ROBERT SHIELDS.
3rd December 1823
Reference Numbert18231203-56
VerdictNot Guilty

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56. ROBERT SHIELDS was indicted for stealing, on the 25th of October , ten silver spoons, value 3 l., the goods of George Vipond , his master, in his dwelling-house .

MR. BRODRICK conducted the prosecution.

GEORGE VIPOND . I am a linen-draper , and live at No. 2, Hatton-garden - the prisoner came into my service in June, 1822; he was a servant in the shop, at 2 l. 10 s. a week - his wife was also in the shop; they resided in the house, my family live in the country. I had six silver tea, two desert, and two table spoons, which were only occasionally in use. The prisoner's wife managed the concerns of the house. In consequence of something which occurred, I had the prisoner apprehended on the 5th of November. I had him apprehended by Lee; his desk was opened, and among other duplicates found, there was one for these spoons.

Cross-examined by MR. ANDREWS. Q. You lived once on Ludgate-hill - A. Yes. I knew the prisoner but a short time before he came to live with me. My shop-bills have the name of Vipond only on them.

Q. Look at this card. (handing it.) Have you ever seen such a one before - A. Yes. It says, "J. Shields, 2, Hatton-garden." I knew that he issued such cards; he was never a partner. I swear, that he had no interest in the business; his salary did not depend on the trade done. I sleep at Hatton-garden myself, and go to see my family occasionally. There is a female servant; the prisoner's wife hired her, and pays her; but I pay them again; she is my servant. His wife provides the meals, but at my expense. I never held out to any body that the prisoner was a partner. I may have paid for printing the last thousand cards that were printed - "R. Shields, linen-draper, 2, Hatton-garden."

Q. Have you not been straightened a good deal for money - A. No. I can get as much credit as I want.

Q. Have you not been denied credit, unless Shields guaranted payment - A. Never, to my knowledge. I know Marshall, never asked him for credit - the prisoner has bought goods without my direction.

Q. On your solemn oath, do not you know, that when

bills have been coming due, that goods have been sent to the pawnbrokers, to raise the money, to keep up the credit of your house - A. Never; and if I had known it, that man should not have remained a moment in my house. I never knew of such things being done. I never knew Mr. Hall refuse to leave goods at my house. I paid him for every thing as it came. I was a witness in this court, two or three times before 1811, but not since; mine is a tally-shop. I never take duplicates in payment for goods. I was never at the pawnbroker's; he left one of his cards with the pawnbroker, though he pawned the goods in another name.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. Did the prisoner keep your books - A. Yes. Here is an account of sales made out by him, and here is an invoice in his writing, made out on the very day he was taken; it is headed, "Mrs. Brown, to George Vipond ." He never pretended to call himself interested in the business. Here is his cash-account, made up to the 4th of September. When I first saw these cards, I shewed my disapprobation of it; it might be a month or two, after I commenced business; he said he had them done, to bring his own customers to the shop; he had himself been in business. There is no item in the cash-book of payment for them. I should not object to have paid for them; but never knew they were to be printed.

Q. Has he taken credit for his salary in the cash-book - A. He has debited himself for various sums.

MR. ANDREWS. Q. Here is an entry in the cash-book of 2 l. 10 s., paid to Hall, on the 24th of October. Does it appear how he got the money - A. Certainly not; but on that day he gives credit for money received, and carries a balance forward of 13 l. 0 s. 10 d. from the day before; the payments are not so much as the receipts; the balance was in his possession.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. Up to what date is the cash-book balanced - A. The 4th of November; it is then exactly balanced. I told him there should be 4 l. left, and he has written, "There ought to have been 4 l. in hand; it is supposed a payment must have been made, and not entered."

JURY. Q. In your return of assessed taxes, do you include the prisoner as a servant - A. Certainly I do.

WILLIAM LEE . I am an officer of Hatton-garden. On the 5th of November, I was at Mr. Vipond's, when the prisoner's desk was opened by a smith; some duplicates were found in it, which I produce; there was a small box in the desk, which Mr. Vipond did not wish to be broken open. The key of the desk, and this box, were found on the prisoner; the duplicate of the spoons was never in my possession.

Cross-examined by MR. LAW. Q. Previous to opening this desk, had the prisoner been apprehended - A. No. He was not present when the lock of the desk was picked. I have twenty-seven duplicates, which Mr. Vipond did not claim.

WILLIAM READ . I am an officer. I took a key from the prisoner, which opened the little box. I took out the contents. Mr. Vipond delivered me the duplicate of the spoons.

MR. VIPOND. I got it out of the prisoner's desk, when it was opened. Mr. Hart and Palmer, my shopmen, saw me find it. I never used the desk myself; the prisoner kept the key.

WALTER MUNCASTER . I am a pawnbroker, and live in Skinner-street. To the best of my recollection, I received these spoons of the prisoner, on the 25th of October, in the name of James, for 2 l.; they are worth 50 s.; he left no card with me on this occasion; but when some shawls were pawned.

Cross-examined. Q. Can you be certain that he pawned them - A. I will not swear it. I have every reason to believe that he is the person. I did not know his name. I did not take the shawls in, when the card was left. I did not know Vipond's house, or any of his men. People often pawn in other names, without any bad intention.

(Property produced and sworn to.)

Prisoner's Defence. I do assert, that I never was his servant; we began business on the 1st of July. I was to bring the connexion, manage the business; and proved to him, that I could raise a connexion to raise 1000 l. a-year; he was to bring 500 l. and I 500 l. If we did not agree, the debts due were to be paid, and the residue divided; we were not to draw above 50 s. a-week from the trade; but it was never considered, that was to be my wages. I have rose a business of about 1000 l. a-year; all the goods that were pawned, were to keep up a good name, not having money; and he was so often out of town. I have advanced above 100 l. Mr. Vipond's name being bad in the City, he could not get credit from more than two houses; and I was obliged to pay money for goods; among other things, to Hall and Sons, for hats; they would not trust him a 14 s. hat. As to the balance of cash, it was in his own hands, and not mine; he could never make out his cash-account. When there was no money, I was obliged to pawn goods, and he knew it; he knew I had the cards, for he said to the printer,

"Send Shields 1000 hand-bills." This accusation is for nothing else, than to get me out of the business, I have raised, and kept Vipond in it. I was to have a half of the business, or the cards would never have been laying on his counter for six months.

MR. VIPOND re-examined. (Looking at a card.) I saw a card like this before he came to live with me. I knew they were circulated. The agreement was, that he should introduce his customers to the house, and I had this printed for the purpose. When I engaged him, he said he had nothing but what he stood upright in. I was obliged to lend him money before he could come. My cards and bills are headed "G. Vipond" only; no others were used in the shop by my authority.

MR. LAW. Q. Did you see the cards which you did not authorise the delivery of - A. Yes, when they were delivered at my house. No cards were used in the shop, by my permission, but mine. The first card of his was used before he joined me, to bring his customers to the house.

Q. Did he bring a cart load of furniture to your house when he came - A. No; he brought a few plates. The furniture is mine; he paid for it, as my servant, with my property: it is charged in the book.

GEORGE PALMER . I am in Mr. Vipond's employ. I came at the same time as the prisoner. Mr. Vipond then slept on the floor, in the parlour. The shop opened in a few days, I saw the cards stating that Shields' business would be carried on there. I believe they were circulated. Mr. Vipond must have seen them, for I have delivered them several

times to customers. There appeared a scarcity of money at times, for I have asked Shields for money, and could not get it. He has paid me in Mr. Vipond's presence. Mr. Vipond took his meals with him. I do not board in the house. I know goods have been pawned out of the shop; I have pawned some spoons by Shields's order. Some silk was pawned once, and I fetched it out. It was put into the stock again. Shields said they must go to make up a bill. I cannot say whether Mr. Vipond ever knew of it. He often left town, but was not absent long. I should imagine he must have known it. The prisoner certainly had an interest in the business; he conducted himself as master, and Mr. Vipond treated him as such. I believe he paid the shopmen every week.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. He acted as confidential man - A. Yes; the business was carried on in Mr. Vipond's name. I believe I pawned some linen by the prisoner's order, and fetched it out again.

MR. ANDREWS. Q. When these pledges were made, what became of the money - A. Mr. Vipond was in the country at the time. Shields said there was a bill due, and he did not know where to find the money. Mr. Vipond was acquainted with it when he returned, and that we had to borrow the money; but I do not know whether he knew it was on a pledge.

COURT. Q. How do you know Mr. Vipond was informed money had been borrowed - A. I heard Shields say he had borrowed money on three or four pieces of linen, to make up the bill; this was four or five months ago. It was 3 l. 10 s., which I had received on the linen. I have pawned things twice: I pawned the spoons eight or ten months ago, in Houndsditch, for 30 s. or 50 s. I gave the money to Shields. I have dined there at times; I then dined at the same table as Mr. Vipond.

BENJAMIN MARSHALL . I live in Catherine-street, Commercial-road. Shields was formerly in my service. I sold some goods to Mr. Vipond upon Shields's guarantee. I would not have left them without Shields making himself answerable; he verbally undertook to pay for them; they amounted to 30 l. I sold him some blankets in August, which come to about 16 l. Shields said he would see me paid.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. The order for the goods came from Shields - A. Yes. I saw Mr. Vipond when I called, but he did not interfere. Mr. Vipond applied to me for goods last Friday week; I was aware of this transaction, and refused him credit.

JOHN COULSON . I came to live with Mr. Vipond in May last. Shields generally paid the money. His wife lived in the house. The maid-servant treated her as mistress. Mr. Vipond treated Shields as his equal; cards were distributed publicly, stating that Shields would carry on his business at Hatton-garden. We treated Shields as master. I know some woollen cloth was pawned, to pay Hall for hats, as they had once refused to leave a hat without payment: it was about 3 l., I believe. Mr. Vipond did not know it.

MR. BRODRICK. Q. Did Shields tell you all this - A. He employed me to pawn them for that purpose about October, and I saw the very money paid from the till.

Q. Here is an entry in the cash-book of 3 l. paid Hall for hats - is there any credit given for the money raised - A. The balance here is 3 l. 10 s.

Q. Is there not on the same day a balance of 23 l. 18 s. - A. Yes; I cannot say whether this entry relates to that transaction.

NOT GUILTY .


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