your advantage; they would not believe any thing when I told truth. I was taken to the Compter, and was confined in a small room, or dungeon, from Friday morning to Monday noon; several times Mr. Laurie came, and I wrote several notes, which were all opened; he came to me, and said, you may as well confess, and we will take care of you and your family. On Monday morning, about noon, I was taken before the Lord-Mayor; as for the note, I know nothing more of it than that my wife took it in the shop; and as for the behaviour to my wife, it was scandalous to a degree; when I was taken into custody, I sent for a man, but he did not come; my wife was with me in Giltspur-street compter, it was about nine o'clock, I think, she went out for to get one or two people to appear for my character; at my examination she was searched in as becoming a manner as her situation required; but on her return, she was ordered into custody, and was sent to the house, by a very impertinent little scoundrel, Mr. Laurie; my feelings for myself are nothing to what I felt for her; from the office, I saw her hauled through a yard between two constables, and two or three other gentlemen, as I supposed them to be; she was shocked at the idea, and requested to have one of her own sex, as she was some time gone with child.

Court. That is not to the present question, I cannot hear that.

Prisoner. I have related every thing; I should wish you to hear me out.

Court. As to the ill usage of your wife it is nothing to the purpose.

Prisoner. As for the note, my wife took it in the shop, which any tradesman here might do; I suppose a number of gentlemen on the Jury entrust their wives in their shops, and I hope they will feel for my situation; it is impossible for them to tell a good note from a bad one; she took it, and never thought of such a thing as its being bad; she did not know the man she took it of, and it is impossible to find him, he being a stranger to her.

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

GUILTY Death . (Aged 33.)

Tried by the London Jury, before. Mr. Justice HEATH.


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