29th October 1806
Reference Numbert18061029-11
SentenceImprisonment > newgate; Miscellaneous > fine

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570. THOMAS COOKMAN was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 19th of September . two pieces of fir, value 9 d. and a piece of deal board, value 4 d. the property of Perrot Fenton .

PERROT FENTON sworn. The prisoner at the bar was a workman employed in repairing my house. On the night of the 19th of September I met him coming out of the house with a basket of wood. I made him take it back; on opening it I found some quartering cut in pieces, I selected the pieces, and joined them together, which made a piece of quartering and a deal board.

Q. I suppose they call them chips. - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley.

Q. Mr. Laurence was the master carpenter who did the work at your house. - A. Yes.

Q. I take it for granted you did not superintend the work. - A. Yes, I did.

Q. You could not be by when the wood was stolen. - A. How do you know that.

Q. I dare say you was better employed; when the men first came to the house it was agreed they should have two pints of beer a day. - A. When you talk of agreements I must state to you, I will explain to you, because I must know more of it than you.

Q. Had not you agreed to allow each of them men two pints of beer in a day. - A. I had no agreement with these men; I stated to the carpenter that I employed, that the men should not take away any wood; I had other buildings, I found that I had been robbed under the pretence of taking away wood; they took iron and lead. He said these men will be discontented unless you let them take some chips for firing, I said let them have what beer you like by way of encouraging them, but then they robbed me to a considerable extent. I do not say this man, it seemed to be a general system, they had cut pieces of oak and carried it away. When I found the men were carrying away the wood and iron, I said I will allow no more beer, I told the men that there was not a splinter in this house but what is my property, and the first man that took out any I will prosecute him. Now that is what you call an agreement.

Court. Did you tell the men they must not take any thing out of the house. - A. Yes, I told them I would not suffer them to take any thing out of the house.

Mr. Alley. In point of fact the beer was stopped. A. It was.

Q. It was after the general allowance of beer was stopped you saw the prisoner carrying the basket. A. Yes, and he persisted he would do it. I believe the man thought he had a right; I told him I would put it in issue whether he had or not.

(The property identified by the prosecutor.)

Prisoner's Defence. When I went to work for Mr. Laurence, the first day I did not go to Mr. Fenton's; the next day I was sent about nine o'clock, Mr. Laurence says, Thomas, Mr. Fenton will allow you two pints of beer, take no chips; I said, very well. I did not take any during the time the beer was not stopped; after the beer was stopped the men began to take away the chips, and I took away the same; I met Mr. Fenton, he said where are you going with them, I said, to my lodgings, he said I must not have them, he threw the basket out in the entry; I said you must have them. I went to the public house and I had a pint of porter, I came back to the house again, at the the corner of the yard I met Thomas Haslem with a basket on his arm, I was taken into the office, they sent for Mr. Fenton, he came, he says, what have you done with your chips, Thomas Haslem said he had taken his home to his lodgings. Accordingly they went together and saw this man's chips, they said it was old rotten stuff; Mr. Fenton said, as for your part, I shall make an example of you; I was taken into custody, I did not know what was in my basket, they were put in by the other men. When I was at the bar I saw the alderman and Mr. Fenton whispering together, they asked me what I had to say in my defence, and whether I was willing to serve my king and country; I told them I was not sit, I had been fourteen years in the service, and I had been in a French prison. I said I must take my trial for it.

The prisoner called one witness, who gave him a good character.

GUILTY , aged 35.

Confined Two Months in Newgate , and fined One Shilling .

London Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

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