14th February 1821
Reference Numbert18210214-41
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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380. WILLIAM MESSENGER was indicted for that he, on the 9th of January , at St. James's, Clerkenwell , feloniously did dispose of and put away a certain forged and counterfeit Bank note, setting it forth (for payment 1 l., No. 12,238, November 8, 1820, signed J. Vautin) with intent to defraud the Governor and Company of the Bank of England , knowing the same to have been forged and counterfeited .

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

TWO OTHER COUNTS, the same, only stating the prisoner's intent to be to defraud Matthew Green .

MATTHEW GREEN , I am a Tailor and Salesman , and live in Edgeware-road ; the prisoner came to my shop on the 24th November, and bought a pair of shoes for 9 s. 6 d. and a fustian jacket for 6 s., he offered me a 1 l. note, my daughter was in the shop, I said I did not like the note, she said she had seen him many times, I said

"Well then I will take his direction." I asked his name, and where he lived. He gave his name George Cooper , at Mr. Gardener's, cowkeeper, Chiswick; which I put on the back of it, in his presence - (looks at one) - this is it - I paid it away, it came back to me before Christmas; I can swear to the note, there is Matthew on it, which I write on all my notes. I found a Mr. Gardener, a cowkeeper, at Chiswick. I inquired at all the public-houses, but could not find Cooper.

Cross-examined by MR. BRODERICK. Q. Will you say on your oath, that you did not say,

"Give me the direction of the person you took it of" - A. I asked his name, he said George Cooper , he said he lived himself with Mr. Gardener, and I concluded that he took it of Mr. Gardener, and I think he said so, but cannot charge my memory with that - he never said he received it of a man who lived with Mr. Gardener.

MR. REYNOLDS. Q. Did you see him in custody? - A. Yes, on 2d January -

"I told him I had taken a bad 5 l. note." He said I did not pay you a 5 l. note. I said I know that. He said I paid you a 1 l. note, and bought a pair of shoes and a fustian jacket.

JOHN GARDENER , I am a Cowkeeper living at Chiswick, I do not know the prisoner, nor any George Cooper . No such person lived with me in November last - nor did the prisoner; I do not keep many men.

JOSEPH DALE , I am a potter, and live in Harrow-road, Paddington. I was at the King's Arms, Edgeware-road, in October or November, and saw the prisoner there, he was asking the landlady to change a 1 l. note for a pot of beer, she said she could not. I had silver and gave it him; I am sure he is the man, I had not seen him before. He gave me the name W. Messenger, and referred me to Adams's eating-house at Paddington, (looks at a note) this is it. I then left him. I paid the note for a bill, it was returned a fortnight after, marked forged. I then went over to Adams, they knew him, but could not tell where he lived, but said they would mention it to him when they saw him. I never saw him about it. I do not know when it was returned; I am certain he is the man. I understood them to say he had lived there.

WILLIAM PRENDERGAST . I am a constable, and apprehended the prisoner on the 8th of January. I went to the King's Arms, Edgeware-road after him, I think it was on the Wednesday before; the maid servant gave me information; but I could not find him.

ANN CROW . I was in the tap-room of the King's Arm's, when Prendergast came in. I saw him looking over the glass of the door into the tap-room, the prisoner was there that day, but was gone then, he could not have been gone more than a minute; he had been sitting in a box by the side of the window, and got into the street through the window; I did not see who lifted up the sash, it was down before. I saw no more of him: Prendergast was in the passage, not in the street. I have known the prisoner some years, he is a sawyer.

SARAH HARRIS . I know the prisoner. I recollect Prendergast coming to the King's Arms; when he came in, the prisoner was in the tap-room. I saw him there for two hours before Prendergast came, he wanted the prisoner, I looked, and he was gone.

THOMAS GLOVER . I am an Inspector of Bank notes; the note is forged in every respect. The other is also forged in every respect, they are not the signatures of Vautin.

JAMES VAUTIN . I am a signing clerk, there is no other of my name, neither of the notes are signed by me (read).

Prisoner's Defence. I changed the first with Dale, but as to Green, I have not been in his shop for eighteen months.


Recommended to Mercy by the prosecutor.

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron Graham .

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