JOHN ADAMS.
13th January 1819
Reference Numbert18190113-41
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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201. JOHN ADAMS was indicted for that he, on the 14th of November , at St. James, Clerkenwell , feloniously did dispose of and put away, a certain forged and counterfeit bank note for payment of 5 l. (setting it forth, No. 17,250, dated the 15th of October, 1818, signed J. Lambert, with intent to defraud the Governor and Company of the Bank of England , he well knowing it to be forged and counterfeit, against the statute .

SECOND COUNT, the same, only stating the forged instrument to be a promissory note for payment of money instead of a bank note.

THIRD AND FOURTH COUNTS, the same, only stating the prisoner's intention to be to defraud George Hopkinson .

GEORGE HOPKINSON . I am a tea-dealer and grocer , and live in Henrietta-street, Covent-garden. On Saturday, the 14th of November, about half-past six o'clock in the evening, the prisoner came to my shop, dressed as a porter, and asked for a pound of 8 s. black tea for Mr. Robinson, of Monday's Coffee-house. He said Mr. Robinson sent him for the tea on trial, and if he liked it he would have more of it. (Monday's coffee-house is in Maiden-lane, Covent-garden.) I served him. He offered me a 5 l. bank note. I wrote Mr. Robinson's name on it, partly with black ink, then took a red-ink pen, and wrote

"Robinson. Monday's Coffee-house, 14: 11: 18 - (looks at a note) - this is it.

Q. During the time he was with you, did he have any conversation with you - A. Yes, he asked me if I knew of a situation for his brother. who had come from the country, and Mr. Robinson had permitted him to live at his house to help him. He said he himself was a porter there. I gave him the change, put the note into my tin case, and paid it to my bankers - it was returned to me about ten days after as forged.

Q. Did you afterwards make any inquiry at Monday's Coffee-house - A. Yes, the same day that the note was returned - I could hear nothing of the prisoner. Mr. Robinson showed me all his porters - the prisoner was not among them.

ROBERT ROBINSON . I am the landlord of Monday's Coffee-house, Maiden-lane, Covent-garden - I have been there above eight years, and was so on the 14th of November last. The prisoner never was my porter, nor was there ever any brother of his in my house. I did not send him to buy any tea anywhere, or give him a 5 l. note for any purpose whatever. He was never in my service.

JOHN BARCLAY . I am a grocer, and live in St. Martin's-lane. On the 14th of November, the prisoner came to my shop about half-past five o'clock in the evening, and asked for a pound of 8 s. black tea for Mr. Wells. I served him. He laid down a 5 l. note; I looked at it, perceived it was forged, and asked him what name I should put on it? He said Mr. Wells, Northumberland Coffee-house, Charing-cross. I then said it was a forged one, and sent my young man, George Rose , down to Mr. Wells to know if he had sent a person for a pound of tea. The prisoner remained about two minutes, and then said he might as well go after him; I kept the note, and tea, and gave him no change; he went out, and never returned for it. (looks at a note.) - this is it; it has my writing on it. I never saw him again until he was in custody - he was dressed as a porter.

GEORGE ROSE . I am shopman to Mr. Barclay. The prisoner came to the shop for a pound of 8 s. tea and laid a 5 l. note down - we were busy at the time. I afterwards went by my master's direction, to Northumberland Coffee-house, Charing-cross, to inquire about him, but could hear nothing of him.

JOHN WELLS . I keep the Northumberland Coffee-house; the prisoner was never my porter - I did not send him to buy any tea, or give him a 5 l. note for any purpose whatever. I know him by sight; I believe he worked at Old Slaughter's Coffee-house, St. Martin's-lane, when I was waiter there.

MATTHEW SHOWSMITH . I keep a grocer's shop, in St. Martin's-lane. On Thursday evening, the 19th of November, the prisoner came to my shop, and asked me if I knew Mr. Godfrey, of the Rainbow Coffee-house? I told him I did. He asked me if I had seen him that evening? I said I had not. He looked round the shop, turned round again, and said, this must be the shop, and asked for a pound of 8 s. tea, I served him; he then tendered me a 5 l. note - I wrote Mr. Godfrey's name and address on it.

Q. How came you to do that - A. He asked for the tea for him, and I served him; he then told me to put the price of the tea on the paper, and put paid, as Mr. Godfrey was very particular - I knew Mr. Godfrey was particular, and had his things done in that way. I gave him the change, and he left. Next day I tendered the note in payment, and it was objected to, upon which I sent to Mr. Godfrey, but could learn nothing of the prisoner - (looks at a note) - this is it, it has the address on it.

JOSEPH GODFREY . I keep the Rainbow Coffee-house, King-street, Covent-garden, and did so on the 19th of November. I do not know the prisoner - he was never in my service; I never sent him for tea, nor gave him a 5 l. note, for any purpose.

VALENTINE BLENCOWE. I am servant to Messrs. Yockneys, who are grocers and tea-dealers, and live in Bedford-street, Covent-garden. On the 19th of November, about seven o'clock in the evening, the prisoner came to my master's shop, dressed as a porter, and asked for a pound of tea for New Slaughter's Coffee-house; it came to 8 s., I served him; he tendered me a 5 l. note, I wrote Mr. Ruddel, Slaughter's Hotel, 19, 11, 18, and gave him the change - (looks at a note) - this is it.

JOHN RUDDEL . I keep the New Slaughter's Coffee-house, St. Martin's-lane, and did so on the 19th of November; I never saw the prisoner before this day, and know nothing of him - I never sent him to buy any tea, or gave him a 5 l. note.

JOHN ANDERSON. I am a grocer, and live in St. Martin's-lane. The prisoner came to my shop on the 19th of November, and bought a pound of 7 s. tea - I served him; he paid me a 5 l. bank note. I observed it was signed Charles Phillips , and thought it looked like the signing clerk's hand-writing. I saw the name of Foss, Nassau-street on it; I pointed to it, and asked him if that was his address - he nodded. I gave him change, and he went away. I had other customers in the shop - I put the note in a drawer near the till, by itself. When I was at leisure I wrote Coates on it, that I should know the note again, as I thought him like a person of that name. - (looks at one) - this is it; I made inquiry at Nassau-street two or three times, but could find nobody of the name of Foss.

JOHN LEES . I am an inspector of bank notes to the Bank, and have been so above twenty years; experience enables me to distinguish good notes from bad. The Bank use a particular sort of paper. I have been in the daily habit of seeing the paper, and have seen an immense quantity of it - it is my business - I am acquainted with the character and texture of it, likewise the engraving, and the signatures of the different signing clerks - there is a watermark made in the fabric of the paper - (looks at the note uttered to Hopkinson) - it is not a genuine bank note - it is not bank paper, but an imitation of it; there is an imitation of the water-mark, which is put on after the paper is made. It is thinner than bank paper, and has a different appearance altogether; it is not the impression of the bank plate - the date line is engraved, but in a genuine note it is printed. It is signed J. Lambert, but is not his signature; I know it well, and am in the daily habit of seeing it. The other four notes are the same in every respect, and impressed from the same plate, the same date, and two of them are the same signatures. They are all different numbers, but the numbers consist of the same figures, 12,750, but are transposed - the numbers are printed.

Q. Do the bank ever use two notes of the same number and date - A. I believe it has happened - I have known three or four instances of it, it is not the practice, and is very unusual, and must arise from inattention to the machinery.

JAMES LAMBERT . I am a cashier of the Bank. Notes of 5 l., and upwards, are signed only by cashiers. The note uttered to Hopkinson is not my signature - here are two others bearing my signature, but I am certain they are not signed by me - no other person of my name is authorized to sign 5 l. notes.

(The note was here put in and read.)

Prisoner's Defence. I went to Anderson's, and did not know the note was forged. I gave a false address, as I was out of a situation, and had been refused change, as I could not give a satisfactory address.

GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 25.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Holroyd.


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